SAM Talks: Ebony G. Patterson

SAM Talks: Ebony G. Patterson

Ebony G. Patterson’s 72 Project is on view at the Seattle Art Museum in the exhibition “Disguise: Masks and Global African Art,” was curated by Erika Dalya Massaquoi. [Many thanks to Verona Grace for bringing this item to our attention.] The 72 project is a mixed media work on fabric, with digital imagery, embroidery, rhinestones, trimmings, bandanas, and floral appliques. Completed by the artist with grants from the Small Axe Magazine and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts, the project was published as part of the magazine’s Catastrophic Histories Series. On August 26, 2015, 7:00-8:00pm, Patterson will discuss her practice and work in the exhibition:

Patterson’s ongoing body of work explores constructions of the masculine within popular culture, while using Jamaican dancehall culture as platform for this discourse. Her work seeks to measure the masculine by looking at how popular culture as contributed to these transformations.

In her early work, she investigated the fashionable practice of skin bleaching, followed by exploring the so-called “bling culture” and its relationship to the masculine within an urban context.

While still making references to dancehall culture, her work raises larger questions about beauty, gender ideals, and constructs of masculinity within so called ‘popular black’ culture. It examines the similarities and differences between “camp aesthetics”—the use of feminine gendered adornment—in the construct of the urban masculine within popular culture.

This body of work calls for questions about body politics, performance of gender, gender and beauty, beauty and stereotyping, race and beauty, and body and ritual.

[Of 72 Project (detail), 2012, Ebony Patterson, Jamaica/United States, b. 1981, digital prints on hand-embellished bandanas, 73 bandanas, 21 x 21 in. each, Commissioned by Small Axe Magazine and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts Grants, Courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. © Ebony Patterson, Photo courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.]

For full article, see http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/visit/calendar/events?EventId=35434

Also see http://www.theof72project.com/more-info.php

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 21, 2015

Martinique works on coral restoration

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C. Everard (France-Antilles) writes about work being done by DEAL Martinique (Direction de l’Environnement, de l’Aménagement, et du Logement) and other entities to help save coral reefs in Martinique. He briefly describes the process of implanting cuttings of two species of endangered coral, taken from La Caravelle region and implanted along Le Diamant. He asks 7 questions about the project:

Which are the two species of affected corals? There are two types of coral of the genus Acropora: cervicornis (staghorn coral) and palmata (elkhorn coral). These are fast growing species, present from Florida to Venezuela. They play a crucial role in building the reefs of the Caribbean, they fulfill a role of a nursery for juvenile fish, and they strongly protect coastlines from, for example, cyclonic swells. The largest colonies of staghorns can reach a span of two meters.

Why were they chosen? Besides the qualities listed above, these Acropora are “critically endangered” species, according to the Union for the Conservation of Nature [l’Union pour la conservation de la nature (UICN)]. The collapse of the population has been around 90% to 98% since the early 80s, mostly because of illness, but also because of accidental breakages, cyclones, or episodes of warming of surface water. In Martinique, the staghorn coral was thought to have disappeared, but around a hundred colonies were recently discovered off La Caravelle. Elkhorn coral is present on the Atlantic coast, but less on the Caribbean Coast.

Are there identical programs in other countries? Yes, these corals are the subject of several breeding and restoration programs in Florida, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Bonaire.

Where and how were the corals collected? As far as it is known, only restoration through cuttings seems effective. In one morning, thirty cuttings were taken from around La Caravelle with pliers. They were placed in plastic bags and coolers and transported quickly to limit the stress [on the coral pieces].

Where and how were the cuttings implanted? The cuttings were placed on pedestals—a mix of coral sand and cement—and glued on with epoxy putty. The colonies were then fixed on cinder blocks, about 30 meters deep, on Olbian Cay, off Le Diamant. Some cuttings were put on a kind of Christmas tree affixed to the bottom.

Will there be a follow-up? The Sub Diamond Rock diving club is responsible for monitoring and maintenance for one year: removal of algae, sponges, predator mollusks, etc. A growth rate of 10-15 cm per year is expected. The first few months will be decisive.

Who directs this project? The project is led by the office of Management of the Environment, Land Use, and Housing [Direction de l’Environnement, de l’Aménagement, et du Logement (DEAL)], in partnership with the consulting firm Impact Mer and the diving clubs Histoire d’Air and Sub Diamond Rock. The operation is also part of the IFRECOR action plan (French Coral Reef Initiative), the DEAL is responsible for directing [it in Martinique].

For original article (in French), see http://www.martinique.franceantilles.fr/actualite/environnement/la-martinique-se-lance-dans-l-elevage-de-coraux-314455.php

For more on DEAL Martinique, see http://www.martinique.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 21, 2015

Art Exhibition: “¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York”

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“¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York” was organized by The Bronx Museum of the Arts as a multi-venue artistic and cultural survey of The Young Lords Organization—a radical social activist group founded by Puerto Rican youth in the 1960s that demanded reform in health care, education, housing, employment, and policing.  This is a reminder that the show at El Museo del Barrio opens tomorrow, July 22 (1230 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, New York) and will open at Loisaida Inc. on July 30, 2015.

“¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York” has been on view at The Bronx Museum of the Arts (July 2 – October 18, 2015), and will be on view at El Museo del Barrio (July 22 – October 17, 2015) and Loisaida Inc. (July 30 – October 10, 2015).

As Hyperallergic describes it: “A complement to the Young Lords exhibition at the Bronx Museum and another show opening at Loisaida later this week, Presente! The Young Lords in New York at El Museo explores the legacy of the Young Lords in East Harlem, the Bronx, and the Lower East Side (hence the three locations). For El Museo’s part, the curators will draw from the museum’s own collection including copies of the Young Lords weekly newspaper, Palante. It also explores the group’s legacy of art and activism.”

Description (from The Bronx Museum of the Arts): The Bronx Museum of the Arts is organizing Exhibitions of art and archival materials at three cultural institutions in New York City will explore how the Young Lords’ activities, community-focused initiatives, and their affirmation of Puerto Rican identity inspired artists from the 1960s to the present day, and had a major impact on the City and the social history of the United States.

The initiative will include public and educational programs across partnering venues to build awareness of the Young Lords’ innovative contributions to the struggle for civil rights and influence on contemporary artists, and to spark conversations about grassroots community activism today. The institutions partnering in ¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York are all located in neighborhoods where the Young Lords were most active, and each exhibition reflects on the Young Lords’ activities in that part of the City. “The Young Lords had a defining influence on social activism, art, and identity politics, but the lasting significance of their achievements has rarely been examined,” said The Bronx Museum’s Executive Director Holly Block. “[. . .] The issues the Young Lords struggled with are still timely, and their aesthetic and cultural vision still inspires both artists and community leaders today. We’re pleased to work with our partner institutions to bring this story to the public.”

[Photo above by Máximo Colón; “Untitled,” 1970.]

For more information, see http://www.bronxmuseum.org/exhibitions/presente-the-young-lords-in-new-york and http://hyperallergic.com/223276/artrx-nyc-56/

Residents stand on the banks of a river that swept away five homes in Port au Prince. Hurricane Sandy passed to the west of Haiti October 25, 2012 causing heay rains and winds, flooding homes and overflowing rivers. Photo Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH

The Caribbean Development Bank delivered to Haiti more than two million dollars to face and cover the damages associated with 2015 and 2016 hurricane seasons. According to Caribbean News Now, the fund is part of the financial institution’s commitment to support the efforts of the Haitian government to mitigate and effectively manage natural disasters and strengthen its economy. Here are excerpts:

The board of directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved grant assistance of US$2,377,250 to the government of Haiti to meet the country’s insurance premium for coverage provided by the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) for the 2015-2016 hurricane season. Haiti is one of 16 Caribbean nations that buy policies from CCRIF, which provides rapid cash payments to help regional governments maintain essential services in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

“This grant assistance is just part of our ongoing commitment to support the government of Haiti in its efforts to better mitigate and manage the impacts of natural disasters. CDB will remain a close development partner and help Haiti advance and emerge as a stronger, more resilient economy,” said Dr. Warren Smith, president of the CDB.

Haiti continues to recover from the catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake in 2010, which caused more than 300,000 deaths, displaced more than three million people and made more than one million homeless. Since then, the country experienced devastating torrential rainfall, flooding and other localised disasters in 2012, 2013 and 2014. [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-CDB-approves-US%242.37-million-in-grant-assistance-for-Haiti-catastrophe-risk-insurance-26950.html

Posted by: lisaparavisini | July 21, 2015

Marlon James wins Before Columbus Foundation book award

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The Before Columbus Foundation announces the

Winners of the Thirty-Sixth Annual

AMERICAN BOOK AWARDS

Ceremonies, October 25, 2015, 2:00–5:00 p.m.

The Before Columbus Foundation announces the Winners of the Thirty-Sixth Annual AMERICAN BOOK AWARDS. The 2015 American Book Award winners will be formally recognized on Sunday, October 25th from 2:00-5:00 p.m. at the SF Jazz Center, Joe Henderson Lab, 201 Franklin Street (at Fell), San Francisco, CA. This event is open to the public.

The American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions. There are no categories, no nominees, and therefore no losers. The award winners range from well-known and established writers to under-recognized authors and first works. There are no quotas for diversity, the winners list simply reflects it as a natural process. The Before Columbus Foundation views American culture as inclusive and has always considered the term “multicultural” to be not a description of various categories, groups, or “special interests,” but rather as the definition of all of American literature. The Awards are not bestowed by an industry organization, but rather are a writers’ award given by other writers.

The 2015 American Book Award Winners are:

Hisham Aidi

Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture (Vintage)

Arlene Biala

her beckoning hands (Word Poetry)

Arthur Dong

Forbidden City, USA: Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936-1970 (DeepFocus Productions)

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

An Indigenous People’s History of the United States (Beacon Press)

Peter J. Harris

The Black Man of Happiness (Black Man of Happiness Project)

Marlon James

A Brief History of Seven Killings (Riverhead Books)

Martin Kilson

Transformation of the African American Intelligentsia, 1880–2012 (Harvard University Press)

Naomi Klein

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (Simon & Schuster)

Laila Lalami

The Moor’s Account (Pantheon)

Manuel Luis Martinez

Los Duros (Floricanto Press)

Craig Santos Perez

from unincorporated territory [guma’] (Omnidawn)

Carlos Santana, with Ashley Kahn and Hal Miller

The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light (Little, Brown and Company)

Ira Sukrungruang

Southside Buddhist (University of Tampa Press)

Astra Taylor

The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age (Henry Holt)

Lifetime Achievement:

Anne Waldman

For more go to http://www.beforecolumbusfoundation.com/

Our thanks to Elizabeth DeLoughrey for bringing this to our attention.

Posted by: lisaparavisini | July 20, 2015

First Previews Show ‘Hamilton’ Shooting High

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The new Broadway musical grossed $1.2 million in its first seven previews, Pia Catton of The Wall Street Journal reports.

The votes are in—and the inauguration has begun: The new Broadway musical “Hamilton” grossed $1.2 million in its first seven previews during the week that ended Sunday, according to data from the Broadway League.

The show, a hip-hop interpretation of the life of founding fatherAlexander Hamilton, arrived at Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theatre with support that no exit poll could misread. Before the first preview on July 13, advance sales reached $27.6 million, for about 200,000 tickets, according to a spokesman for the production.

The Broadway run, which officially opens on Aug. 6, follows the show’s critically acclaimed off-Broadway stint at the Public Theater earlier this year. There, the show’s multicultural casting, rap battles and innovative use of dance generated a wave of attention that made a Broadway transfer a natural next step.

The buzz surrounding “Hamilton” is often compared with “The Book of Mormon,” another hit show. But in terms of early grosses, “Hamilton” wins in the duel. “The Book of Mormon” grossed $604,594 after its first stretch of seven previews, in the week ending March 6, 2011.

After “Mormon” opened on March 24, it took a few weeks to reach the $1 million mark, above which it has safely stayed, at times exceeding $2 million a week, typically around year-end holidays. “Hamilton” could see similar success and could help the 2015-2016 set high benchmarks.

But it wasn’t the only mover on Broadway last week. The play “An Act of God,” starring Jim Parsons (of television’s “The Big Bang Theory”) had its best week at Studio 54, grossing $990,023. Producer Jeffrey Finn announced Wednesday that the show had recouped its $2.9 million capitalization in 10 weeks.

Additionally, fans appear to be turning out for the last days of “Mamma Mia!,” which will give its final Broadway performance on Sept. 12. One of the longest-running shows onstage, “Mamma Mia!” drew in $909,862 during the week ending Sunday, notching its best non-holiday week since it moved to the Broadhurst Theatre from the Winter Garden in 2013.

The impending closure may have contributed to the uptick in sales, said general manager Devin Keudell, especially among patrons who may have seen the high-energy show previously.

“ ‘Mamma Mia!’ has created a lot of happy memories for people,” he said. “We’re not necessarily spending more on advertising.”

A global hit based on the songs of Abba, “Mamma Mia” has spawned multiple tours and venues, including onboard Royal Caribbean International cruises. On Broadway, it has grossed more than $600 million.

For the original report go to http://www.wsj.com/articles/first-previews-show-hamilton-shooting-high-1437437464

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This article by Randy Salgado appeared in Seattle’s Globalist. It contained two videos that can be accessed through the link to the original report below.

Milvia Pacheco was always told she looked too black to be Latino.

Growing up in Venezuela, many Latinos maligned her for looking different.

They would make fun of my nose, lips, and big ass,” said Pacheco with tears filling up in her eyes.

According to Monica Rojas, a Seattle-based sociocultural anthropologist and artist, Pacheco’s story is quite common among Afro-Latinos—a term that describes a Latin American or Spanish Caribbean person of black African ancestry.

Rojas says there is a constant battle for visibility of Afro-Latinos in Peru, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Venezuela. To battle that invisibility, Rojas founded Movimiento Afrolatino Seattle, known as MÁS, in 2013.

“It is interesting how institutionalized racism has set things in place that erased them from our societies,” said Rojas. “It became a goal of mine to help with that visibility.”

There is a perception that Latinos only descend from a mix of European and indigenous people, she said, excluding those in Latin America with a black African background.

In the United States, Pacheco and thousands of others like her are caught between two broader communities.

As she travelled around the U.S. with a Latin dance group, she noticed that she was treated differently than the other members of the group—for instance, having to wait longer in U.S. Customs at airports.

Pacheco moved to Seattle and met Rojas and MÁS, offering Pacheco an artistic platform where her identity and passion for the arts came together.

“When I started to be part of that community, I do not feel lost but rather I have a home,” said Pacheco about MÁS. “I am no longer running away and being someone else.

Pacheco now identifies herself as Afro-Latina — and like many others, she expresses her culture through the arts, specifically, music and dancing.

“I found my community through MÁS,” said Pacheco.

Connecting with MÁS allowed Pacheco to express her emotional struggle through art. After Pacheco performed with MÁS several times, Rojas invited her to become a member of the organization.

The number of Afro-Latinos in Spanish, Portuguese, French and English speaking countries in Latin America is estimated to be as many as 150 million. However, it’s difficult to estimate the population of Afro-Latinos in the U.S. because of confusion around the U.S. Census categories, which has separated Hispanic heritage from the question of racial identity (that is set to change for the 2020 Census).

But MÁS has reached out to about 500 community members in Seattle through four community forums and conducted research through dialogue and surveys. Their research found people who identified themselves by a variety of different names: Latino, Afro-Latino, Negro, Mestizo Mezclado, AfroAmericano Indígena, Latino Mezclado, and Garifuna.

Afro-Latino groups have been pushing United States Congress to increase their rights and representation since 2008 for official minority rights in government services.

“Afrolatinos have formed groups that — with the help of international organizations — are seeking political representation, human rights protection, land rights, and greater social and economic opportunities,” according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report for Congress.

Pacheco says MÁS will continue its work to raise the visibility of Afro-Latinos, through art and education events in the Seattle area.

“We have lots to offer through art as a way to give and share who we are,” Pacheco said. “Art is the voice, the messenger to encounter what we’ve been hiding.

For the original report go to http://seattleglobalist.com/2015/07/20/seattle-mas-puts-focus-afro-latino-heritage/37857

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This article by Richard Charan appeared in Trinidad and Tobago’s Express.

WHILE modern-day Trinidadians squabble over the issues of the New World’s European rediscovery five centuries ago and the plantation economy from which we all emerged, here is a reminder that every last one of us is a descendant of migrants who arrived in a place which, long before, had a complex society.

The island was already settled for thousands of years, so long ago that archaeologists have found evidence of the 7,000-year-old settlements of the first citizens – the Ortoiroids, who canoed across from South America, and travelled upriver into the Oropouche wetlands.

Two of the most significant sites in Trinidad are at Banwari Trace, San Francique, and St John’s Trace, Avocat, locations that, in a more enlightened country, would have been set aside as protected places of learning, research and scholarship.

Banwari Trace, where the famed Banwari man was found in 1969, is watched over by a volunteer custodian, with talk of its future development seemingly having died along with Peter Harris (who passed away in 2013), the archaeologist credited with discovering the site.

Five kilometres away at St John’s Trace, the site has no State protection, threatened once before by bulldozers and at the mercy of private owners at a time when land is like gold.

It is here at the St John’s Trace site that Dr Basil Reid, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the Department of History of The University of the West Indies, spent time between 2009 and 2011 with a team from the Archaeology Unit.

What Dr Reid and his team discovered, the findings of which were published last week, will rewrite the history books about what we know of the Caribbean’s first people.

The dig unearthed a midden with shells and the bones of fish and mammals, including the collared peccary (pig) nine-banded armadillo, paca (agouti) and red brocket deer, telling us of the diet of the settlers, and similar to what had been found at Banwari Trace.

However, the real prize came with the discovery of three milling stones, used to process food by rubbing, grinding, or pounding, and two conical pestles used for mashing or grinding substances.

The artefacts were sent to the Department of Biology at the University of Puerto Rico, where the sediments containing starch grains trapped in the fissures and pores of the stones were removed. The starch grains, which survived thousands of years, were analysed under powerful microscopes, so that the plants they came from could be identified.

Dr Reid’s work was published in the peer-reviewed Quaternary Science Reviews. He reported that the analysis of the St John’s site artefacts found they contained the starch grain of maize (corn), sweet potato, chilli pepper, bean, marunguey (a root from which a bread was made) achira (another tuber), marantaceae (arrowroot) and wild yam.

Dr Reid, the author of Myths and Realities of Caribbean History and co-author of the Encyclopedia of Caribbean Archaeology, considers it an important discovery for Trinidad and Tobago.

Radiocarbon dating has found that the St John’s site is older than Banwari Trace, which makes it the oldest known settlement in the southern Caribbean or north eastern South America, where maize and other crops were cultivated.

The first farmers of the Caribbean started right here.

More about St John’s site

St John is located south of the Godineau River in Trinidad in close proximity to the South Oropouche mangrove swamp. The site is a relatively deep shallow shell midden about 1.2 metres (4 feet) deep, with a maximum diameter of 38.1 metres (125 feet). At the western end, exposed strata show that each is characterised by a predominance of different mollusc species. In 1924, JA Bullbrook collected shells and mammal bones at the site. In 1953, Bullbrook and Irving Rouse relocated the site, and Rouse, Bullbrook and colleagues excavated a trench that yielded Arauquinoid ceramics in the uppermost level. Materials retrieved from these 1953 excavations are housed at the Peabody Museum, Yale University. Over the years, hammerstones and celts have been discovered at St John. A radiocarbon assay of the site in 1994 yielded a C14 date of 6672±48 BP, which, when calibrated, is 5470-5290 BC.

In February and March 2009, October 2009, March and April 2010, and February, March and April 2013, and as recently as February to May 2015, surveys and excavations were undertaken at the St John site in southwestern Trinidad. Spearheaded by the Archaeology Unit in the Department of History at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, the project was made possible by the involvement of UWI undergraduate history/archaeology students and a handful of volunteers. Of major significance was the retrieval of four grindstones and three pestles from 2009 to 2013. These artefacts clearly intimate that plant materials were processed at this site and, by extension, the existence of early Ortoiroid farming (a Reid discovery). Many of the ground stone tools appear to have been used for pounding and processing hard or fibrous vegetable material.

An abundance of shells, mammal bones, and stone artefacts (including flakes, pestles and grindstones) were recovered from the site. This suggests that the Ortoiroid, who inhabited St John approximately 7,000 years ago, used a judicious combination of strategies for getting food and exploited a range of resource habitats in close proximity to the site. Like Banwari Trace, the archaeological remains at St John suggest that there was little use of deep-sea resources. In addition, there was a general shift from the use of terrestrial animals toward the use of foods from marine environments, particularly inshore and estuarine species. Bone tools, primarily sharpened bone tips for hunting or fishing spears, have been preserved at St John in large numbers. They range from about two to 15 centimetres in length.

Dr Basil Reid: This changes our understanding.

My comments are as follows:

It is important to note that groups of people can be referred as farmers even though farming was part of a network of other food-getting activities such as hunting, fishing and mollusc collecting. Starch grain analysis of grindstones found at St John confirm that the first farmers in the Caribbean were native Trinidadians — whom we called Ortoiroid people — some of whom lived over 7,000 years ago. For years, Caribbean history books credited the so-called Arawaks as the first farmers. Subsequently, Caribbean archaeologists have long associated the early beginnings of farming with the Saladoid — the first fully horticultural native group that arrived in the Caribbean from north-eastern South America about 2,500 years ago. However, recent starch grain evidence from St John — supported by radiocarbon dates — provide incontrovertible proof that the Ortoiroid people of Trinidad used grindstones to process cultivars such as maize, sweet potato, zamia and jackbean. Of significance is the fact that the timeline of maize cultivation/processing at St John is thus far the earliest for both the southern Caribbean and north-eastern South America.

These finds have drastically reshaped our understanding of the pre-colonial history of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. Clearly, pre-colonial native groups — even though they lived several thousands years — were active, intelligent social agents of plant domestication and the management of their environment. This article underscores the role of archaeology in unlocking the narratives of the past. It also points to the rich, diverse archaeological heritage of Trinidad and Tobago.

It is essential that these findings be made available to members of the public. Teachers and students of Caribbean history at both the CSEC and CAPE levels need to be especially sensitised to this information.

Those who wish to download the article for free can visit the following website:http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Basil_Reid

For the original report go to http://www.trinidadexpress.com/20150720/features/the-caribbeans-first-farmers

Posted by: lisaparavisini | July 20, 2015

Cuban embassy opens in Washington

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A reports by Robert Craven and Olivia Marple of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA)

Amidst cheers of “Cuba sí, bloqueo no” (Cuba yes, embargo no), hundreds gathered on Washington, DC’s busy 16th Street to bear witness to the symbolic close to a chapter of American foreign policy. Trumpeting fanfare sounded as Cuban honour guard soldiers raised their country’s flag above what is now Cuba’s embassy in the United States.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla presided over the flag raising and was accompanied by a large American delegation led by Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson.

“It’s a new beginning, it’s a new opportunity for the people of Cuba,” said Karla Ramos, one of the spectators, in an interview with COHA, mirroring the sentiments of many others there to celebrate the momentous occasion 54 years in the making.

Ramos, who is from El Salvador, added that this new relationship between the Cold War rivals is not significant just for the Cuban people, “but also for the people of the United States and for us, the Latin American countries, [so] we all can be one continent united.”

Despite the jubilation of the event, there was still a shadow cast by the remnants of the embargo. Michael Beer, a demonstrator for CodePink, a grassroots organization supporting peace and human rights initiatives, emphasized the remaining roadblocks in an interview with COHA when saying that this event “brings a mixture of happiness, but we need more.”

“We need to rapidly reconcile here,” Beer said.

In order for this to come to fruition, Congress must decide to remove the legal labyrinth that still prohibits completely normalized relations. Further impediments include travel restrictions and Guantanamo Bay.

“We have to give Guantanamo Bay back to the Cuban people,” Beer stated.

The embassy opening is the most recent step in a series of initiatives led by US President Barack Obama, following his December 17 announcement to reestablish formal ties. In the diplomatic spirit of the day, the US embassy in Cuba opened in Havana shortly after. Secretary of State John Kerry plans to visit the island later this summer to officially inaugurate the new American embassy.

Though there was undeniably an atmosphere of change, not everyone present was supportive of renewed relations with the Castro regime.

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, a Cuban writer who left the island, was a protestor advocating for multi-party representative democracy in Cuba.

As the flag rose, Pardo Lazo interrupted a marked silence by yelling out,“¡Cuba sin Castro!” (“Cuba without Castro!”) His sentiments reflected a diminishing but vocal undertone of opposition to the new foreign policy.

While some champions of normalization stress that the United States can have an impact on Cuban politics, there may be much that the United States can learn from Cuba. The country maintains an advanced healthcare system, free education, and boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the world.

Ramos agreed that Americans should focus on “what Cuba has done for Cubans and for the rest of the world.”

For the original report go to http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Cuban-embassy-opens-in-Washington-26973.html

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At a recent media launch held at the Consulate General for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in Toronto on July 8th, CaribbeanTales unveiled its 2015 Program. The standing- room-only event featured many Toronto luminaries, and was MC’d by the Honourable Jean Augustine, PC, CM with speakers including T&T Consul General Dr. Vidya Gyan Tota-Maharaj, CaribbeanTales founder and Executive Director Frances-Anne Solomon, Programmer Christopher Pinheiro, Partnerships Coordinator Emmy Pantin, and Incubator Chair Dr. Rita Shelton-Deverell.

“CaribbeanTales continues to have its finger on the pulse of a dynamic movement of evolving film expression across the region and its Diaspora,” says founder and filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon. “In just ten years, a very short period of time, our film stories have matured to become stunningly assured, explosive, transgressive, probing, beautiful and urgent. And this is what we see represented on screen in this year’s selections.”

Running from September 9 – 19 at the Royal Cinema, CTFF’s 10th anniversary edition will showcase a fantastic selection of Caribbean films from around the globe. These include 16 feature-length films and 30 short films in Official Competition for the CTFF Jury and Audience Awards, to be announced on the closing night – September 19.

CTFF, which runs alongside the Toronto International Film Festival, also features an intensive five-day Incubator Program for Caribbean and Diaspora filmmakers, followed by a Pitch Breakfast at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and many exciting networking events.

CTFF’s 2015 programming committee, consisting of movers and shakers from the Caribbean film community, has worked hard to put together a line-up that will surely WOW audiences. The festival’s uniquely themed Programconsists of evenings of features and short films including Trini-to-the-Bone, a celebration of old and new Trinidad culture; Queer Caribbean, spotlighting new LGBTQ films; Shifting Perspectives, a partnership with the Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival, that focuses on mental health issues; After The Exodus, exploring themes of reparations, slavery and trafficking, and #AllBlackLivesMatter – Caribbean, that addresses in fiction and documentary the escalation of tensions between Haitians and Dominicans in the DR.

CTFF’s community partnerships this year include a special screening on August 19, of Spike Lee’s seminal work Do The Right Thing, co-presented with the Regent Park Film Festival.

The festival is also proud to partner with the Community Story Collective(CSC) to produce The Nine Night Party and Container Exhibit. This project is conceived as a tribute to Mervin Jarman, a well-loved Jamaican community art/activist who passed away suddenly in 2014. To commemorate, and continue Jarman’s work, the CSC in collaboration with CaribbeanTales, will hold a series of socially engaged art and media workshops in community spaces around the city.

“Mervin Jarman was the first Caribbean Diaspora artist that inspired me.” said Camille Turner, lead artist of the Nine Night Party and Container Exhibit. “I am thrilled to work with CaribbeanTales to create new opportunities for Diaspora artists to be inspired by Mervin, creating art and creating community.”

CTFF 2015 kicks off its 10th Anniversary with a Gala Caribbean Reception and Celebration on Wednesday September 9, in association with the Consulate General of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago in Toronto, at the Royal Cinema, 608 College Street in Toronto.

The evening presents the Trinidad and Tobago feature docudrama PAN! Our Music Odyssey, by Jérôme Guiot & Thierry Teston, and written by Kim Johnson. A Trinidad & Tobago/France co-production, PAN! tells the story of the birth of the steel drum. Between 1939 and 1945, during World War II, while developed nations savaged one another on the world stage, in Trinidad & Tobago (the Caribbean) underprivileged urban gangs created a new and unique musical instrument, and perfected it by the 1950s. Pan was born!

From September 8 – 13, the festival hosts the 6th Annual CaribbeanTales Incubator Program (CTI), an internationally recognized platform that offers selected filmmakers the opportunity to hone their creative and business skills, through workshops and one‐on‐one mentorships with world-class specialists. CTI will culminate in The Big Pitch, when participants present their developed film projects to international funders and buyers over a delicious Caribbean breakfast at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The festival also organizes a number of intimate events providing opportunities for filmmakers and audiences to mingle informally with international industry players.Festival screenings will continue at The Royal Cinema, Monday – Friday, September 13 – 18 at 6:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. daily. On Closing Night, Saturday September 19, there will be three screenings at 3:50 p.m., 6:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online here: http://www.caribbeantales.ca/CTFF/events/.

and may be purchased on-site one hour before each screening at The Royal Cinema.

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, CTFF is offering a special fete ticket price for Early Bird ticket buyers. From July 8 – Aug 8, 2015 audiences can buy a festival pass for $90, opening night tickets for $40, and closing night tickets for $20.

Regular Ticket Prices for the festival are:

– Sept 9: Opening Night Gala – $50

– Sept 9: All-Access Festival pass + Gala – $140

– Sept 14 – 18: All Access Festival Pass – $100

– Sept 14 – 19: Single Ticket – $15 & Student – $12

– Sept 19: Closing Night – $25

For more information about the festival, the public may call the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival Office line on: 647-303-7343; Email: caribbeantales@gmail.com or visit our website at  http://caribbeantales.ca/CTFF.

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