Posted by: lisaparavisini | January 8, 2015

Playing Polo in Haiti

Claude-Alix Bertrand, Captain, Haiti Polo Team

Claude-Alix Bertrand, Captain, Haiti Polo Team

This article by Carine Fabius appeared in The Huffington Post

In December 2014, Travel + Leisure magazine listed Haiti as one of the “Best Places to Travel in 2015.” Wow! That really made my day. I forwarded the link to a bunch of people I know, while trying very hard not to pepper my note with multiple exclamation points. Good news about Haiti, while common to those who follow the country’s progress since the earthquake, is rare. Why? Tragedy, wretchedness and insurmountable problems make for sexier headlines. Only 10 people killed in that quake? Who cares? Over 250,000 dead bodies, with 300,000 injured; now that’s something!

But, at the risk of putting readers to sleep, I must now report another rather astounding piece of news about Haiti’s blooming renaissance. The country now boasts the internationally-recognized, championship-winning Haiti Polo team, along with the construction of a five-star, full-service polo resort, school and spa in Côte De Fer, on Haiti’s south-eastern coast.

Polo? You’re thinking. In Haiti? What in the world? Come on, admit it. You’re thinking that what Haiti needs is education, not polo, right? As I mentioned, there are too-many-to-count progressive initiatives currently targeting the island’s many ills. A multi-pronged approach is what’s needed. The “sport of kings,” as polo is sometimes referred to, was once a part of Haiti’s social landscape in the 20s and 30s. What’s wrong with now? Tennis, another “elitist” sport, has been around forever in Haiti.

The impressive Haiti Polo team*, conceived and spearheaded by captain Claude-Alix Bertrand –recently appointed Ambassador UNESCO of Goodwill-at-Large for Haiti by Haitian President Michel Martelly — has scored a win in the finals against the U.S. in the San Francisco International Polo Classic. The team also made headlines with championship wins at the China Open Polo Tournament in Shanghai; the Cordoba International Polo tournament in Cordoba, Argentina; and at the International Masters Cup in Pilar, Argentina. Team Haiti’s presenting sponsor is Audi Sportscar Experience. Other sponsors include Duty Free America and Digicel; and it also has a healthy working relationship with the ministry of tourism in Haiti led by Stéphanie Balmir Villedrouin. The 8000-acre polo resort complex will also offer golf, sailing and Formula One car racing, in addition to polo lessons to young Haitians, and anyone else wanting to learn. In the process, the project will generate 18,000 jobs in Haiti. Not bad, eh?

Sports and the arts speak to the culture of a place. For 24 years I have represented Haitian artists through my gallery in Hollywood, California, and have previously written on HuffPost about Haiti’s distinctive arts tradition as one of the most potent local forces we can harness to bring tourism and culture enthusiasts back to Haiti. A project now playing at my house is my sculptor husband Pascal Giacomini’s documentary-in-progress on the remarkable and feverish artistic production pouring out of Haiti before, during and after the seism that changed everything. Currently on view at the Grand Palais in Paris is a major traveling exhibition titled Haiti, Two Centuries of Artistic Creation. This nation of artists has some of the best beaches on the planet; its French-influenced cuisine is downright gourmet. The sport of polo already exists on many islands in the Caribbean; but soon, Haiti will be the only place where the sport of polo will be available on a grand scale, without the customary club membership requirement. How fabulous.

For the original report go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carine-fabius/playing-polo-in-haiti_b_6419634.html

 

Posted by: lisaparavisini | January 8, 2015

Jilted Man Sells Caribbean Honeymoon on eBay for Charity

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After John Whitbred’s fiancee dumped him the day after Christmas, he decided to sell the better half of his honeymoon on eBay, Susanna Kim reports in this article for ABCNews.com.

His wedding was scheduled for Valentine’s Day in England, followed by an all-inclusive two-week vacation to the Dominican Republic. Whitbred, 32, says there’s no hard feelings with his fiancee, Amy.

“She said she didn’t feel the same way when we first met and she hasn’t been happy or herself the last month or so,” he told ABC News.

Whitbred, who works in a brick plant and lives in the English countryside in Donisthorpe, said they had been together two years, half of which was the engagement.

“Of course it was hard,” he said about the breakup. “The fact that’s driving me is that I’m glad she did it when she did it. She’s done the right thing. You don’t want to be with someone if that’s how they feel about you.”

Unable to get a refund on the honeymoon package, he turned to eBay to give someone else the opportunity to go on a vacation. Bidding ends in six days. He said he spent 1,950 British pounds, or about $3,000. All the money raised after 1,050 pounds will go to the British men’s cancer charity Balls to Cancer. The charity has tweeted about the eBay sale and included information about it on its website.

Balls to Cancer co-founder Susan Bates told ABC News she and her husband Mark are “overjoyed” that the charity would benefit from the sale.

“As a small and relatively new charity, the money will greatly help continue the work we do to fight against all male cancers,” she said.

After the money goes to charity, he plans to use the remaining proceeds for vacation spending money for him and the winning bidder.

When asked about money he lost on the wedding, he says that may be “a couple thousand pounds,” but he’s still trying to get more money refunded.

“It’s never been about the money,” he said about the eBay sale. “I thought it would give someone an opportunity to go on a cheap holiday. I never thought it would get this response.”

He asks that only females bid, but he says he’s not asking for more than a travel companion to do activities like scuba dive.

“I didn’t really put that much thought into it,” he said. “It’s not really sinister, because I’m not really asking for anything. I just hoped for a fun holiday with some female company. I think it will just be easier. If they’re bidding, they’re going to be adventurous anyways, I hope.”

The package includes the honeymoon suite, but he said the resort said there could have been two beds put together in the first place.

“The room fits three, so I believe there will be a couch I can sleep on,” Whitbred said.

The winner would need to travel to the Manchester Airport for the Feb. 16 flight, or meet in the Dominican Republic.

For the original report go to http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/jilted-man-sells-caribbean-honeymoon-ebay-charity/story?id=28083526

Posted by: lisaparavisini | January 8, 2015

Next Year in Havana: The Cuba you can look forward to

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This article by Paul Reyes appeared in The New York Times. It is accompanied by an excellent gallery of photos that you can access through the link below.

Cuba is the idiosyncratic sister of the Caribbean, and a large part of its idiosyncrasy stems from having watched as the last half-century passed it by. What was once a cultural hotbed moldered under Communism. Still, there is an embattled dignity in Havana’s dilapidated architecture, whether colonial style or Art Deco or even the midcentury classics; nowhere else does the traveler find this peculiar marriage between the contemporary and the antiquated, with its incongruous traces of the space age, of Spanish flair and Soviet flotsam. There is, too, a unique resilience among Cubans themselves, whose talent for improvisation, for making do with what’s at hand, is legendary. The feeling of living in frozen time is one of Cuba’s most frustrating realities and its most powerful allure. To imagine Cuba without it evokes an almost existential question.

The specter of a thaw is what motivated me, back in 2009, to press my father — an exile who arrived in the United States in 1962 at age 15, along with his younger brother — to see the island sooner rather than later. For more than 40 years, he refused to send a penny in its direction, either as remittance for his cousins (as it did many others, the revolution fractured our family) or as a tourist himself. That summer, he finally acquiesced, seeking to reconcile with his family and to discover what had become of his country.

Many of us — Cubans, exiles and second-generation Cuban-Americans — admire the anachronistic surfaces while also looking past them to see something else emerging. For years, Cuba has been much more than just jerry-built Chevys with Mitsubishi engines; Audis have been gliding through the streets of Havana for some time; mobile technology is increasingly common. A tourist economy fed by visitors from around the world has fueled a slow-motion modernization. Most of those hailing from the United States have been Cuban-Americans returning to see loved ones, but an increasing number are those with no familial connection to the island, just a fascination with its culture and contraband mystique.

Every time I visit Cuba, even as I come across sights I must have seen a thousand times — the channels of Habana Vieja, the breathtaking vistas of Viñales — I’m compelled to dive back in and work my way through the country. To be clear, this is what you do there: Work your way through it. Leisure left long ago. Instead, the sublime is found in the haggling and hustling and negotiations, in the aesthetic overabundance of color and music and traffic and weather and strays — in a sensuality evident in the pictures on these pages, taken in Havana for The New York Times in December.

Congress is not likely to lift the calcified embargo against Cuba any time soon; but by itself, President Obama’s executive order to normalize diplomatic relations is expected to have a profound effect on how the two countries engage each other, simply by allowing more Americans to immerse themselves in Cuba’s culture. In doing so, the thinking goes, Americans will begin to empower Cubans by doing what tourists do best: hiring drivers, renting rooms, buying meals and souvenirs — spending money. Through these practical transactions, Obama said, American tourists will inevitably do the diplomatic work of sharing their values while “making the lives of ordinary Cubans a little bit easier, more free, more prosperous.”

Actual prosperity is still a long way off, but with an influx of American visitors spending money with fewer restrictions, it seems reasonable to imagine that the Cuban talent for improvisation will evolve beyond just having to make do, to seizing the opportunity at hand.

For the original report go to http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/magazine/next-year-in-havana.html?_r=0#

Posted by: lisaparavisini | January 8, 2015

St Lucia marks the 100th birthday of Sir Arthur Lewis

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Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony will deliver the feature address at a conference marking the 100th birthday of Sir W Arthur Lewis, the first St Lucian and Caribbean national to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.

The conference on January 23 is among a number of activities being planned to celebrate the life of the first of two Nobel Laureates from St Lucia. Sir Arthur was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1979 while Derek Walcott received the award for Literature in 1992.

The conference is being planned by the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the University of the West Indies (UWI) Vice Chancellery, and the UWI Open Campus St Lucia.

Sir Arthur served as the first CDB president (1970-73) and UWI Vice Chancellor (1962-63). The two organisations, have established a partnership with the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) to mark the occasion with a variety of activities.

“A high point of these will be the joint hosting of the 16th Annual SALISES Conference by the CDB and the UWI Vice Chancellery, in association with the UWI Open Campus Saint Lucia. The conference will be celebrated as the W. Arthur Lewis Centennial, under the theme “Towards Caribbean Prosperity and Happiness in an Equitable and Sustainable World,” according to an official statement issued here.

It said that the sub-themes of the conference will seek to capture the main topics covered in Lewis’s work, the concerns raised by his critics, and the contemporary issues to which scholars believe his work can be applied.

The conference will be held from January 14-16 and SALISES said it will also be holding its annual Sir Arthur Lewis Distinguished Lecture in St Lucia this year on January 15.

The lecture will be delivered by the Director General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Dr Didacus Jules.

For the original report go to http://antiguaobserver.com/st-lucia-marks-the-100th-birthday-of-sir-arthur-lewis/

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A spectacular corner of history: writing the Haitian Revolution, Christian Høgsbjerg writes in this review of Philipp Kaisary’s The Haitian Revolution in the Literary ImaginationRadical HorizonsConservative Constraints (University of Virginia Press, 2014), £25.50. The review appeared in the International Socialism Journal. Follow the link below for the original review.

Haiti is the country where Negro people stood up for the first time, affirming their determination to shape a world, a free world… Haiti represented for me the heroic Antilles, the African Antilles… Haiti is the most African of the Antilles. It is at the same time a country with a marvellous history: the first Negro epic of the New World was written by Haitians, people like Toussaint Louverture, Henri Christophe, Jean-Jacques Dessalines.

So declared the Martinican poet Aimé Césaire in a 1967 interview with the Haitian poet René Depestre, stressing the inspiration for him of the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804, which led to the birth of the world’s first independent black republic outside Africa. Césaire’s classic anti-colonialist 1939 poem Notebook of a Return to My Native Land was a founding poetic text of the négritude (“blackness”) movement—a movement that influenced Depestre himself—and contained a powerful tribute to the tragic hero of the Haitian Revolution, Toussaint Louverture, evoking his period of imprisonment in the French Jura mountains at the treacherous Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s command: “a man alone, imprisoned by whiteness/a man alone who defies the white screams of a white death”.

From William Wordsworth’s mournful sonnet “To Toussaint L’Ouverture”, published in the year of Toussaint’s death in captivity in 1803, to musicians such as Sidney Bechet, Santana, Wyclef Jean, Charles Mingus and Courtney Pine, the Haitian Revolution has generated an “extraordinary and voluminous cultural archive”. As Philip Kaisary notes in this accessible and thought-provoking work on 20th century representations of this revolution, “a diverse array of writers, artists and intellectuals” were fascinated by an epic liberation struggle that “overthrew slavery, white supremacy and colonialism”.

The Haitian Revolution was a world-historic event, abolishing slavery for good in what was then the prized French sugar plantation colony of Saint Domingue. But with all too few exceptions it has tended to be overlooked or “silenced” amid the other great Atlantic revolutions of the period such as the American War of Independence and the Great French Revolution.That the Haitian Revolution went far further than the other two revolutions in its commitment to the principle of universal emancipation and human rights for all only reinforces what the late Haitian scholar Michel-Rolph Trouillot called its “unthinkability” to prevailing Eurocentric modes of thought.

However, in the 20th century, from the inter-war period onwards, the combination of the brutal US military occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934, coupled with fascist Italy’s barbaric war on the people of Ethiopia in 1935, meant the collective memory of the Haitian Revolution took on new importance, meaning and inspiration for writers, artists and anti-colonial activists internationally. Some sense of the cultural impact here can be registered through the work of two legendary film directors, Orson Welles and Sergei Eisenstein. In America the Federal Theatre produced Welles’s play “Voodoo Macbeth” in 1936, which transferred the “Scottish play” to post-revolutionary Haiti, while, in both Mexico and then the Soviet Union, Eisenstein, the outstanding director of classic films about the Russian Revolution such as StrikeOctober and Battleship Potemkin, battled with first corporate Hollywood studios and then the Stalinist bureaucracy to try and make a film about the Haitian Revolution with Paul Robeson in the title role, surely one of the greatest movies never made.1

This intense inter-war period was a critical moment in what Kaisary has called “the development of a radical restoration of Haitian history” which articulated “a narrative of emancipation in which black agency and universal intent were central”. Within this radical tradition, Césaire looms large, with not only his Notebook, but also his 1963 play about Henri Christophe, another key figure of Haitian revolutionary and post-revolutionary history. The Tragedy of King Christophe is hailed by Kaisary as a play “that successfully combines a magnificent poetic symphony with a progressive-critical analysis of political decolonisation”. A foundational work in this radical tradition of writing about the Haitian Revolution was, of course, The Black Jacobins (1938) by the Trinidadian Marxist C L R James, who in the 1930s also wrote a remarkable dramatic representation of the Haitian Revolution, Toussaint Louverture (1934), a play later rewritten and entitled The Black Jacobins (1967). Kaisary rightly has a great respect for James’s work as a revolutionary historian, though he is not quite as generous to James’s skills as a playwright as I think is probably deserved.2

The Haitian Revolution also inspired many radical black American icons of the Harlem Renaissance including Paul Robeson (who starred in the title role of the London production of James’sToussaint Louverture in 1936) but also Langston Hughes, who wrote a play The Emperor of Haiti (1936)—centred on Dessalines, who is restored by Hughes to something like his full importance as a fighter for black liberation—and an opera Troubled Island (1936). Another key Harlem Renaissance figure, Jacob Lawrence, undertook a famous series of 41 paintings entitled The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture(1938). This radical tradition, which defends the idea of the Haitian Revolution as a “decisive and transformational historical moment”, and which Kaisary identifies with, also includes such representations of the Haitian Revolution as René Depestre’s 1967 poem A Rainbow for the Christian West, which “mobilises the memory of the heroes of Haiti’s independence within the context of 200 years of global black resistance”. Kaisary also engages usefully with the visual art of black British artist Kimathi Donkor, whose 2004 series Caribbean Passion:Haiti 1804 is also located convincingly as a more recent and contemporary contribution to this rich radical tradition.

Yet Kaisary also delineates a strand of representation of the Haitian Revolution which conveys “visions of obscurity, tragic circularity, senseless violence, and history as eroticised fantasmics”. Examples discussed as “conservative retrievals” of the revolution include works by figures such as the Martinican writer Édouard Glissant, who Kaisary charges with a “later conservative retreat to cultural politics” which is apparently evident even in his relatively early play Monsieur Toussaint (1961). The Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier’s 1949 “marvellous realist” novel The Kingdom of This World, which though written from the standpoint of a slave, Ti Noel, for Kaisary overall “communicates a message of political conservatism” by drawing a continuity between pre-revolutionary and post-revolutionary Haiti, as the former slave finally experiences forced labour building King Christophe’s citadel, “a slavery as abominable as that he had known on the plantation of M. Leonormand de Mezy”. For Kaisary, Carpentier is motivated by a cyclical view of history reminiscent of Oswald Spengler.

Likewise the trilogy of plays on the Haitian Revolution, Henri ChristopheDrums and Colours and The Haitian Earth written between 1949 and 1984 by the Saint Lucian poet and playwright Derek Walcott, is ultimately seen as a conservative work. Walcott’s Haitian dramaturgy, influenced clearly by Shakespearean tragedy, does effectively evoke the grandeur of the revolution, with the “black Jacobins” degenerating into “black Jacobean” kings, but for Kaisary it is driven by “theories of cyclical historical fatalism”. Those more familiar than this reviewer with the work of Glissant, Carpentier and Walcott will be able to draw their own conclusions about whether Kaisary’s charge of “conservatism” here is fair, but his arguments to me seemed to make an important contribution to debate, even if they are perhaps underdeveloped in places.

Perhaps most controversially and provocatively, Kaisary turns his critical gaze to another more recent Haitian revolutionary trilogy, the acclaimed historical novels of American writer Madison Smartt Bell,All Souls’ RisingThe Master of the Crossroad and The Stone that the Builder Refused. For Kaisary, Bell’s “efforts to revitalise the traditional historical novel as a vehicle to narrate the story of the Haitian Revolution succeeds only in communicating a conservative message which falls foul of stereotype and cliché”. Certainly, Bell’s more recent 2007 biography of Toussaint L’Ouverture is hardly the most radical portrait of Toussaint available (as Kaisary notes, Bell regurgitates a royalist conspiracy theory “explanation” of the August 1791 insurrection, and has little sympathy with or understanding of one of the most radical and intriguing figures of the Haitian Revolution, Moïse). Yet Kaisary’s judgement of Bell’s work as “a lifeless, violent trilogy, replete with stereotyping, masquerading as a liberal take on a seminal moment in world history” are—to me at least—both unconvincing and unfair.

Kaisary talks of Bell’s “overwhelming presentations of eroticised violence and the obfuscation of emancipatory politics”. Certainly to understand the Haitian Revolution in its full sense with respect to its relationship to both Enlightenment thinking and the importance of the French Revolution it is not enough to read Bell without reference to the historical writings of the likes of C L R James and, more recently, Robin Blackburn and Laurent Dubois. And perhaps in places Bell is unnecessarily gratuitous with respect to scenes of sex and violence. Yet, such foibles aside, Bell’s superb attention to detail, his deep understanding of Haitian vodou practice and his clear sympathy towards and identification with the liberation struggle waged by the black rebel slave army built up and led by Toussaint coupled with his profound skills with respect to literary characterisation mean that these novels are the complete opposite of “lifeless”.

Indeed, there is nothing else I have personally read that evokes such a feeling for how the revolution transformed the lives and fates of characters—some fictional, others based on real people—drawn from across the full spectrum of the slave society of colonial French Saint Domingue, and giving such a memorable sense of the mental, spiritual and physical climate of life in the colony as it underwent revolution. Reading Bell’s novels leaves one with an unforgettable sense of the tropical heat and atmosphere that induced lethargy among the master planter class and so debilitated European colonial troops, while his portrayals of revolutionary warfare easily stand comparison with the writings of Bernard Cornwell, author of the popular “Sharpe” series of historical novels, also set in the Napoleonic period.3 Whether Bell is best described as a “liberal” or a “conservative”, reading his Haitian literary trilogy, one cannot help but be reminded of Frederick Engels’s praise for Honoré de Balzac, who was very far politically from Engels’s Marxism but whose novels (especially The Human Comedy) Engels nonetheless admired, declaring Balzac a “master of realism” in his depiction of the clash between class forces in French “Society”.4

Overall, Kaisary makes a bold and brave bid to “draw out the situation and ideological thrust” of various representations of the Haitian Revolution “along a single axis of distinction, the radical and the conservative” to explore how “certain aesthetic modes of recuperating the Haitian Revolution have enabled or hindered particular political visions”. One of the strengths of Kaisary’s work is the wide range of cultural representations under discussion—history, poetry, theatre, novels, biography and visual arts, including even commemorative postage stamps produced to pay tribute to Haitian revolutionary history in Haiti itself, by the Republic of Dahomey (now Benin) in 1963, and Cuba in 1991. Anyone interested in Haiti and its history will find this work stimulating and an encouragement to delve deeper into the rich cultural archive inspired by what Kaisary calls “this spectacular corner of black revolutionary history”.

Though Kaisary maintains that he is “mounting a materialist critique that has been concerned to pay proper regard to the texts’ and artworks’ internal logics”, this critique could perhaps have been developed through a more detailed examination of the wider historical context in which these texts were written, and a more profound exploration of the kind of politics influencing each of the writers and artists. So we learn that Depestre’s youthful revolutionary politics—which produced his great poetical challenge to the imperialism of the “Christian West” in 1967—had given way by the 1980s to disillusion, disenchantment and an embrace of the French literary and even political establishment, but this political shift is not analysed.

In general, more needed to be said about the wider disillusionment with, for example, the new post-colonial regimes across Africa and the Caribbean following decolonisation in the post-war period, and how the hopes of statist, top down models of African and Caribbean “socialism” in the 1960s and 1970s were well and truly dashed by the 1980s. These unhappy developments undoubtedly had an impact on writers and artists engaging with the collective memory of the Haitian Revolution in the late 20th century. If Depestre is ultimately claimed by Kaisary for the “radical” camp, despite his later “conservative” political shift, perhaps there is something problematic about the way in which Kaisary attempts to draw such a fixed binary “axis of distinction” between “radical” and “conservative” camps more generally. Any artist drawn to the Haitian Revolution in a serious way it seems to me must at some time and on some level have been inspired by the revolutionary spirit of what Paul Foot once called “perhaps the most glorious victory of the oppressed over their oppressors in all history”, and a desire to honour and pay homage to that spirit. In our 21st century world of permanent war and imperialist barbarism the memory of the Haitian Revolution can serve as an inspiration still, and one can only echo Kaisary’s sentiments when he concludes by declaring that “it is _imperative to restore the voices of a revolution still resounding today, as radical founders in a still unfulfilled project of dignity, justice and liberation”.

For the original report go to http://www.isj.org.uk/index.php4?id=1030&issue=145

Posted by: lisaparavisini | January 8, 2015

2 Puerto Rico sites chosen for US conservation program

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The U.S. government has selected two sites in Puerto Rico that will receive additional resources and protection as part of a federal conservation program.

A swath along Puerto Rico’s northeast coast and the nearby sister island of Culebra were designated “habitat focus areas” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi said Thursday that both areas have recently seen declines in the number of mangroves, coral and sea grass. He said the program will improve habitat conditions at both sites that are popular with tourists and help the local government manage recreational activities.

Posted by: lisaparavisini | January 8, 2015

Pérez Art Museum Miami announces search for new Director

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Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is launching an international search for a director to replace Thom Collins, who will step down in March after guiding the museum’s successful move to a spectacular new waterfront venue, PAMM Board Chair Aaron Podhurst announced. Collins will become executive director and president of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

PAMM trustee Dennis Scholl, the vice president/arts for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will head the committee searching for the new director and Leann Standish, PAMM deputy director for external affairs, will serve as interim director following Collins’ departure.

In its opening year, the museum exceeded its key attendance and membership goals, with more than 300,000 visitors, compared with 60,000 annually at the previous venue. The museum has reached more than 70,000 students and children, with the largest art education program in Miami-Dade County, outside the school system, itself. PAMM’s new director will help the contemporary art museum develop a five-year strategic plan, Podhurst said.

“Thom’s leadership has been instrumental to our many successes, from the tremendous public response to the museum after its opening in Miami’s Museum Park, to the continued successes of our fundraising campaign and collection-building programs,” said Podhurst. “We congratulate him and are grateful that he has led the museum to a place of stability and strength from which we can continue to move forward.”

Collins’s departure comes a little more than a year after PAMM opened its new, Herzog and de Meuron-designed facility in Miami’s Museum Park on time, on budget and to international acclaim. The museum has grown its membership base to over 9,000 member households, generating in excess of $2.24 million in revenue. PAMM recently announced more than $6 million in cash gifts, bringing its capital campaign to more than 90 percent of goal, as well as significant new gifts to its permanent collection, some of which are currently on view at the museum through March 1, 2015, in the exhibition Beyond the Limited Life of Painting .

“The new director will have the opportunity to lead the most important visual arts institution in a city that has emerged as an internationally renowned cultural center,” said Scholl.”The success of the museum in all areas, from the building itself to record-breaking attendance and critically acclaimed exhibitions will allow us to attract excellent candidates to take the Pérez to the next level.”

The international scope of the director search reflects Greater Miami’s diverse community and its pivotal geographic location at the crossroads of the Americas. The city of Miami is home to a vibrant mix of cultures and traditions from across North America, the Caribbean, and South America, and PAMM has attracted tourists from more than 90 countries and all 50 states in just 12 months since opening.

Following the acclaimed run of Beatriz Milhazes: Jardim Botânico, the first major US retrospective on the Brazilian artist’s work organized by PAMM Chief Curator Tobias Ostander, which closes on January 11, PAMM will open the U.S. exclusive presentation of Tàpies: From Within on February 6. The exhibition explores the career of Spanish artist Antoni Tàpies and features 50 works from 1945 through 2011. The exhibition joins current and upcoming exhibitions on the work of Mario García Torres, Diego Bianchi, Victoria Gitman and Shana Lutker, among others, for the 2015 season.

“The support that this museum has received and the tremendous success it experienced in its opening year is testament to how important the arts are to this community,” said Collins. “Although I am sad to leave Miami, I proud that we have cemented the museum’s role as Miami’s flagship art museum, a leading U.S. institution, and an international art destination. I have seen an entire community come together to create something tremendous, and I am so grateful to have had the chance to be a part of it.”

The search committee for the new director will be Chairman Dennis Scholl; Vice-Chair Rose Ellen Greene; Jorge Perez; Jeff Krinsky; Susana Ibarguen; Dede Moss; Craig Robins; Carol Hall; Greg Ferrero; Walid Wahab; Gail Myers; and Aaron Podhurst.

Posted by: lisaparavisini | January 8, 2015

“Quique” Rivera to Lead Workshops on Stop-Motion Animation

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Puerto Rican filmmaker Enrique “Quique” Rivera, creator of the animated music video for Calle 13’s “Asi de grandes son las ideas,” will offer lectures and workshops on stop-motion animation later this month at the Carolina campus of the University of Puerto Rico.
The appearances, set for Jan. 22 and Jan. 24, are part of the “Sinestesias” Multi-disciplinary Cultural Agenda, UPR Carolina said.
Rivera, a UPR alumnus who also has a master’s degree from the California Institute of Arts, became internationally known last year for his work on the Calle 13 video.
The video debuted at the Cinefiesta International Short Film Festival in San Juan and has been screened at events such as the International Stop Motion Festival in Brazil, London’s Crystal Palace International Film Festival and the Bali International Film Festival in Indonesia.
Rivera’s work includes other animated short films, some of which have been exhibited in more than 40 international festivals.
One of them, “Menuda Urbe” (2010) won Honorable Mention at the 2011 Cinefiesta.

For the original report go to http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2368604&CategoryId=13003

Posted by: lisaparavisini | January 8, 2015

Allora and Calzadilla: Intervals at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

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Philadelphia Museum of Art: Allora and Calzadilla: Intervals is on view through April 5.

This exhibition of new and recent projects by Puerto Rico–based artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla explores music’s capacity to evoke an ancestral time and interrogate what makes us human. Through films, sound, live performances, and sculpture, the artists take on various notions of the interval—the time between events, the measure between two points in space, or the range between musical notes—in order to discover possible ways to reconsider the distance between our present and our past.

Allora & Calzadilla: Intervals, the artists’ largest solo exhibition in the United States to date, unfolds over two sites: the Perelman Building at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Fabric Workshop and Museum. Each Allora & Calzadilla work in this exhibition stems from a cultural artifact or a vibrant remainder from various moments in history, including the oldest musical instrument ever discovered, the remains of nineteenth-century elephants, a prehistoric figurine, or fragmented dinosaur bones. Live choral and orchestral performances reimagine concerts from another century, and an intimate vocal score produces a new friction between human presence and the prehistoric past. As archaeological exercises that unsettle linear time, these provocative works wrestle with the abyss that lies between the human experience and our evolving place within the larger universe.

Located at 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia.

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Posted by: lisaparavisini | January 7, 2015

Book Review: “Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean”

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Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean (Peepal Tree Press / Akashic Books), reviewed by Jason Pettus for CCLaP.

I have to confess, I would’ve never thought of picking up anthology of contemporary Caribbean writing on my own, if I hadn’t been sent one by our pals at the always excellent Akashic Books; but now that I’ve read through said volume, Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean, I must admit that it’s so far been one of my favorite reads of the last few months, a surprisingly sophisticated and engrossing compilation that I tore through in just a couple of days. Not nearly the “singing natives in colorful dresses and their magical-realism adventures” anthology that Americans might expect from the subject (although there are a few stories like that in here), this is the entire point of a Caribbean anthology edited by actual Caribbeans, that it instead veers into tales of wealth and corporate espionage, quiet family dramas, and the other kinds of tropes that rarely get a chance to be showcased when it’s white people writing about people of color in exotic lands, an illuminating slice of life that present a full range of experiences of what it must be like to live in this tropical and often troubled part of the world. In fact, about my only complaint is that the stories themselves hail from only six of the thirty nations and sovereign states that make up this region, and it would’ve been nice to see a wider range of representation; but I gotta say, what did get included is really great stuff, an eye-opening and entertaining read that is well worth your time. A big recommendation today for one and all.

For the original report go to http://www.cclapcenter.com/2015/01/book_review_pepperpot_best_new.html

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