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I just came across this article on Jack Delano. It is from 2011 and was written by David González. Lovely gallery of photos. This is the second of two pieces on the work of Jack Delano. Part One is here.

An offhand comment Roy Stryker made to Jack Delano changed his life. Mr. Stryker had called Mr. Delano in November 1941 to suggest that he go to the Virgin Islands to document a Farm Security Administration project.

“And while you’re there,” Mr. Stryker added, “you might want to stop by for a few days in Puerto Rico.”

He agreed, and cut short his current assignment in Georgia. Then he dashed off to find an atlas to figure out exactly where he was headed. A few days turned into more than three months – thanks to the United States’ declaring war after the Pearl Harbor bombing – as Mr. Delano, later joined by his wife, Irene, crisscrossed the island. They were so captivated that they managed to return in 1946 – on a Guggenheim fellowship that turned into a permanent move.

Today, Mr. Delano’s vast archive of Puerto Rican images – augmented by a series he did in the 1980s where he revisited some of the same villages, valleys and people he first encountered in the 1940s – is both his masterwork and valentine to his adopted island home. They depict poverty and progress, back-breaking labor and lush landscapes, urban sprawl and modern materialism.

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“I was fascinated and disturbed by so much of what I saw,” he wrote of his first trip to the island in his memoir, “Photographic Memories,” which the Smithsonian published shortly before his death in 1997. “I had seen plenty of poverty in my travels in the Deep South, but never anything like this.”

But true to his guiding principle — respect for the thing in front of the camera, as Paul Strand had declared — he saw deeper.

“Yet people everywhere were cordial, hospitable, generous, kind and full of dignity and a sparkling sense of humor,” he noted. “Wherever we went, no matter how dire the poverty, we were welcomed into people’s homes and offered coffee.”

Consider this: When a thunderstorm forced them to seek shelter one day, an impoverished woman welcomed Jack and Irene into her ramshackle home, where the rain fell through holes in the roof. As Irene handed out chocolates to the excited children, the woman explained how her husband had hurt his back and could no longer work the cane fields. She did laundry for her neighbors, and coaxed an egg from a hen when she could.

“Don’t worry, Señora,” he recounted in his book. “We take care of ourselves.”

When the storm let up, the Delanos, stunned by what they had seen, left. One of the children called out after them and put a brown paper bag in Irene’s lap.

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“What’s in it?” Jack asked after they had ridden in silence for a while. “She looked inside and said, ‘Two eggs.’ ”

Mr. Delano’s work is perhaps a lifetime’s repayment of that woman’s generosity. When he and his wife returned in 1946, he joined the island’s Department of Information, which had modeled itself after the Farm Security Administration. He traveled the island, photographing schools, religious festivals, fairs, hospitals and railroads.

The group included two of his friends from the administration, Edwin and Louise Rosskam, who joined him in a later venture when they were persuaded by the future governor, Luis Muñoz Marin, to establish an agency that would use film and graphics to improve education in rural areas.

That decision led to Mr. Delano’s gradual movement away from photography, as he went into making documentary films, then to work at a newly established educational television station. He would later go on to rediscover his first love, music, as a composer, too.

But in the late 1970s, as a new generation discovered the Farm Security Administration photos, he had the idea to revisit his early work on the island. Several grants underwrote the cost, as the Delanos returned to the scenes of their youthful adventures. They found an island – and people – that had been transformed, and not always for the better. At the same time, they were able to discern the fundamental spirit that had so moved them decades earlier.

Among the 200 images in the resulting exhibition — later published in “Puerto Rico Mio” by the Smithsonian – was one of a funeral, taken in 1946 in Fajardo. A man walks down the street toting an infant’s coffin on his shoulder, a handful of people behind him. A visitor to the show wrote in the guest book: “Mr. Delano – Thank you for making it possible for me to witness the funeral of my little sister, who died before I was born.”

A son, Pablo Delano, himself a photographer, sees no coincidence in the fact that his father had no idea where he was heading in 1941.

“It was totally serendipitous,” he said. “It changed a lot of lives, and produced this whole body of work.”

Even in his final years, Pablo Delano said, his father was always willing to share his insights. Jack Delano’s phone number was listed, and people would call, asking him to come and talk at a school.

“He went to what I think were extreme lengths for somebody of his age and physical condition,” Pablo Delano  said. “But if some sixth-grade teacher called and said, ‘Mr. Delano, we’re learning about Puerto Rico in the 1940s and wondered if you could come to speak to the kids,’ he would get into his Honda Civic and drive out there. And his driving was terrible, like Mr. Magoo. He’d drive to a mountain town, find the school, hobble in and talk to the kids.”

Respect for the thing in front of the camera. And when he died, his adopted land repaid that respect.

“The flag of Puerto Rico was draped on his coffin,” Pablo Delano said. “We still have that flag. It’s a very meaningful thing to us.”

For the original report go to http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/21/a-masterwork-spanning-40-years-and-one-island/

Posted by: lisaparavisini | September 5, 2014

Sir Hilary Beckles to serve as UWI’s next Vice-Chancellor

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The University of the West Indies announced yesterday that Sir Hilary Beckles will be appointed as the next Vice-Chancellor with effect from May 1, 2015, Trinidad’s Express reports.

The Chair of the Search Committee Dr Marshall Hall noted that the advertisement for the post attracted in excess of 50 applicants from all over the world and the search committee eventually came up with an initial short-list of seven which was eventually whittled down to three candidates who were invited to be interviewed.

It is understood that UWI, St Augustine principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor Clement Sankat was interviewed. Sankat is currently in Samoa attending a conference.

Both Sankat and Beckles were Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal of their respective campuses. Sankat at St Augustine and Beckles at Cave Hill. They both applied for the Vice-Chancellor position. What has happened now is that Beckles has moved up to the higher position of Vice-Chancellor to replace Nigel Harris who leaves office in April 2015, a source explained last night.

As a result of the interview and subsequent discussions, the committee arrived at a consensus on Sir Hilary as the preferred candidate.

The council expressed its gratitude to Dr Hall and the committee for the efficient and expeditious manner in which their work was carried out.

Chancellor Sir George Alleyne in congratulating Sir Hilary noted that he would be the seventh Vice-Chancellor.

He would bring to the position impeccable academic credentials, impressive managerial skills and the gravitas that such an office required. He was confident that Sir Hilary would have the confidence and support of the university’s many and diverse stakeholders.

Sir Hilary Beckles, vice-chancellor-designate is well known regionally and extra-regionally and as principal of the Cave Hill Campus, is currently the longest serving campus principal.

He has a distinguished record of achievement and service as a university administrator, economic historian and specialist in higher education and development thinking and practice.

At the international level, he currently serves as a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Science Advisory Board on Sustainable Development, chairman of the Caribbean Reparations Commission, vice-president of the International Task Force for the UNESCO Slave Route, and adviser to the UN World Culture Report inter alia.

For the original report go to http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Sir-Hilary-Beckles-to-serve-as-UWIs-next-Vice-Chancellor–274183191.html

Posted by: lisaparavisini | September 5, 2014

Luis Cruz Azaceta: First Major book on Cuban-American Artist

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LUIS CRUZ AZACETA

By Alejandro Anreus

Foreword by Chon A. Noriega

University of Minnesota Press

The first book on the extensively exhibited and widely collected Cuban American artist’s life and creations, Luis Cruz Azaceta traces the artist’s career and explores the themes that are the focus of his singular art. Alejandro Anreus discusses how the Cuban diaspora, above all, has shaped Cruz Azaceta and how the experience of exile has found expression through starkly forceful self-portraiture.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alejandro Anreus is professor of art history and Latin American and Latino studies at William Paterson University in New Jersey. He is the author of Orozco in Gringoland and coeditor and contributor to Ben Shahn and the Passion of Sacco and VanzettiThe Social and the Real; and Mexican Muralism: A Critical History. His articles and essays have appeared in Art JournalAztlán: A Journal of Chicano StudiesCommonwealEncuentro de la Cultura Cubana, and Third Text.

Chon A. Noriega is professor of film, television, and digital media and director of the Chicano Studies Research Center at UCLA.

For more information, including the table of contents, visit the book’s webpage:

http://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/luis-cruz-azaceta

http://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/series/a-ver

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caribBEING presents Flatbush Takeover III in collaboration with Sesame Flyers and Thenublk. This event will be held on September 6 and 13, 2014, from 4:00pm until “late” on the steps of Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church, located at Flatbush and Church Avenues in Brooklyn, New York.

This outdoor event includes features public art, performances, and screenings of Masquerade, a film about carnival in Trinidad by independent filmmaker Dalton Narine and the classic independent Jamaican film Rockers (1978) by Theodoros Bafaloukos.

With this event and others, caribBEING’s aim is to bridge the arts, entertainment and cultural gap by presenting culturally relevant and contextual programming in Central Brooklyn, with an emphasis on Flatbush. As Founder and Executive Director Shelley V. Worrell states, “The underrepresentation of Caribbean film in New York, prompts caribBEING’s Flatbush Film Festival to support the growth of Caribbean cinema by creating a platform and audience for deserving Caribbean filmmakers.”

caribBEING is a Brooklyn based non-profit whose mission is to build community through the lens of Caribbean art, film and culture, with a special focus on programming and events that reflect the diversity and creativity of the Caribbean Diaspora in, and around, the New York metro area.

[Photo above (Rockers), from http://www.cinefamily.org/films/jamaican-noir-the-cinema-of-dread/ (this site offers critiques and descriptions of many Jamaican films)]

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The Institute of Caribbean Studies of the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras (UPR-RP), invites the academic community and the general public to the presentation of the most recent issue of the academic journal Sargasso: “Global Cuba/Cuba Global:  Perspectives from the Twenty-first Century,” by Dr. Vivian Martínez Tabares (Casa Las Américas, Havana, Cuba), Dr. Don E. Walicek (English Department, General Studies, UPR-RP), Dr. Katherine Miranda, and Dr. Lowell Fiet (Program in Interdisciplinary Studies and Department of English, Humanities, UPR-RP). The activity will be held on Tuesday, September 9, from 6:00 to 8:00pm at the Manuel Maldonado Denis Amphitheatre (CRA 108) of the Carmen Rivera de Alvarado Building, School of Social Sciences, UPR-RP.

This lecture will be broadcast LIVE online through the following website: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/cc71

Comments and suggestions on this presentation will be welcome at: iec@uprrp.edu

For further information, you may call Dr. Humberto García Muñiz, Director, at (787) 764-0000, extension 4212, or write to iec@uprrp.edu

See the Institute of Caribbean Studies on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#%21/pages/Instituto-de-Estudios-del-Caribe-UPR/146169468754542?ref=sgm\

Posted by: ivetteromero | September 4, 2014

Art Exhibition: Jason Mena’s “Crossings”

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Following his recent exhibition, “Paisajes ideológicos” [Ideological Landscapes], which opened at the Dominican Republic’s Museum of Modern Art on September 2, 2014, Puerto Rican artist Jason Mena now presents “Crossings.” This show opens on September 5, 7:30pm, at Casa Italia in Santo Domingo. This event is part of the PHOTOIMAGEN photography festival.

Every September the Dominican Republic celebrates photography month with a photography festival as an initiative of the Imagen 83 Foundation, Inc [Fundación Imagen 83] with the support of several private and public institutions. This major event is called PHOTOIMAGEN; it aims to encourage the advancement of contemporary photography and establish exchanges with international artists. This event’s general director is Mayra Johnson and its artistic director is Carlos Acero Ruiz.

For more information (in Spanish), see http://centrodelaimagen.org/centrodelaimagen/paisajes-ideologicos-jason-mena/

Posted by: ivetteromero | September 4, 2014

Guyana has the highest suicide rate in the Caribbean

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The World Health Organization (WHO) said Guyana has by far the highest suicide rate among countries in the Caribbean. It has also been listed in the top 10 most suicidal countries. So far this year more than 30 people have committed suicide, while several others are recovering from failed attempts. Now, the Indian Arrival Committee (IAC) said it will stage a walk on September 14 to highlight the issue and was urging all nationals, religious and non-government organizations to support the initiative “to heighten awareness about the need to prevent suicide.”

The Guyana government says it has developed a “strategic partnership” with the Indian Arrival Committee (IAC) to heighten awareness on the need to prevent suicides in the country. It said that Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsaran met with the IAC who presented their organisation’s initiative and explored the possibility of a meaningful collaboration.

Dr. Ramsaran said that that the Ministry of Health has been involved in several plans aimed at curbing suicides, including the training of persons.

[. . .] The IAC in the past had demonstrated its willingness to lead and support any intervention regarding this issue and based on the magnitude of incidents, called for suicide to be declared a national priority. Further, the organisation pointed out that due to the high rate of suicide, a major international news network visited Guyana and produced a story highlighting this distressing trend.

For full article, see http://www.caribbean360.com/news/guyana-has-by-far-the-highest-suicide-rate-in-the-caribbean-who#ixzz3CPTrmrO1

Posted by: ivetteromero | September 4, 2014

Dutch Coast Guard suspends Curacao and Bonaire patrols over violence

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The union representing Coast Guard personnel (NAPB) has reported that the Dutch Coast Guard in the Caribbean part of the kingdom of the Netherlands no longer patrols the territorial waters around Bonaire and Curacao. This is the result of increasing violence against Coast Guard personnel.

According to a spokesman for the Coast Guard, personnel still perform rescue operations. The coast is still being monitored, but from the air from the Hato support center at the Curacao Airport. Curacao is a popular island for drug transit. According to the NAPB, members are regularly intimidated. In a statement, the NAPB said that neither the government nor the Coast Guard itself can guarantee the safety of its members. A statement from the military police said that they are investigating the abuse in Curacao.

Meanwhile, a working group will present a proposal on how to deal with the security of the Coast Guard personnel in Curacao, according to the minister of justice, Nelson Navarro. The working group, consisting of a representative of the unions NAPB and ABVO, will examine this issue this week and will submit their findings and proposal to the minister.

For full article, see http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/headline-Dutch-Coast-Guard-suspends-Curacao-and-Bonaire-patrols-over-violence-22638.html and http://www.nltimes.nl/2014/09/02/coast-guard-suspends-curacao-patrols-violence/

Posted by: lisaparavisini | September 4, 2014

A Treat for the Hudson Valley: Etienne Charles plays the Falcon

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Artists like the trumpeter, composer and bandleader Etienne Charles (not that there are many artists like Etienne Charles) give hope to the future of jazz, John Burdick reports in this article for The Hudson Valley Almanac.

Charles is both a true international fusionist and a true heir to and torchbearer of the cerebral and interpretive challenges of jazz. His fourth release as leader, 2013’s Creole on his own Culture Shock imprint, is brilliant in its conception and a tour de force in its execution. It is also irresistibly groovy.

The Trinidad native’s fusion of various Caribbean rhythms and the harmonic sophistication of jazz is seamless and natural. Charles is also quite a modest session leader, often seeming to privilege the gales of hot blowing by the astonishing saxophonists Jacques Schwartz-Bart (tenor) and Brian Hogans (alto) over his own exquisite, hyperarticulate horn-playing.

The Juilliard graduate, still in his 20s, teaches jazz at Michigan State University, and while Creole certainly can be read as a dissertation on the global pathways of musical evolution and the multiple streams that meet in jazz, there is nothing remotely academic about the experience of the listening to it. It’s a brisk session featuring condensed forms, short and lyrical solos, deep grooves and rich textures, many of which come from the secret-weapon piano and electric piano work of Kris Bowers.

How fortunate are we to live near the Falcon, a veritable nightly showcase of the living legends of jazz and its future? I’ll answer for you: very.

Etienne Charles, Friday, September 5, 7 p.m., optional donation, the Falcon, 1348 Route 9W, Marlboro; www.liveatthefalcon.com.

For the original report go to http://www.hudsonvalleyalmanacweekly.com/2014/09/04/etienne-charles-plays-the-falcon/

Posted by: lisaparavisini | September 4, 2014

tiff 2014: Looking good at the Film Festival

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“Looking good” is the theme/tagline for the ninth edition of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (TTFF), which will take place from September 16-30 at venues around the nation, Nigel Telesford reports in Trinidad’s Express.

The official launch/news conference for this year’s festival was held at the Hyatt Regency yesterday morning and there, its organisers revealed that the catchy theme is also a concise indicator of the festival’s progress and evolution to date.

Speaking at the launch, director of Public Relations for the annual festival, Magella Moreau and programme director, Anabelle Alcazar shared the finer details of this year’s instalment with the media, several specially invited guests and representatives of the festival’s corporate partners.

Among the varied line up of feature, short and medium-length, as well as narrative documentary and experimental films, Pan! Our Music Odyssey has been selected to open the festival at the recently renovated Globe Cinema on September 16 from 6.30 p.m.

However, speaking to the Express following the launch, veteran journalist and writer of the pan odyssey, Dr Kim Johnson admitted that the film defies all such categories. He said:

“We were originally aiming for it to be what they now call a docu-drama, but so much changed along the way and we had to rewrite so much of it that it doesn’t really fit into any of those categories. We want to stress to viewers that it’s not a film about the history or the evolution of the steelpan — so that means it’s definitely not a proper documentary, but rather a fictional story built around a particular moment in time and a particular evolution of the instrument.”

Noteworthy additions to the festival include: a youth jury (five persons between the ages of 16-21) to adjudicate the bpTT youth jury prize for best film and an Amnesty International Human Rights prize for the Caribbean feature film that best highlights a human rights issue. Over TT$100,000 worth of awards will be won and a number of workshops, panel discussions, seminars and networking opportunities are scheduled throughout the two-week festival period.

It should also be noted that a number of the industry initiatives taking place at this year’s festival are in anticipation of the tenth edition in 2015, when the organisers intend to launch the Caribbean Film Mart and Regional Film Database. The TTFF screens more Caribbean film from more Caribbean countries than any other film festival and also screens films curated from contemporary world cinema, in addition to films from and about Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean and its diaspora.

For the original report go to http://www.trinidadexpress.com/featured-news/Looking-good-at-the-Film-Festival-274033161.html

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