Detail of Miler Lagos's "The Great Tree," made of newsprint and steel, at SITE Santa Fe

Detail of Miler Lagos’s “The Great Tree,” made of newsprint and steel, at SITE Santa Fe

This review by Sarah P. Hanson appeared in Blouin Art Info.

Those paying attention to the international biennial circuit for the past few years will have taken note of the absence of one in Santa Fe, where one of the first in North America was founded in 1995 at the kunsthalle known as SITE Santa Fe. Since arriving from the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore as SITE’s Phillips director and chief curator in 2010, Irene Hofmann has set out to reform the increasingly stale and predictable biennial format with a team of a dozen curators and advisors hailing from the Yukon to Argentina.

The new exhibition series “SITElines” is an ambitious reimagining that aims to crack open the rich field of contemporary art loosely inspired by the geography — physical, political, and social — of the Americas. The first installment, “Unsettled Landscapes,” opens to the public on July 20 and is on view through January 11. Curated by the Mexico City-based Lucia Sanromán; Candice Hopkins, of Albuquerque; and SITE’s own Janet Dees and Hofmann, the 60-some works represent an array of approaches as wide as the 33,000-mile territory.

One of the largest works in the show is “The Great Tree,” 2014, a 14-foot-tall sculpture carved from four tons of stacked newspapers by the Colombian-born Miler Lagos. Noting that the ceiba tree is considered mystical by several native cultures in Latin and South America, he said, “I liked the idea of how people in the Amazon would ask for permission to approach the tree and gain its knowledge. I wanted to connect print media with the material that supports its information.” The ceiba also appears in a piece by Johanna Calle, “Perímetros (Ceiba),” a new typewriter drawing on property ledger sheets that employs text of a 2011 agrarian reform law that attempts to restitute land to victims of displacement.

Ideas of mapping and bearing witness also come to the fore in works by Marcos Ramírez Erre and David Taylor, who are planting markers along the Mexico-US border as defined in 1821, the year the country gained independence from Spain, and in a video piece by Andrea Bowers, “The United States vs. Tim DeChristopher,” 2010. In the latter, the environmental activist explains how he was tried and imprisoned for buying public land in Utah put up for oil and gas rights in an auction he never intended to pay for, and the artist presents the parcels on which he bid.

Natural resources are at issue in Inigo Manglano-Ovalle’s “Well 35° 58’ 16”N 106° 5’ 21”W,” 2014, which plants a pump on the Santa Clara Pueblo and raises thorny questions of water rights in the desert. Luis Camnitzer’s “Amanaplanacanalpanama,” 1995, documents the US’s tangled involvement in building the Panama Canal.

Barbed humor enters with the Canadian First Nations artist Kent Monkman’s “Bête Noire,” 2014, a natural-history style diorama featuring his drag alter ego, Miss Chief, who slays Picasso’s bull with a pink arrow from her own loyal steed: an Indian motorcycle. Another Canadian artist, Charles Stankievech, offers the eerie and riveting film “The Soniferous Aether of the Land Beyond the Land Beyond,” 2012, made at Alert Signals Intelligence Station, the northernmost continuously habited settlement on earth. It has a correspondence with post-apocalyptically tinged photographs by Patrick Nagatani, addressing the environmental impact of New Mexico’s energy industry.

Some of the Caribbean artists in the show seek to upend facile assumptions of island paradise by exposing the effects of colonization and tourism. Deborah Jack’s “Bounty,” 2006, a grid of 30 light boxes showing slides of St. Maarten’s Great Salt Pond, the reason the island was colonized by the Dutch. Blue Curry’s “S.S.s,” 2014, erects a live video feed of the Nassau port, where as many as six hulking cruise ships dock each day, disgorging tourists before whisking them away. “I always saw the continued change in the port as a kind of sculpture,” Curry said. “Here, I am appropriating the ships and changing the port into an installation.” Special flags made of beach towels — as Curry noted, a “tool of conquest” in their own right — will be run up outside SITE to announce each ship’s arrival in a reprisal of former island custom. “Tourism limits a local culture from developing because we’re always performing,” he added — a parallel to Santa Fe’s own adobe-fied landscape.

To view highlights from the SITE Santa Fe Biennial, click here.

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | July 20, 2014

Ziggy Marley and band uphold father’s reggae legacy


This article by Richard Change appeared in The Orange County Register.

How much is he his own man Ziggy, and how much is he the eldest and best-known son of the most famous reggae singer in modern music history?
Ziggy Marley didn’t really answer that question Saturday night, but he did please a welcoming crowd at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa.
How can you not please a Southern California, surf, skate, stoner and rasta-wannabe congregation, especially when the possibilities for a contact high (or direct hit) are so plentiful? Also, at least half of this audience grew up on legendary father Bob Marley’s music.
Ziggy is on his tour with former Melody Makers and some new musicians to promote his latest album, “Fly Rasta,” released in April. It’s a strong album, one of his best since “Conscious Party” in 1988 or “One Bright Day” in 1989.
He brought backup singers Tracy Hazzard and Chantelle Ernandez with him. They are solid vocalists and dancers, and a great complement to the dreadlocked lead singer.
Ziggy’s nine-member touring band also includes two percussionists, two keyboardists, a bassist and two guitarists. One of the axe men, Takeshi Akimoto, did a fine job on his instrument and surprised more than one person in the audience, who maybe didn’t expect a Japanese dude to be jammin’ onstage with such a well-conditioned, well-oiled reggae outfit.
Marley and his band opened with “Love is My Religion,” a hit from 2006. It was a crowd pleaser, especially among the couples in the audience.
Ziggy then performed “Wild and Free,” which includes the lyrics, “I see marijuana trees blowing in our breeze.” Many in the audience happily complied and puffed their own breezes, and no one got kicked out by security, unlike the bad old days. (See the Doors of the 21st Century, Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger’s old band, Pac Amp, July 2003. Expulsions aplenty.)
Ziggy and bandmates did “Conscious Party” from the 1988 album of the same name. It’s still a cool and lyrically relevant song, and Ziggy’s sisters pulled off dexterous dance moves during the instrumental interludes.
The band then played “I Don’t Want to Live on Mars” from the new album. The song features some prime, rockin’ guitar chords and also fun lyrics: “I don’t want to drive space cars/ I only want to be with you … Even if the world went boom.”
Ziggy altered the mood and sang “So Much Trouble in the World,” which was something of a plaintive mood-shifter. But he followed with “I Get Up,” which features the simple, upbeat refrain: “I get up, I get up/ every day … So smile with the sunrise/ There’s a lot of life to live.”
“Moving Forward,” also from the new album, was a positive motivator as well.
The band then ventured into holy father territory with “Lively Up Yourself,” a Bob Marley song. As he closely resembled and nearly embodied his dad onstage, it became pretty evident that Ziggy Marley is the rightful heir to the reggae master’s throne. In fact, over the years he has proven himself, met and exceeded expectations, even surpassing his father in number of chart hits and age – Ziggy is 45; his father died at 36.
Ziggy sang “True to Myself” and “Tomorrow People,” his first huge hit which got the crowd dancing. “Give it Away” was a touching and unexpectedly deep commentary about love: “Only if we give it away/ Can love be love.”
Then Ziggy and the band shifted into extremely familiar territory, performing “One Love,” a Bob Marley classic. Next was “Look Who’s Dancing” from 1989, which, honestly, sounds just like “Tomorrow People,” only with a faster beat.

“Shalom, Salaam” was an insightful song that was topical and resonant: “Gaza cries all the tears from her eyes/ Will there be no peace for the children of Palestine?” Ziggy isn’t afraid to get political at times, particularly with his calls for revolution.

But then, tunes like “On a Beach in Hawaii” are pretty apolitical and satisfy the feel-good party types.
Ziggy did another Bob cover with “Iron Lion Zion,” which reflects Rastafarian beliefs and has a mantra-like, repetitive chorus. He closed with “Fly Rasta,” the title track from the new album. As the band was jamming and winding things down, Ziggy’s young kids came out onstage to play instruments. It was a cute sight.
Did Ziggy hold a candle to his father Bob? Sure. But it’s also hard to compete with an icon, someone who’s been idolized since his death 33 years ago. Plus, the use of some pre-recorded vocals in the final song wasn’t that impressive.
Overall, though, Ziggy and his band delivered. The Marley legacy is alive and well.
The concert – which also included L.A.-based opening act The Expanders – was over by 10:07 p.m., a little early for the weekend live music world. But it was a perfect time to unleash the bleary eyed, munchie-hungry masses upon the OC Fair with its wild and greasy culinary concoctions.

For the original report go to


Victor Estrella Burgos was all smiles on Saturday, despite a thrilling 7-6(2), 6-7(5), 7-6(5) marathon loss to Bernard Tomic in the Claro Open Colombia semi-finals, APT World TOur reports.

The first player from the Dominican Republic to crack the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, Estrella showed his appreciation after being voted the favourite player among media members for his charisma and effort.

Get To Know Victor: 10 Questions

Following his usual post-match press conference, Estrella took a group picture with the media and invited press officer Carolina Perez to join him for a Bachata session – a popular Dominican dance style.

At age 33, Estrella enjoyed a career week in Bogota, advancing to his first ATP World Tour semi-final after stunning top seed and World No. 13 Richard Gasquet.

For the original report go to


Mestre Cupijó 

Siriá (Analog Africa, 2014)

This article by A. Romero appeared in World Music Central.

From Brazil’s Amazon region comes Mestre Cupijó e seu titmo. The compilation Siriá contains material from the band’s six albums.
 Siriá’s title was taken from a musical genre called Siriá, a hybrid mix of Afro-Brazilian, indigenous and dance music influences such as cumbia from Colombia and mambo and merengue from the Spanish-speaking Caribbean.

Siriá showcases a fiery brass-fueled tropical form of dance music. Mestre Cupijó was born in 1936, into a family of musicians. Although he initially played waltz, bolero, cha cha cha and other types of dance hall music, he embraced Carimbó and Siriá, the musical genres played by the black communities of Pará. Mestre Cupijó researched the roots of this Amazonian music and later founded the band Jazz Orquestra os Azes do Ritmo. His intention was to reinvent Siriá and modernizing Samba de Cacete, Banguê and other traditional music of the state of Pará.

Mestre Cupijó mixed Amazonian music with sounds coming from Colombia, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The first two albums were recorded with basic equipment in a dance club in Cametá. The third LP, recorded in a studio in Belém, became a remarkable success. In total, Mestre Cupijó released six LPs.

Siriá is packaged an 8-panel digipak with detailed liner notes.

Buy Siriá

For the original report go to

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 20, 2014

The Most Beautiful Nudist Beaches in the Caribbean


We’ve posted several times on the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, the most culturally-interesting, islands off the beaten track, the best islands for weddings, or the most ecofriendly, but I couldn’t resist this Virgin Atlantic blog post—on the most beautiful nudist beaches in the Caribbean—mostly because of the spectacular photos.


The article highlights Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba; Grande Saline, St. Barths; Hawksbill Bay, Antigua; Booby Cay, Jamaica (photo immediately above); Orient Bay, St. Martin Island (see photo below); and Seven Mile Beach, Jamaica.


For full article and photos, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 20, 2014

Culturama 40 in Nevis


The island of Nevis (of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis) will host its 40th annual Culturama Festival, dubbed Culturama 40 this year, from July 24 to August 5, 2014.

Celebrated over a period including the Emancipation Day weekend, Culturama showcases Nevis’ historic and cultural life. With music, art, food, fashion and local talent on display at multiple venues across the island, Culturama is a unique opportunity to appreciate the traditional customs and modern-day culture of the island known as the “Queen of the Caribees.”

The many events feature sports, (aquatic sports, cricket, drag racing, track meets, horse races), boat rides, music concerts, arts, beauty pageants, and assorted cultural productions, including several Kaiso Contests, Musical Cornucopia, Poets in the Square, Department of Agriculture Fruit Festival, C40 Anniversary Ball, Culturama 40 King of De Jungle Band Clash, Culturama 40 Emancipation J’ouvert Jump Up, and the Culturama 40 Cultural Street Parade and Last Lap.

For full schedule, see

Also see, and

See Facebook page


Lexington Books

Edited by Valérie Orlando and Sandra Cypess
Cover design or artwork by Joseph Cantave
Contributions by Krista Slagle; Elizabeth Russ; Camilla Stevens; Véronique Maisier; Aude Dieudé; Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert; Cécile Accilien and Anne M. François

This volume brings together scholars working in different languages—Creole, French, English, Spanish—and modes of cultural production—literature, art, film, music—to suggest how best to model courses that impart the rich, vibrant, and multivalent aspects of the Caribbean in the classroom. Essays focus on discussing how best to cross languages, histories, and modes of discourse. Instead of relying on available paradigms that depend on Western ways of thinking, the essays recommend methods to develop a pan-Caribbean perspective in relation to notions of the self, uses of language, gender hierarchies, and ideas of nationhood. Contributors represent various disciplines, work in one of the several languages of the Caribbean, and offer essays that reflect different cadres of expertise.


The 2015 Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize will be awarded to an emerging writer of poetry. The submission deadline is September 30, 2014 at 6:00pm. To be eligible for entry, a writer must: be of Caribbean birth or citizenship, living and working in the Anglophone Caribbean and writing in English; be over the age of 18 by 30 September, 2014; have had at least four poems published in magazines, journals, anthologies, or websites with editorial oversight; and not have previously published a full-length collection of poems with a commercial publishing house (a previous self-published collection does not affect eligibility).

The Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize is an annual award which allows an emerging Caribbean writer living and working in the Anglophone Caribbean to devote time to advancing or finishing a literary work, with support from an established writer as mentor. It is sponsored by the Hollick Family Charitable Trust and jointly administered by the non-profit organisation the Bocas Lit Fest and the creative writing charity Arvon.

Download the prize guidelines and entry form here.

For more information about the prize, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 19, 2014

Keiran King: ‘The Gay Agenda’ Is a Cheap Scare Tactic


Journalist Keiran King comments on how homophobia is now part of Jamaica’s “global brand.” Referencing the recent Slate article, “Don’t Blame Yesterday’s Colonialism for Today’s Homophobia,” King writes about how the country has joined the ranks of the worst offenders of human rights and highlights religion as one of the factors contributing to ongoing prejudice. Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below:

Religions are natural hosts for the virus of discrimination, since by definition they divide people into two camps—believer and non-believer, disciple and heathen, the chosen and the damned. Inevitably, whoever has the power gets to decide who’s good and who’s evil. In Jamaica, that’s the fundamentalist Christian churches, subsidised and guided by their American counterparts. These hard-line denominations [. . .] focus on baptism, an individual relationship with God, the infallibility of the Bible—and the sin of homosexuality.

Seen in that context, the deleterious climate for gay rights is hardly surprising. More unexpected is that the perpetrators of prejudice have developed a fetish for cross-dressing as its victims. Mark WignallAlfred Sangster and many others continue to conjure the bogeyman of ‘the gay agenda’ — an imaginary conspiracy of powerful homosexuals lurking in the shadows, bent on unravelling the moral fabric of our wholesome, family-based society with their deviant practices.

Let’s start with the obvious. Heterosexuals control every sphere of influence in Jamaica. The prime minister is a heterosexual. The leader of the Opposition is a heterosexual. The minister of national security is a heterosexual par excellence. So, too, the minister of culture, the minister of finance, the director of public prosecutions, the chief justice, the just-retired commissioner of police, the president of the Chamber of Commerce, the vice-chancellor of the UWIthe general manager of TVJ, the CEO of Digicelthe CEO of GraceKennedythe CEO of Sagicorthe managing director of Wisynco, and whoever else runs our little republic. Okay?

[. . .] What would our beloved capital city look like? Probably a lot like San Francisco — a city of roughly a million souls, with a large natural bay, a 19th-century newspaper, vibrant art and the highest gay population, by percentage, of any American city (an admirable 15 per cent). Sadly for evangelicals, though, San Francisco also has the fastest-growing economy in the US, is a global centre of innovationfinance and technology, and would be as rich as Sweden if it were listed as a country. To top it off, it recovered from the global recession faster than anywhere else. If that’s hell on earth, I’d like to fit my horns and pitchfork now, please.

But maybe you think no amount of material wealth can offset the immorality of homosexuality. Fine, let’s trade a large-scale experiment for a small-scale one. What if we took a regular God-fearing Jamaican, some Mr Williams or Mr Brown, and gave him a gay child? Would the reality of knowing and loving the person cause a more balanced outlook? Let’s raise the stakes and make it a clergyman. Better yet, from the most pious town in Jamaica. How about then? No need for sorcery. Here’s Pastor Browne from Mandeville earlier this week: “My daughter’s sexuality has not changed anything about her; she is still just as ambitious and intelligent and still has the same dreams and hopes as any other young woman. Gay Jamaicans do not want anything but the right to live, work and spend time with their loved ones.”

For full article, see

Also see, and

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 19, 2014

Cuban Refugees Rescued in Honduras

Cuban Refugees 29 June

A group of 33 Cuban refugees has been rescued in Honduras, after a two-week voyage on a rickety raft, according to Sky News and other media outlets. The migrants arrived on Tuesday in the Baja Mar region of Cortes state, some 300 kilometres north of the capital city Tegucigalpa. The Cubans, who were suffering from dehydration, were discovered adrift by a Honduran fishermen, who provided them with food and coconut water.

‘We left our country because of the economic problems there. Wages are low and prices are high,’ said one of the migrants who was quoted in local media. ‘We have been living a nightmare, and now we have reached our goal, which was to get to Honduras.’

According to Sky News (see link below), about 700 people arrived in Honduras from Cuba last year, most of them overland from Nicaragua, and were planning to travel on to the United States, immigration officials said.

As Peter Polack (author of The Last Hot Battle of the Cold War: South Africa vs. Cuba in the Angolan Civil War) indicates, it seems very possible that these refugees may be the group of 34 who left on June 29 from Cayman Islands; they were sent on their way after replenishing water supplies.

The article titled “Second boatload of Cuban migrants in 48 hours ordered off Caymans” (Reuters, 30 June 2014) indicates that local law enforcement in Cayman allowed the migrants to take on drinking water, but no food, before ordering the group to depart immediately or be taken into custody and repatriated to Cuba. Apparently, they were mostly from the cities of Bayamo and Manzanillo in eastern Cuba, and were headed for the coast of Central America.

The article also states that Cubans seeking to flee the communist-run island are frequently headed for Honduras, from where migrants make the long journey overland to reach the U.S. border with Mexico. Under the U.S. so-called “wet foot, dry foot policy,” Cuban migrants who make it onto United States soil are allowed to remain while those intercepted at sea are turned back.

For original articles, see and

[The photo above is from a previous boatload that was turned away from the Cayman Islands; see]

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