“How could he say that?!”: many would cry out! “We have a flag. An anthem. A coat of arms. Some watchwords…” Yes, this is true… But by now we all secretly know that a flag, anthem, coat of arms, and watchwords do not a nation make. We are increasingly aware of how little those do to hold a People together… “Yes”, someone else says, “but we have all these Festivals, these foods, these heroes and victories, all these hundreds of geniuses who have struggled and strived for ideals clustered around a sense of a place, and an idea called Trinidad & Tobago! Surely those things make us a nation!” Yes- possibly… But point me to any of those things now. Right now. At this moment. In your community? In your home? In any of your villages? In any of your major towns? In the nation’s capital?… Where is this Nation full of wonder that you speak of? Where is your evidence?!…
Is T&T then a nation that exists only in people’s memories? Okay. A virtual nation could be a modern phenomenon! But then, what of those without any memory of those thousands of sequins of history of which you speak- the 95% who have no iota of clue about this Band of the Year national legacy of wonder? Are they- like Donald Trump’s immigrants- to be excommunicated, tagged, and deported? Thrown out of de band? Where then is this nation of which you speak?…
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Place: Communications Workers Hall, Henry Street, Port of Spain
Date: Tuesday 20th March 2016
Conveners: ACTT & FITUN
Present: Joseph Remy President FITUN; Rubadiri Victor President ACTT; Alette Williams National Dance Association/ACTT member; Ashton Cunningham Fire Services/FITUN member
The Artists’ Coalition is calling on the Honourable Prime Minister and the government of Trinidad and Tobago to utilise Culture and the Creative Industries: as the arrowhead industries to lead the Diversification thrust of the nation; as an instrument to deal with crime; and as the force to cushion the blow of the recession for working class communities in the next 3 years,
- The Creative Industries are the second largest industries on planet Earth with earnings of $2.2 Trillion annually recorded since 2001 with a then growth rate of 5% (Hopkins 2001).
- The UK just released their Creative Industry data for 2015 and recorded that they were now earning £230.4 million (TT $2.3 billion) a day (!) from that industry.
- That industry’s growth rate of over 8% is many a percentage point over their traditional industries like energy and manufacturing.
- ACTT believes that the local Creative Sector could raise its annual foreign exchange contributions to the economy from its current plateau of $1.5 billion to over $6 billion+ in 5 short years.
The Minister of Finance has said that the current recession will last until 2019. ACTT has crafted a 3 year plan to grow the local Creative Sector geometrically whilst mapping the entire process. ACTT sees the initiative rolling-out alongside a Buy Local/Economic Patriotism initiative it will be partnering with other stakeholders on. The Creative Industry initiatives are critical because the country has invested billions in subsidising Arts education through GATE and the Academy of the Performing Arts- and is now losing its best graduates to Brain Drain because it has invested nothing in facilitating an Industry to receive these graduates. Read the rest of this entry
Place: North Stand, Queen’s Park Savannah.
Time: Panorama Semis 2016.
Despers were by far the best playing big band on the day. They did the Hill proud in a dark time. It was a finals type performance in sophistication and intensity. Mesmeric on a night when the small and medium size bands on the whole played better than the big bands who were mostly formulaic and dull. The band that for me sounded better than the rest- Angel Harps- did not even make it into the finals. That massive distance between myself and the culture judges and between our culture judges and the artistic truth seems to be widening….
Just some quick notes: The magical sight of Despers in the desolate Grey Friars lot on Frederick Street is a revelation that all Trinbagonians should witness. There is something RIGHT about it. You will feel a shock of recognition, and let me tell you what it is. Despers on Frederick Street represents one of the only representations of the ‘Indigenous’ on our main street in our capital city! And it feels good. Despers’ presence shows up just how much WE are not present in our public spaces and how much foreign content rules our imagination, civic life, and the things we consume. Despers in Grey Friars shows up how much we have alienated our phenomenal Legacy from the main stream of our life and how much we are ‘not about our Father’s business. It also intimates to me a vision of the power of the Creative Sector’s plan for the Grey Friar’s site. It is a vision we will have to battle the current owner who destroyed the Heritage buildings there for. The plans for the Grey Friar’s site is to have 2 buildings mirroring the Church and the Hall that were originally on the property. One building is going to be called ‘The Word’ and the other building ‘The Guild’.
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David Bowie- legendary musician, transgressor, actor, and barrier-breaking performance artist is dead… Musician Gao Xiasong wrote “Time is cruel. One after the other the heroes of my youth disappear.” Truer words were never spoken… News of Bowie’s death shocked me, not only because, “Bowie always seemed like the kind of person that was just always around.” But because Bowie felt not just ‘part of’ but ‘integral’ to my youth. Personally, I will unashamedly say as an artist he is an indispensable part of my Voice.
As a stylist Bowie is said to be one of the most influential figures in pop culture. Ever. Bowie broke the mold, becoming a new kind of artist who used pop music to platform a new type of performance art which exercised a new type of influence on mainstream Western culture. When he appeared in the 1970s there was no precedent for him in pop culture- although in a way he was a natural urban evolution after 60s psychedelia and lifestyle experimentation. He channelled all manner of underground cultures and synthesised them into his stage shows which were held together by mythologies he created around personas he invented around himself. Each album was another chapter in an evolving story involving his mutating characters. Read the rest of this entry
As we close in on the last pages of the final chapter of this country’s Golden Age generation, with still everything left to do in terms of even STARTING a Nation- another exclamation mark falls off the page… I’ve been churning to stammer yet another acknowledgement of yet another death of yet another burning Genius when another Genius psalmed the praise song before me, better than I could ever utter it: Roger Bonair-Agard–our national Poet Laureate in Exile–on the profound Genius of Jit Samaroo.