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Jamaica Gleaner - - IN­TER­NA­TIONAL NEWS -

A Taste of Art – #sug­abuzzevent, takes place at 1 Bis­cayne Close, Kgn 8, from 5p.m. – 10 p.m.. Tick­ets $500, in­clu­sive of sweet treats, live band mu­sic, fash­ion show and more. Re­fresh­ments on sale.

Abba pre­sents Birth­day Bash, Cook Out, Kids Treat and Party, at Fa­gan Ave, Grants Pen. Mu­sic by Kills Mix.

A Stage Show is at Watch­well Square. Fea­tur­ing Devin Di Dakta, Ja Glory, Ja Rooti, Jah Ma­son, Kiprich, Sim­ple Touch, Jacks In­ter­na­tional and oth­ers. Ad­mis­sion: $600 pre-sold, $800 at the gate.

Kadi pre­sents Big Money Pop­ping at Mount Friend­ship. Mu­sic by DJ Matthew, and San Hype.

Cubanz Uni­ver­sal LinkUp is at New Mar­ket Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, New Mar­ket. Mu­sic by Bass Odyssey, Fire Reds from South Florida, Base Star and Ke­mar Ge­nius. Fea­tur­ing raf­fle prizes of bike and flat-screen TV. grad­u­ates’ par­tic­i­pa­tion in mean­ing­ful eco­nomic en­ter­prise and bro­ker the col­lege’s part­ner­ships with the busi­ness com­mu­nity and opin­ion shapers to in­crease their un­der­stand­ing of the arts and its prac­ti­tion­ers.

That should lead to the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of emerg­ing lead­ers in the arts, the de­vel­op­ment of com­mu­nity cul­tural plans and an in­crease in the power of the arts to in­flu­ence na­tional de­vel­op­ment. So states the po­si­tion pa­per dis­trib­uted at the re­cent launch in the col­lege’s School of Arts Man­age­ment and Hu­man­i­ties.

Univer­sity of the West Indies (UWI) Pro­fes­sor Emerita Mau­reen Warner-Lewis and EM­CVPA School of Drama lec­turer Eu­gene Wil­liams were the in­au­gu­ral guest speak­ers. The for­mer’s topic was The Role and Func­tion of the Arts, while the lat­ter’s was Her­itage and Cre­ativ­ity.

“Art is one of the nat­u­ral ex­pres­sions of hu­man liv­ing; it’s what peo­ple do,” Warner-Lewis said. “From the ear­li­est ev­i­dence of hu­mans’ ex­is­tence on this planet, our species has shown a con­scious­ness to recre­ate scenes of the life forms in the en­vi­ron­ment.”

Ex­am­ples were the draw­ings and paint­ings of an­i­mals on cave walls in Europe. Mov­ing closer to home, she said that “art may es­tab­lish for the cre­ator and per­former a sense of place – in our case, a sense of our Caribbean­ness”. Elab­o­rat­ing on her the­sis that “the arts are bound up with our pro­gres­sive forg­ing of a na­tional iden­tity”, Warner-Lewis con­tin­ued:

NA­TIONAL HE­ROES

“Since the 1940s and 50s, there has been a grow­ing sense of Ja­maican­ness. It is tied up with per­sons iden­ti­fied as Na­tional He­roes and there are na­tion­ally ac­claimed fig­ures, such as Miss Lou, Bob Mar­ley, Mass Oliver, Usain. There is a grow­ing sense of the unique­ness of our na­tive lan­guage the ap­pre­ci­a­tion of lo­cal food such as jerk meat, bun and cheese, bread­fruit. There has been a forg­ing of a na­tional mu­sic – mento, reg­gae, skank­ing, dee­jay, dance­hall.”

In the vis­ual arts, she said, “there is the de­pic­tion of lo­cal scenes and fo­liage and so­cial be­hav­iour and cus­toms ... . There is also re­pro­duc­tion of im­ages of the African and Euro­pean and Asian phys­iog­nomy of our peo­ple”.

But the arts do not al­ways make us com­pla­cent and con­tented, Warner-Lewis pointed out, and “drama and nar­ra­tive and vis­ual arts can dis­turb ac­cepted per­spec­tives... , and ques­tion old ideas and tra­di­tional habits of thought and ac­tion”. She cited Trevor Rhone’s play Old Story Time, which “ex­poses the colour dis­crim­i­na­tion and self­dep­re­ca­tion of Ja­maican peo­ple” and protest songs by Buju Ban­ton and Bob Mar­ley.

Eu­gene Wil­liams told the au­di­ence that he had been at the col­lege for 37-years (even be­fore it was the EM­CVPA). First he was a stu­dent of the School of Drama, then a lec­turer at the school and, for 17 years, di­rec­tor of the school.

Ex­plain­ing his de­ci­sion to come to Ja­maica from his na­tive Guyana, Wil­liams spoke of the “en­rich­ing ex­pe­ri­ence” he had par­tic­i­pat­ing in the first CAR­IFESTA in Guyana in 1972. The arts fes­ti­val “cap­tured the tremen­dous po­lit­i­cal op­ti­mism and the trans­for­ma­tive cul­tural force that was be­ing un­leashed across the re­gion Amina Black­wood Meeks Eu­gene Wil­liams Pro­fes­sor Emerita Mau­reen Warner-Lewis

since the decade of de­pen­dence in the 60s”.

He was at­tracted to the then Cul­tural Train­ing Cen­tre (CTC, pre­de­ces­sor of the EM­CVPA) be­cause of his aware­ness of “the bur­geon­ing world of Ja­maican pro­fes­sional the­atre, the grow­ing stri­dency of Rasta­fari, the race and class protes­ta­tions of reg­gae mu­sic, the grow­ing recog­ni­tion and study of tra­di­tional forms, the emerg­ing cul­tural power of the Ja­maican

cre­ole which had trav­elled so ef­fec­tively through the mu­sic and, im­por­tantly, the se­vere po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence of the sev­en­ties that was driven by decades of col­lec­tive ac­tivism for self-de­ter­mi­na­tion”.

He re­called the cul­tural op­ti­mism and de­ter­mi­na­tion to build a na­tion state in our own image led very quickly to the es­tab­lish­ment of the CTC and cul­tural move­ments in the An­glo-Caribbean tran­si­tion­ing

Devin Di Dakta

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