avid bowen wears his heart on his sleeve. His right sleeve, in fact, as well as his hat brim. When the former director of culture for Turks and Caicos dons the national costume, which he designed, he is proud to point out the red band representi­ng his home island of Grand Turk among the eight colorful ribbons encircling the sleeves of his crisp white shirt. ¶ A profession­al dancer and choreograp­her—he appeared in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” video— Bowen spent a decade with dance and theater companies in Japan before returning home. His time abroad informed his work as director of culture. “You go anywhere in the eastern Caribbean and they have these generic cultural shows,” he says. “I wanted to be truthful to my own culture.” ¶ Now the director of wellness, culture and entertainm­ent at Grace Bay Resorts, Bowen still gives talks on Turks and Caicos culture, to which he has contribute­d much. He launched the Maskanoo Festival on Boxing Day in Grace Bay. He created the organizati­on TUCA (Turks and Caicos) to promote traditiona­l dance and folk music. And he wove the island’s heritage, culture and history into the national costume. “It’s a unifying symbol,” Bowen says.

DWhat do the colors of the costume represent? The white garment represents salt and cotton (the island’s formative crops). Pink is for our flamingos and conch shell. Yellow is for our sunshine. The other colors are island-specific. For example, green is for fertile North Caicos, our emerald isle. And red represents Grand Turk and our national flower, the Turk’s head cactus. What distinguis­hes

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