ALL THOUGHTS ARE ON
Hundreds of artists from the twenty-nine Caribbean
and Latin American countries tho will be participating in
CARIFESTA '72 to be held in Guyana from August 25 to September 15
are now in the midst of frenzied preparations for the historic
cultural exposition. The thoughts of CARIFESTA is everywhere. In
the streets of Belize in Central America; the market place of
Bahia in Brazil along quays of Bequia in the sunny Caribbean, and
among porkknockers in Tacouta the talk is about CARIFESTA.
During CARIFESTA. which was born out of the vision of
Prime Minister Forbes Burnham and an enthusiastic Conference of
Caribbean Writers and Artists held in 1970 during Guyana's Repub-
lic celebrations ,the region's people will see their cultures erupt
in all its splendour. There will be a cultural cross fertilisa-
tion as the artists and the people of the region come together and
fuse their ideas through the medium of song, daice, folk art,
music, sculpture, literature and drama.
The Garden City of Georgetown will echo with the music
of the Yoruba chants of the Conjunto Folklorica Nacional of Cuba
aid of the equally impressive Ibo dances performed by Haitian
folklore groups and the more sophisticated but still drum-pulsed
music that motivates the National Dance Company of Jamaica. There
will be the contemporary sounds of the masquerades of Montserrat,
St. Kitts and Guyana itself, and, of course, steelbands from
Trinidad and Guyana.
It is in the field of folk dance that this Caribbean
Festival will make its magnetic appeal to the 1,000 participants
expected to come from 29 Caribbean and South American countries
and the thousands who will journey to Guyana to see and enjoy the
To complete this section of the CARIFESTA programme,
folk song groups are expected from Jamaica, Grenada, St. Lucia,
Surinam, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Indeed, one of the most distinctive characteristics of CuAIFESTA
will be the way in which folk art and their joyous expression
have become the deep and mature projection of the life of the
region, coloured by its exciting amalgam of Spanish, Dutch, Por-
tuguese, African, Indian, Amerindian, French and English cultural
Now that the majority of the islands in this archi'-
pelago have become politically independent since the beginnings
of the sixties, C.:IIFESTA will be the first opportunity to allow
the creative artists to come together and provide the elements
cfa regional Carnival.
The Conference of Jaribbean Writers and Artists in 1970
recommended that the CAr .A: should have three main charactar-
istics; it must be educational, it must be inspirational and it
must be peoples oriented in a .a~ -dicich would appeal to and in-
volve the majorit.- of tbh c nation in this region between North
and South America, This 197 0 S '.blic Celebrations Conference
was itself a follow-up to a C:-" ranca of 2ritars in 1966 when
Guyana became independent. Cn both occasions the writers were
heartened in their project by the JillJing support of the Prime
Minister of Guyana, Mr. LCFo S3, 2anhr.hi, ,ho is himself a long-
standing collector of Gufrnosj Art and Musico
It is in the fisld of the perfcrrming Arts that CaRIFESTA
promises to be most entertaining. The first emphasis will pro-
bably be laid on the dance groups mentioned already, but the
programme vwill include outstanding drama produced in the region.
In the field of art, the spacious Bishops; High School building
will be transformed with adequate lighting and screening facili-
ties, into a large Arts Museum, its component parts of which are
dedicated to the display of contu-pcrary arts and sculpture pro-
vided by participating countries. Each national art collection
will be introduced to vioewrs by an experienced national, who is
himself a painter and able to communicate the highlights of the
national developments of the arts and sculpture of his country.
Catalogues are under preparation which will supply biographical
sketches of the painters on display and so provide a panorama of
Art in the region.
CARIFE3TA is likely to be a star-studded programme where
notables are concerned. On the special invitation list are the
1971 Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, Pablo Neruda, Nicolas
Guillen, Aime Cesaire, C.L.R. James, Dr. Rene Piquion of Haiti,
Louise Bennett of Jamaica, and Rex Nettleford.
The invitation list includes a former Vice-Chancellor
of the U.W.Io, poet and historian Sir Phillip Sherlock, and tUe
outstanding Caribbean authors such as Vidia Naipaul, George
Lamming, Derek Walcott, Edward Braithwaite and dilsun Harris.
The local writers who are working with CARIFESTA's literary
Co-ordinator, A.J. Seymour in finalising plans for the literary
aspect of CARIFESTA will be among these presenting literary
papers during a series of symposium and workshop to be held dur-
In order to help make C'LRIFdL;TA inspirational, the
1970 Caribbean Writers and Arts CJcr-rcntion proposed that an
Anthology should be published aC "e'.: ."iting in the Caribbean
Areat, gathering together .:..1:-".i.cd work from the outstanding
writers of the regiori The r-aderrhip of this Anthology was
primarily defined as studnt-j in t'o senior forms of secondary
schools, undergraduates.:, at Jo ali and -he University of Guyana)
and the enquiring minds fou:d i Youth C.-oups and Adult Education
classes throughout the area,
The proposed Anthology, -fhich wfil include literary
contributions from Caribbean and other American countries in
their original languages of composition, will provide a platform
for the essential dialogue between readers and writers which will
engender a regional consciousness and flourishing literature and
support the artists and writers in their onward development.
There will be Portuguese from Brazil, Dutch from Surinam, French
from Haiti, Martinigue, Gyadeloupe and French Guiana and Spanish
from Venezuela, Chile, Peru etc. It is proposed that English
translations will be provided in every instance.
CARIFESTA will mount an exhibition of photographs en-
titled "The Lands and their FPoples" -with each of the 29 parti-
cipating countries prove 't.:: up to a dozen black and white
photographs. Visitors to the exhibition will therefore see
reproductions of the more it-.ortant physical aspects of each
country and pictures of the r-.in himan tTps,
Under preparation also is a short brochure by the
CARIFESTA Secretariat to set out a short summary of the physical
features, the main economic activities, the heroes and the myths
of each one of the countries coming to CutIFE3Ta.
To project CAIFRESTA T72 a prize winning symbol depict-
ing a brown hand grasping the Sun was selected last year for use
on posters, brochures and other publicity material from among 50
entries from various parts of the Caribbean. This prize-winning
symbol portrays the hand as the trained and educated instrument
of the creative artist in many of its fcnrs for example, the
hand is seen poised in dance. It is also the instrument of the
potter, the weaver, the musical composer, the painter, the
sculptor and the novelist, and the hand emerges as a symbol of
the creative man in tropical areas seeking to fulfil his cultural
destiny by grasping the sacred fire of the heavens.
Mr. Malcolm Corrica, M.P. (Lord Canary) has recently
won the CARIFESTa Theme Song Competition with his song "Welcome
to CARIFESTA". There were fifteen entries.
A Secretariat has been established in the National
Park, Georgetown, and in order to promote the awareness and early
national action, members of the CGRIFESTA Planning Committee have
travelled on a series of visits to invited countries in order to
stimulate interest in the Festival and to assist in promoting in
the final programme plans of all art forms existing in the region.
UNESCO has agreed to provide some financial assistance
to the Guyana Government and at the same time participating
countries have been informed that they stand to benefit by way
of financial contributions from the UNESCO budget, in order to
ensure participation in CanIFP3TA.
The British West Indian Airways Corporation, owned by
the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and based in Trinidad, has
been named as Official Carrier for CARIFESTA in the Caribbean
area, while Cruzeiro Do Sul is the Official Carrier in the Latin
American areas, and arrangements have been made to stimulate
interest and to arrange charter flights bringing interested
persons in the United Kingdom, United States of America and
various parts of the Caribbean to attend this exciting and artis-
tically stimulating regional Festival.
As the some 1,000 cultural representatives of over
200,000,000 people prepare to come to Guyana for CARIFESTA -
officials of the CARIFESTA Secretariat are ensuring tat CAXIFESTA
remains for the masses. Fees for attending C:JtIFE3TA shows will
be geared to meet the pockets of the man in the street. CARIFESTA
will remain a Peoplets Festival.