Title: CARIFESTA coming back where it all started
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA00100687/00001
 Material Information
Title: CARIFESTA coming back where it all started
Physical Description: Newspaper clipping
Language: English
Creator: Kumar, Neil
Publisher: Guyana Chronicle, Friday, 15 August 2008, page 8
Publication Date: 2008
Subject: Caribbean
Programme of Activities
Culinary Arts
Abstract: Article reports on the origin of CARIFESTA, Guyana's proposal to host the tenth festival and selected activities scheduled to be held.
Funding: Digitized with funding from the Digital Library of the Caribbean grant awarded by TICFIA.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA00100687
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat
Holding Location: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution.
Resource Identifier: CARIFESTA X 2008

Full Text

8 GUYANA CHRONICLE Friday, August 15, 2008



By Neil Kumar

CARIFESTA X is almost
upon us. Within a few days
time, Guyana will play host
to its neighbours and friends
in this major showpiece of
art. CARIFESTA is the show-
piece of the Caribbean
people's artistry, whether it
is song and dance, drama, lit-
erature, music, the visual arts
or the culinary arts.
It is said that there is no
truer representation of the mul-
tifaceted Caribbean culture than
at a CARIFESTA. It is here that
the diverse cultures of the many
islands and mainland countries
which form the Caribbean are
offered the opportunity to
come together and share and
partake in each other's culture.
CARIFESTA helps in breaking
down preconceived notions,
misunderstandings and preju-
dices which we, the Caribbean
people, may have about each
other. In addition to providing
a stage to display our similari-
ties and common bonds, it also
gives us the privilege to show-
case those elements of our cul-
ture which make each country
distinctly different from the
CARIFESTA will be return-
ing to the land of its birth, The
Cooperative Republic of
Guyana, from August 22 to Au-
gust 31, 2008. It was Guyana
who first hosted CARIFESTA
back in 1972, under the

Burnham administration. The
celebrations which were held to
commemorate Guyana's inde-
pendence and republic status
from Great Britain between the
late 1960's and early parts of the
70's created a great deal of dis-
cussion among those artistes in-
volved. There appeared to be a
common consensus that there
should be some system imple-
mented to showcase the culture
of the Caribbean. Two of the
most prominent proponents of
this perspective were renowned
Guyanese poet Martin Carter
and Barbadian novelist George
Lamming. Eventually, in 1970,
at the Artists and Writers Con-
vention held in Guyana, partici-
pants complained about the ab-
sence of an appropriate vehicle
to showcase the rich cultural
heritage of the Caribbean Re-
gion, and at the same time give
recognition to its outstanding
artists and art forms. The par-
ticipants at the Convention ex-
pressed their disappointment to
the then Prime Minister of
Guyana, the Hon. Linden
Forbes Sampson Burnham.
Burnham, who saw an oppor-
tunity for regional integration
through the arts, immediately
set about having Guyana pre-
pare to organise and host the
first ever Caribbean Festival of
Creative Arts, CARIFESTA.
At the very first
CARIFESTA, there were hun-
dreds of artistes from approxi-
mately 30 Caribbean and Latin

American countries who dis-
played their skills in music,
dance, drama, folk art, painting,
sculpture, photography and lit-
From then to now,
CARIFESTA has establishe~it-
self as the flagship cultural
event of the Caribbean people.
It is here where we can celebrate
our diversity in fine style with
a creative imagination.
Therefore, when with just a
little more than a year to
CARIFESTA X, the scheduled
hosts, The Bahamas, announced
they would be unable to pull it
off. Finding a willing new host
with such short notice became
a spot of bother for the
CARICOM Leaders. To the
fore came Guyana, extending a
benevolent hand. President
Bharrat Jagdeo, at a CARICOM
Summit in Barbados in mid
2007, proposed that Guyana
host the event. His proposal
was approved at the Summit
and Guyana became the new
host of the event with just about
one year to prepare for it.
President Jagdeo immedi-
ately put systems in place and
impressed upon his Cabinet and
all stakeholders the urgency
with which preparations needed
to be conducted and the neces-
sity for this event to become a
reality: the ultimate opportu-
nity to showcase Guyana to the
With the massive develop-
ment in infrastructure for the

Cricket World Cup 2007, such
as improved roads, bridges, cul-
verts, hotels and a reliable vol-
unteer system, Guyana was in
a strong position to pull off the
mammoth task of preparing for
CARIFESTA X in such, a short
With just about a week
away before the celebration of
Caribbean Art kicks of at The
Guyana National Stadium at
Providence, all systems are in
place. CARIFESTA X prom-
ises to be the best ever. The
Sophia Exhibition Complex and
the National Park will be trans-
formed to cater for the needs of
the visiting artistes. The first
venue will be redesigned as
CARIFESTA Village, where
visitors will be able to not only
listen and dance, but also touch
and smell and become encapsu-
lated in the sweetness which the
Caribbean offers. Visitors will
have the choice to sample ev-
erything from Jamaican jerk
chicken, Trinidad's doubles and
Guyana's pepperpot at a Car-
ibbean food court. In addition,
craftsmen will have the oppor-
tunity to vend, display and
promote their diverse talents,
showcase their skills of
jewellery making, leather craft,
wood craft, glass, needlework,
basketry, etc. All of this would
of course be accompanied by
the sweet sounds of Caribbean
music as the area is transformed
into a stage for many concerts
to be held throughout the event.

At nights, the National Park and
the Sophia Exhibition Complex
will become the stages for coun-
try nights, where each country
will be given the opportunity to
display their culture.
The showpiece event of
CARIFESTA X, however, is the
Opening Ceremony at the
Guyana National Stadium. The
ceremony, dubbed "Celegacy",
promises to be the greatest ar-
tistic presentation ever to grace
CARIFESTA. The name is a
compression of two words, cel-
ebrate and legacy. "Celegacy"
seeks to trace the magnificence
of the Caribbean in its many as-
pects. From the diverse origins
of its many beautiful peoples to
the vast natural resources resi-
dent in the region, and the im-
portant philosophical contribu-
tions that the region has made
to Caribbean and World culture.
The event will begin with a
parachute jump put on by
members of the Guyana De-
fence Force. This will be fol-
lowed by a formal parade of na-
tions participating, which will
lead into the formal opening, the
performance of "Celegacy."
Performance highlights in-
clude one thousand children
presenting "A Taste of
Guyana" segment, a com-
bined children's choir of over
three hundred voices present-
ing a taste of the Caribbean,
and stellar performances from
Caribbean icons such as the
Yoruba Singers, Dave Mar-
tins, Black Stalin, Rikki Jai,
the AlaKondre Drum Orches-
tra from Suriname and Malik
performers from Trinidad and
Tobago. Guyana's National
Dance Company and a com-
bined Indian dance company

of over one hundred dancers
will also perform.
The actual staging of the
event will present innovations in
spatial use which are expected
to be one of the legacies of
CARIFESTA X. In addition,wthe
Government of Guyana has ac-
quired the best possible staging
and lighting implementsifor this
"Celegacy" will be declared
open by President Bharrat
Jagdeo, as a magnificent fire-
works display brightens the
night sky.
The show was conceived
and is being overseen by
CARIFESTA X's Artistic Di-
rector, Guyana's Dr Paloma
Mohamed, the youngest and
first female Artistic Director of
any CARIFESTA so far. She
has kept all the intricate details
of this production a strict secret
so that all could be utterly
amazed by the sheer artistic bril-
liance of the performance..
"Celegacy" will be televised
live from 19:00h to 21:00h on
August 22 2008.
The Caribbean formed
Europe's first overseas empire.
These actions led to the peopling
of the islands and mainland ter-
ritories, and over the course of
time, each country developed its
unique cultural art forms and ex-
For ten days in 2008,
these cultures will merge,
crowds will dance, sing, ap-
plaud, review and previews as
artists from around the region
showcase the Caribbean's dis-
tinctive culture under one
umbrella, where it all started,
in Guyana, under the theme
"One Caribbean, One Pur-
pose, Our Culture, Our Life!"

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