Title: Francis Farrier takes a stroll down CARIFESTA memory lane
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA00100701/00001
 Material Information
Title: Francis Farrier takes a stroll down CARIFESTA memory lane
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Campbell, Nils
Donor: unknown ( endowment )
Publisher: Sunday Stabroek, 20 July 2008, pages 18 & 22
Copyright Date: 2008
Funding: Digitized with funding from the Digital Library of the Caribbean grant awarded by TICFIA.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA00100701
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Digital Library of the Caribbean
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

Page 18 SUNDAY STABROEK, July 20, 2008

Francis Farrier takes a stroll down

Carifesta memory lane

By Nils Campbell

As the time counts down to Carifesta X next
month, prize-winning Guyanese playwright
Francis Quamina Farrier takes a stroll down
memory lane to the year 1972 when Guyana
launched the first Caribbean Festival of
Creative Arts.
With his trademark gleefulness, he sere-
nades with the words of "Welcome to
Carifesta" composed and sung by popular
Guyanese calypsonian Lord Canary (Malcolm

'Welcome to Carifesta '72,
Oh what a great cultural breakthrough...
Carifesta '72, Carifesta I'm inviting you
To 22 days of education, frolic and fun,
Carifesta '72, Carifesta it's a big to-do,
We welcome you to CARIFESTA '72 "
Farrier had been a leading light in bringing
the festival to fruition. At age 70, he is still
gifted with a nimbleness of wit to recall that it
was conceived out of an appeal from a region-
al gathering of artists who were at the time
participating in a Writers and Artists
Convention in Georgetown, Guyana in 1970.

The convention had coincided with Guyana's
move to Republican status.
Actually there were two successive con-
ferences of outstanding Caribbean writers and
artists in 1966 and 1970 and they rec-
ommended to then Prime Minister of Guyana,
LFS Burnham that they would welcome the
invitation to an annual festival of the arts.
Guyana became politically independent in
May 1966.
Farrier also recalled that the conference
participants had decided that Guyana should
establish a publishing house. Those dreams
will one day be fulfilled, he said, brimming
with optimism.
But it must have been a measure of satis-
faction that in his time there was the launching
of the film, Carifesta Girl. Farrier was then a
young man and enjoyed the role of Assistant
Director, serving under talented Guyanese
Film Director Rudy David. By his side was
Morris Bledman, another stalwart of the then
highly productive and enterprising Film
Centre, a unit of the Government Information
He can never forget the role of Haitian-
born dance choreographer Lavinia Williams in
that film. She was the woman who was
responsible for the establishment of Guyana's
Dance School which played a pivotal role in
the success of Carifesta in 1972 and is set to
soar to new heights in Carifesta X.
It must have been sorrowful for Farrier
when he got word that the film Carifesta Girl
had been conveyed to the incinerator on

Francis Quamina Farrier
Princes Street and unceremoniously rendered
to cinders by persons who didn't have an
appreciation of aspects of national heritage.
Still pleasant memories prevail of the
artistes and writers who had been called to the
"jam sessions" as they put their brains and

Turn to page 22

Page 22 SUNDAY STABROEK, July 20, 2008

Francis Farrier takes a stroll down

Carifesta memory lane

From page 18
th -ir views together to make
Gjyana culturally free and
But a name that is out-
standing along this Carifesta
memory lane is Burnham.
"Forbes Burnham played the
rcle of facilitator or as you
may call him, the person who
'titillated'" us a little more
about our work, our own
lives, our experiences, our
dreams and lots of other
tl ings. In addition to talking
about the publishing house

we talked about lots of other
things...," playwright and
television personality Farrier
declared, recalling the birth of
dreams that will never die.
Burnham had related his
vision of a cultural mecca for
the region's people a vision
of peoples with roots deep in
Asia, Europe and Africa com-
ing together to share, to per-
form their art forms. The
dream embraced the literature
inspired by the peculiar
Caribbean temperament.
paintings inspired by tropical

jungles and art visualising the
region's forefathers.
In 1972 more than 1,000
creative artists from more
than 30 Caribbean and Latin
American countries displayed
the creative activity of music,
dance, drama, folk art, paint-
ing, sculpture, photography
and literature.
The programmes included
the folk chants and move-
ments of the Conjunto
Nacional of Cuba, the exotic
lbo dancers from Haiti and
the sophisticated National
Dance Company of Jamaica.
masquerade bands and steel
bands as well as the colourful
Djuka and Javanese from
Suriname, and the unique
Rastafarian folk artists from
Jamaica. Guyana, the host
country then as now. spared
no resource and energy to
achieve a festival of unprece-
dented standard.

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