Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 23rd 2015 Contents B45
August 23, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Acclaimed T&T writer Earl
Lovelace will be attending the 12th
edition of the Caribbean Festival
of the Arts (Carifesta) in Haiti,
from August 21- 30. He will be a
keynote speaker at a two-day sym-
posium themed "The Caribbean,
a Collective Memory," which will
question the issue of reparations
and how the history of the
Caribbean can be rewritten.
Lovelace said, "It is important
that the Caribbean have some sort
of greater sense of itself, not simply
floating around waiting for others
to determine what we are, but we
can and hopefully will determine
He said Carifesta is important to
the Caribbean as it is one of the
few times when "Caribbean artists
get together and exchange ideas,
present their work and rekindle
again the smoldering embers of
what is a Caribbean."
On the issue of the seeming lack
of interest in Carifesta and the arts
in the general regional population,
Lovelace said, "The arts were
banned in this country and in the
region at a certain point, just like
Baptists, Shango, stick-fighting,
beating a drum, dancing and so on,
what that did was to criminalise
the arts and place them at the very
lowest level and I think we haven't
apparently recovered from that yet."
Lovelace said while his generation
of writers and artists have done
some groundwork, they did not
manage to create a vision of what
the Caribbean should be. It is up
to the younger generation decide
where they want the region to go,
provided they can agree on a des-
tination. "As part of the anti-colo-
nial movement, the Federation was
a big thing in our psyche and in our
hopes, but people in their 20s and
30s, they don't know anything
about Federation, so they don't have
that built-in hope.
"We hear the calypsonians sing
all the time we're all together, we
all are one'
idea in the Caribbean. I don't think
that any one group here feels that
they alone should be here. I don't
think that Africans feel it should
be Africans alone, or Europeans feel
that or Indians feel that. I think
that everybody would like everybody
else to be here, how we relate to
each other is the question," he said.
Lovelace said a united Caribbean
would better be able to raise the
issue of reparations. "The (artistic)
movement is towards a Caribbean
that begins really on justice and fair
play and I don't think that has been
our beginning. We've avoided a lot
of things, especially reparations.
The need and cry for reparation is
so clear that it's difficult to under-
stand how we didn't raise it on the
level of our Governments early
o'clock and even as we raise it now,
we have to raise it in the context
of these islands being independent."
He expressed disbelief that there
had been very little word from
Caribbean governments on the
reparations issue but said that even
if they wanted to press the issue,
there was very little they could do.
Lovelace said this will be his first
visit to Haiti and he is eager to see
what the country has become. He
said he sees Haiti as "a spiritual
pole in relation to rebellion and
reparation, as a home that repre-
sents black struggle in the
Caribbean and rebellion and the
victory of rebellion. Haiti is a place
where black people who had been
enslaved, revolted and overthrew
the existing government and beat
the armies that Europe presented
to push it back into enslavement.
"I would say to Haiti that we are
the same people and we hopefully
have the same kind of destiny. In
the Caribbean, we have come
together from different places, under
different circumstances of equality,
inequality, injustice and oppression.
Different people have had different
roles in that in the Caribbean and
it is these groups of people that we
want to get together to make one.
That is going to involve a lot of
work. People have to unlearn behav-
iour, people have to appreciate each
other and appreciate what has hap-
Lovelace said he wants the
Caribbean to reclaim the rebellion
as a starting point, as opposed to
"Rebellion is against a system
and it also envisages being for
something and to clarify increas-
ingly what we for and what we
against as a starting point, which
is provided as it were by rebellion.
History is an account of the past
that impels you to your future. So
if you know where you're coming
from, then you know where you're
going. Where should the Caribbean
Carifesta XII is themed "Our roots, our culture, our common future!"
Activities will be held in five cities across Haiti: Port-au-Prince,
Jacmel, Cap-Haitian, Gonaives, and Cayes.
All disciplines will be featured: dance, cuisine, fashion, cinema, visual
arts, literature, music, theater, arts and crafts.
The opening of the exhibition "Share Memory" at the National
Pantheon Museum, will take place on August 20 and is the first major
event of Carifesta XII Haiti.
On Saturday, August 22, Haitian President, Michel Joseph Martelly
will officially open the Grand Market Champ de Mars.
Caricom Secretary General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, will attend
Carifesta along with several Heads of Government of the Caribbean.
In addition to Earl Lovelace, the T&T delegation will consist of
Supernovas Steelband, which placed second in the International
Conference and Panorama competition and Leroy Clarke, who will put
on a mini-exhibition of 35 of his paintings.
Carifesta, the largest cultural and artistic event in the Caribbean, has
fused all forms of expression of Latin America and the Caribbean since
As a result, it has become a major multicultural and international
event that increasingly attracts countries from other continents.
OUR ROOTS, OUR CULTURE
carries reparations claim to Haiti for Carifesta
"It is important that the
Caribbean have some sort of
greater sense of itself, not
simply floating around
waiting for others to
determine what we are, but
we can and hopefully will
determine this ourselves."
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