J URNAL VOLUME 6 – POSITIONING THE ARTS IN VISION 2030
TABLE OF CONT
Cover Page: Maia Pereira in Rex Nettlefordâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Dialogue for Three (1963) 2 This Page: Unscathed Chor. Troy Powell (2015)
FROM THE EDITOR Barbara Requa
ARTICLES 6 Festival Arts and Caribbean Development: At Home
and Abroad Rex Nettleford 12 Nurturing the Creative Arts: Sources for the
Contemporary Arts Rex Nettleford
VOLUME 6, 2015
16 The Role of Jamaica Cultural Development Commission
in Realising Vision 2030 Elizabeth Smith 22 Festival Arts and Caribbean Development: Some
Economic and Political Implications Rex Nettleford 26 Though ‘Art’ Worthy: Using Talents to Develop a Nation
Ashlee Bartley 28 CARIFESTA: in search of regional unity
Rex Nettleford 34 Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts
– Mandated to reflect the Caribbean Cultural Reality in Research, Performance and Service Denise Salmon 40 Mirroring the Caribbean Reality
Rex Nettleford 44 Gender in the Arts: The Case of Vision 2030 Jamaica
National Development Plan Keino T. Senior 50
FROM THE EDITOR BARBARA REQUA
The NDTC Journal – Volume 6 has invited our 2015 contributors to contemplate/investigate ways in which the arts can relate to and help shape Jamaica’s Vision 2030 concept. It is interesting to note that the articles written by our late and great Co-Fouder and Artistic Director, Rex Nettleford, presented over the last 30-plus years, continue to inform current topics explored and presented each year. Nettleford’s five articles presented in this issue share relevant information that support, clarify and enhance Jamaica’s ‘positioning of the arts for Vision 2030’; they are a ‘must read’ for everyone. Other articles include: The Role of Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) in Realising Vision 2030 by Elizabeth Smith opens with a quotation that places “the Creative Industries among the most dynamic sectors of the world economy throughout the decade (2000-2008)”. Using the activities of the JCDC as an example, she outlines ways in which Jamaica’s cultural heritage continues to support the development of our ‘creative talents’ by providing opportunities for the harnessing of economic benefits through the Arts and Heritage tourism.
Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts – Mandated to reflect the Caribbean Cultural Reality in Research, Performance and Service by Denise Salmon, ’challenges’ the belief some have that “performance is not an authentic and legitimate area of research in the arts”; she presents relevant arguments and factual information that ‘shatter’ this concept using examples that reinforce the importance of research methods in the development of artistic presentation – the Body/Mind connection. Though ‘Art’ Worthy – Using Talents to Develop a Nation by Ashlee Bartley: this author shares new and valuable information pertaining to “the importance of the creative industry as experienced and applied in 1st world countries.” She lists some of the local entities that have come on board to ‘grow’ this sector so that, “like the United States and other parts of the world, Jamaica’s creative industry and its talents may become a greater force to be reckoned with”. Read on! The final article entitled Gender in the Arts: The Case of Vision 2030 Jamaica National Development Plan by Keino T. Senior looks at a very important topic that needs public attention. Senior recommends that “as arts organizations and institutions advance, gender mainstreaming also becomes an integral component of not only their governing policies and programmes, but also their activities and productions”. He proposes that “there is a need to introduce and intersect gender in all art forms with a clear aim for individuals to understand that the dynamics of gender stereotyping hinders individuals from developing their art form”. I believe there is a lot of room for more discussion on this very important topic. I take this opportunity to congratulate the Performers, Choreographers, Production team and Friends of the NDTC on the presentation of a highly professional and aesthetically rewarding Season 2015. It was truly an unforgettable experience. Mi heart full! Break a Leg! C
Barbara Requa, NDTC founding member/former principal dancer in Reflections, Chor. Bert Rose (1975). Photo: Maria LaYacona
By Rex Nettleford
Festival Arts & Caribbean Development At home and abroad â&#x20AC;&#x153;The organisation of social life in traditional societies gives a special place to the festival, for there is a general consciousness of its potential as a vehicle for communicating or affirming the values of a society and for strengthening the bonds that bind its members. The traditional concept of a festival, therefore, is that of a communal celebration of life in which the members of a society participate on different levels in a number of structured and unstructured but significant events... when the circumstances of a community change, consideation may be given to the revision of the schedule of festivals...â&#x20AC;?
Sanctuary, Chor. Gene Carson (2013)
J.H. Kwabena Nketiah, the distinguished Ghanaian musicologist who is no stranger to Jamaica was speaking of his native country Ghana. He could have been speaking of the Commonwealth Caribbean, where Great Britain once held sway, as well as of Haiti long liberated from French overlordship, or the Spanish-speaking Cuba and Santo Domingo which achieved political Independence at the end of the last century after centuries under Spanish rule. In all these cases “the circumstances of the communities” cited, changed and consideration has indeed been given not only to the “schedule” of the festival as it has developed by each but also the nature and function of the event in some places. ln the Commonwealth Caribbean the “idea of festival” remains a vehicle for communicating and affirming values and for strengthening the “bonds” in the new society that has changed somewhat through a protracted process of transformation since the late thirties from colonial fiefs to independent modern politics. The task of nation-building looms large on the agenda of concerns and the manipulation of symbols (festival included) has become part of the action. The 7
harnessing of deeper social forces becomes a continuing challenge in shaping “the new society” in which values of freedom, equality, opportunities for self-actualisation, and rehumanisation of the entire polity that knew only slavery and imperialist subjugation for most of its known existence, are parties. lt stands to reason that in the quest for place and purpose the new post-colonial dispensation should wish to draw on the experience and energy of its own people – especially the mass of population who not only provide the votes for those seeking political power but were actual participants in the struggle for liberation resulting in the transfer of power into native hands. The use of what the mass of the population, “the people from below”, have created and forged out of their collective experience and realities can be less of an indulgence in populist exploitation and more of an attempt to legitimate the new authority devolving on these societies no longer the words of others or the echoes of distant pipers. Creativity The resourcefulness of people in the exercise of their creative imagination, even in bondage, is a common-place of the human story. The Caribbean is no exception in this. Under slavery, the mass of the population uprooted from West Africa guaranteed to themselves cultural continuities as salve for the suffering caused by the severance. They adapted and adjusted as well as creating in the end expressions appropriate to the new circumstances. These were by way of encounters (a) with Europeans acting as economic masters or colonial overlords, (b) with others of their ilk first aboard ship and later on the plantation and (c) with indigenous Amerindians (Arawaks and Caribs) already decimated by the onslaught of alien diseases and imposed overwork. The survival of the horde of involuntary workers in new lands became a priority with them; all means within their command would be found to protect themselves against their vulnerability as chattel and dehumanized zombies at the beck and call of callow callous men and the brutal systems they operated. Music to affirm Flight and guerilla assault against plantations and oppressors were not the only option available to them. Shaping alternatives which manifested world-views and facilitated control over inner space safe from the obscene violations of vile and venal predators, were more at hand despite the difficulties. The Festival was one such means.
A few days rest from labour was crucial to the operations of the festivals that emerged in the 18th and 19th centuries, as variation on a common theme throughout the region. But the sustaining lifeblood of these events was the command by participants over the creation of masks to disguise, of music to affirm, of dances to celebrate as well as over the germination of ideas beyond the reach of those who brutishly supervised them for the rest of the year in back-breaking toil. As with the “Africans” in slavery so with the new wave of migrants – East Indians – in indenture, the form of contract labour continued the tradition of slavery exploitation after the abolition of slavery. The Hosay which came with the Indians, is a later manifestation of that on-going process. The Caribbean in the 20th century has turned to the very process and its products as source of energy in meeting some of the demands of contemporary existence and in shaping a future it hopes to call its own. All mechanisms of affirmation become part of the quest for appropriate designs for social living. The still developing notion of an emergent Caribbean civilization defining itself on its own terms serves to inform the practical programme of nation-building and the challenging strategies of development. Integral to this are the preservation of cultural values among Caribbean migrants overseas. They constitute a significant numerical proportion of the home populations. There is much more to them that the negative values tied to drug-trafficking and the drug-related violence more recently associated with the so-called Jamaican posses outwitting the law enforcement agencies in some of the biggest cities in the United States. Diffusion abroad The continuous scattering of Caribbean people in the waves of the 20th century migration to metropolitan centres (like cities of Great Britain, Canada and the United States in particular) has resulted in diffusion of festival arts weaned in the Caribbean to places like London, Toronto and New York. As in previous centuries back home, the festival arts now serves as a means of cultural expression, survival and social demarginalisation in a hostile environment. The phenomenon should not surprise. Within the Caribbean region itself such diffusion had been apace. In earlier times, if the records are to be trusted, Jamaican jonkonnu apparently spread to Belize and the Bahamas, Masquerade in the Leeward islands of Antigua, St Kitts and Montserrat benefitted from the cross fertilisation. Cuba was enriched with the waves of slaves who accompanied masters to that country after the Haitian revolution. Today London boasts more texture in August for
having to struggle with the Notting Hill Carnival, which is developing its own characteristics different to its parent in Port of Spain. Brooklyn, New York, does “catch afire” each summer ignited by the Caribbean festival; and Toronto can no longer deny the presence of a sizeable West Indian population. The annual Caribbean Festival mounted in this city re-affirms the fact if nothing else. Common items of cultural engagement with the Caribbean crop up at these events staged by migrant citizens with a yearning for psychic, if not physical, return. The consequences may be far- reaching for the region “back home”. As a mobilising force, such festivals have not failed to convince home governments of the need to find a place for millions of diasporic Caribbean people in the region’s plans for its own development. Attracting investments back home is not the least of the designs on a populace hungry for cultural certitude in a situation where a steady job, the ownership of a house, and access to consumer durables provide little compensation for the racial and cultural hostility meted out by the host society.
Caribbean festival arts, far away from source, continue to provide for Caribbean people wherever they are what Kwabena Nketiah attributes to the Festival in his native Ghana. They are “a vehicle of communication (and affirming the values of the society they left behind) and for strengthening the cultural bonds that bind them”. They can also guarantee the migrants psychic survival and existence beyond survival. In the changed circumstances of diasporic existence, the Festivals are appropriately revised and re-scheduled. Carnival in Protestant and oftentimes, cold London as well as ecumenical and also sometimes ice-bound Brooklyn is held in the heat of summer rather than in pre-Lenten February or March as back home. They will long continue – these Festivals – to have a “special pIace” in the organisation of social life in Caribbean society both at home and abroad. C
Sanctuary, Chor. Gene Carson (2013)
NUTURING THE CREATIVE ARTS
Sources for the contemporary arts By Rex Nettleford
Orlando Barnett and Marisa Benain in Eduardo Rivero-Walkerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sulkari (1971)
Caribbean festival arts in their overt and covert ways now act as a catalyst to the different dimensions of Caribbean post-colonial development – whether in the nurturing of the creative arts, in the planning of strategies for social and economic development, in the sharper articulation of political nationalism in Independence or in the attempts at promoting regional unity largely among the Anglo-phone Caribbean but taking in communities outside it and regarded as part of the “Caribbean Basin.” The creative arts have flourished in the region since the late thirties. Literature, music, dance and the plastic arts have thrown up such worldclass practitioners as Derek Walcott, Vidia Naipaul, Edward Kamau Brathwaite, George Lamming (as writers), Lord Kitchener, the Mighty Sparrow, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff and Peter Tosh, among others, as musical composers and legendary performers of Trinidad calypso and Jamaican reggae working from home base. There is, indeed an implosion of energy in the performing arts (theatre) as well with Jamaica’s National Dance Theatre Company being a flagship in the exploration of Caribbean dance forms and the Walcott Brothers of St. Lucia, Trevor Rhone of Jamaica, the LTM pantomime and the Sistren Collective among others, being the prime movers in the development of a “Caribbean theatre”. Jamaica’s Edna Manley heading a gallery of trained and highly accomplished artists region-wide, and a first school of “intuitive painters” (as counterparts to the world-famous Haitian primitives and the “naive” painters of Cuba) add to the mosaic of Commonwealth Caribbean and creative artists, which conforms the texture of artistic life in the region. Fascination Very few of these forms have been able to avoid the impact (direct or indirect) of the festival arts as a source of energy. Painting, dances, music, and drama betray the fascination that masquerade, carnival and their myriad characters hold for creative artists in these different genres.
Errol Hill, the Trinidadian dramatist, playwright and theatre scholar, once called for the Trinidad carnival to be a mandate for a national theatre of Trinidad and Tobago. He shared with Guyanese-born theatre critic and actor, Slade Hopkinson the view that “until there is a theatre based on drama rooted in Trinidad, the theatre and drama in Trinidad will remain especially chiefly artificial, colonial things, interesting chiefly as symptoms of the psychological sickness of a fragmented confused people – a people who contain the possibility of a unique cultural synthesis and inventiveness, but who prevent the fulfillment of this possibility by not having the courage or the intelligence to become what they in fact are.” (see Errol Hill: The Trinidad Carnival: Mandate for a National Theatre, Austin, Texas, 1974). Challenge Much of the recent “debate” on crisis in criticism aired in the Daily Gleaner turned more on the urgency of this challenge in the quest for self-definition and cultural certitude than on the received and questionable techniques of artistic assessment brought in from alien climes and indiscriminatingly imposed. Professor Hill insists (and he is right) that the carnival presents a most authentic source since it “has achieved a synthesis between old and new. Between folk forms and art forms, between native and alien traditions”. He goes on to “enunciate principles” rooted in the carnival event “for the establishment of a national theatre that will truly represent the cultural attitudes, expressions and aspirations of the people of Trinidad and Tobago”. A not dissimilar mission statement guided the efforts of dance-theatre in Jamaica where the NDTC (National Dance Theatre Company) emerged in 1962 at the time of Jamaica’s independence and has since pursued a course of experimentation and exploration of movement, music and traditional lore in the forging of a vocabulary, technique and style now generally regarded as “Jamaican”. (see Nettleford: Dance Jamaica. Grove Press, New York, 1985).
Verbal imagery, metaphor Elements evident in the jonkonnu festival are conscious ingredients of the Jamaican dance-theatre’s orientation. The integration of movement, music, drama, speech patterns is a feature of Caribbean festival arts (carnival and jonkonnu) and central to the Jamaican dance-theatre. Some of the work of the Danza Nacional, the Jamaican NDTC’s counterpart in Cuba, reflects a similar integration drawn from traditional Cuban festival arts. Hill makes much of the verbal imagery and verbal metaphor both the hallmark of calypso lore, the music of carnival; and all Caribbean theatre, when it chooses to be taken, takes on amazing authenticity (and authority) as long as it employs these Caribbean gifts of the artistic expression. In costuming and stage scenery, Hill is right in claiming for Trinidad (evident in carnival) a wealth of talents, ideas and innovativeness. They are reflected in much that is Caribbean theatre today, even at the risk of jeopardizing the centrality of the dialogue in a drama. Excellent costuming Jamaican dance-theatre is known for the excellence of its costuming without subverting the integrity of the movement patterns; and the influence of Trinidad on cabaret, “legitimate drama”, musicals, and dance-theatre in the rest of the region comes through in the area of costuming and design. Henry Muttoo who has worked in Guyana, the Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Jamaica has designed sets and costumes with the spirit of carnival for plays, pantomimes, musicals, cabaret, fashion shows, costume contests. Audience involvement- a feature of Trinidad carnival – is stressed by Hill as well. True to form the more reserved Jamaicans have always stood and watched the jonkonnu bands parade and perform while they threw them money to spur on the antics and to reward the inventive. Efforts since Independence to introduce “street dancing” in the annual Independence
“festival Celebrations” are yet to succeed totally in Jamaica. Most people stand and watch while a few uninhibited revellers “jump up” (a Trinidadian carnival term) to recorded music in the plazas of Kingston. The Trinidad carnival is made for participation despite the now established Savannah “march-past” to a paying audience and in front of judges who decide on the prizes for the parading bands. Own sources But this merely emphasises another element, which Hill points out, about Trinidad carnival – “the procession as a choreographic form and the frequent use of ceremony evident in Coronations”. The same is true of both Jonkonnu and Hosay. Jamaican dance-theatre has drawn heavily on “the procession as choreographic form”. It is a device often missed or misunderstood by metropolitan critics who have neither that sense of space and openness which are still a luxury in crowded cities. The mobilisation of masses of people in road march manner with the feet keeping a basic rhythm while isolations of the upper parts of the body in polyrhythmic counterpoint carve myriad designs in space, produces a different kinesthetic quality and visual impact from that of the American Modern Dance or the European classical ballet both of which are rooted in the cultural realities of their respective habitats. Caribbean dance theatre in its Haitian, Jamaican, Cuban and Trinidadian manifestations all utilise the “procession as a choreographic form”. The hankering after cultural definition on the Caribbean’s own term therefore sent Caribbean creative arts to their own sources. And such festivals as jonkonnu and carnival and the sources from which they in turn have drawn over centuries, take on new and instant meaning in contemporary life. Even when Europe’s all-pervasive influence persists in the artistic activity and cultural manifestos of the region, as well as in the still Eurocentric forms of criticism, the force of these indigenous forms fights back in dialectical defiance. The results are sometimes the better for the
confrontation. A production of Shakespeare’s Tempest, set in one of the islands of the Caribbean by the Trinidadian director Rawle Gibbons is presented at the Jamaica School of Drama. The “noises” of that isle are those of the steelpan and the voices of carnival bands. lt works! One of the finest plays to be produced on the Jamaican stage was Sylvia Wynter’s original television script Maskarade transformed into a full-length play by Jim Nelson back in 1978. The play (with music) deals with a full range of life-concerns of jonkonnu players in the 19th century. Ms. Wynter, a noted Jamaican woman of letters and scholar, had herself done exten-
sive research on jonkonnu and published her analysis in a rich and stimulating article in Jamaica Journal in 1970. Other artists have indeed studied these festivals pulling scholars in their train to discover the ontologies of the people who have given form and purpose to cultural life in the region. Studies on calypso and on carnival are to be found in the catalogues of university and national libraries as are those on jonkonnu. Some of the titles carry the names of such authors as Errol Hill (already mentioned), Gordon Rohlher, Sheila Barnett, and Cheryl Ryman. More is yet to be done! C
Candice Morris in Eduardo Rivero-Walker signature Sulkari (1971)
Kumina, Chor. Rex Nettleford (1971)
THE ROLE OF JAMAICA CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION IN
REALIZING VISION 2030 By Elizabeth Smith “In 2008, despite the 12 per cent decline in global trade, world trade of creative goods and services continued its expansion, reaching $592 billion and reflecting an annual growth rate of 14 per cent during the period 2002-2008. This reconfirms that the creative industries have been one of the most dynamic sectors of the world economy throughout this decade.” 1 The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) is a dynamic cultural agency of the Ministry of Youth and Culture, the only such existing cultural institution in the Caribbean. Its primary role is to develop, plan and implement national cultural programmes and events for the preservation and promotion of Jamaica’s potpourri of cultural heritage. “Each generation of immigrant groups (colonizers, slaves, indentured and non-indentured 16
groups) have Jamaicanized/creolized the culture of their ancestors. Traditional practices of … food, dress, music, festivals … have all been affected.”2 Therefore, “heritage is about a special sense of belonging and of continuity that is different for each person. This can only be gained individually through a respect for, and understanding of, past roots in relation to present circumstances.”3 It is on this basis that the role of the Commission is a critical
social catalyst for building and sustaining an authentic and cohesive Jamaican culture and society. The staging of a myriad of cultural programmes and festival competitions, by the Commission have contributed significantly to the creative talents of more than One hundred thousand (100,000) Jamaicans on an annual basis being unearthed, developed and showcased island wide. In 2009, The Gleaner honoured the JCDC for its outstanding contribution to cultural development. The Commission remains on a trajectory that will enhance Jamaica’s creative economy, ‘Brand Jamaica’ and the realization of Vision 2030. Its reliance on forging strategic alliances, research and development, ICT and visionary planning, all contribute to a bright future for the Commission. The JCDC was established in 1963 as the Jamaica Festival Office popularly referred to then as the ‘Festival Office’. Many of its festival competitions began in 1963. These programmes led the way for the emergence of many local popular arts based competition and programmes that have emerged today. It was the Festival Office in its early years that introduced local cuisine into hotels through its culinary arts programme. “This Institution [grew] out of a … five year plan designed to establish an organization to develop and present horticultural, agricultural, industrial, culinary and visual arts, cultural performances, and sporting activities as part of the annual independence celebrations.”4 Act 32 of 1968 “The Jamaica Festival Commission Act” outlined the legal framework in which this statutory body would operate while Act No. 8 of 1980 resulted in the name change from the Jamaica Festival Commission to the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, as well as the widening of its functions to: a) promote cultural programmes and activities in communities throughout the island; b) encourage and organize the annual independence anniversary celebrations and other celebrations marking occasions of national interests; c) stimulate the development of local talents
by means of training through: workshops, competitions, exhibitions, pageants, parades, displays and such other activities as the Commission may from time to time determine; d) complement the work of other agencies in the carrying out of community development programmes throughout the Island. In more recent times, the Commission’s mandate has been further broadened to include the provision of technical services to the government, its agencies and departments as well as the private sector in the planning and staging of various national cultural events and functions. The Commission has an Events Management and Production Division that provides events management services. This also is a reflection of the Commission’s commitment to building the creative and cultural sectors. Its vision, mandate and core values reflect the philosophy of the Commission and mandated functions. Its vision is “To be the Global Centre of [Jamaican] Cultural Excellence.” The mission statement is: to influence national development positively, by creating opportunities that unearth, develop, preserve and promote the creative talents and cultural expressions of the Jamaican people, through a professional and dynamic team, thereby advancing brand Jamaica worldwide. The Core Values spell EPIC- Excellence, Professionalism, Integrity, Creativity (more information can be obtained on its corporate website www.jcdc.gov.jm). Economic data from UNESCO, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and from noted regional scholars including Vanus James and Dr. Keith Nurse have shown the potential benefits of the arts and intellectual property as economic drivers. With this thrust and awareness, the Commission aggressively seeks new frontiers and forms strategic alliances especially with the Jamaican diaspora. The Commission recently established a Business and Product Development Unit to drive economic opportunities on behalf of the organization and in favour of the numerous festival participants. The Commission is cognizant of its critical role in helping to realize the national goals 17
Earl Brown in Performance
of Vision 2030 and is actively pursuing and engaging purposeful world-class strategies to enhance the cultural landscape of Jamaica. The ultimate goal of the Vision 2030 plan is “Jamaica, The Place of Choice to Live, Work, Raise Families and do Business.” In seeking to bring this vision to fruition there are four national goals that have been developed and promulgated by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ). These are: “Jamaicans are empowered to achieve their fullest potential; the Jamaican society is safe, cohesive and just; Jamaica’s economy is prosperous; and Jamaica has a healthy natural environment.”5 In developing three-year corporate plans and annual operational plans, the JCDC is guided by these vital pillars. The fundamental role of the Commission is reverberated in two of the outlined goals. These are Jamaicans are empowered to achieve their fullest potential and Jamaica’s economy is prosperous. There are four national outcomes of the former which are: “a healthy and stable population; world- class education and training; effective social protection; and authentic and transformational culture.”6 The latter is of critical importance to the JCDC. To realize this national outcome, there are national strategies that were outlined in the plan. These are: “promote core/transformational values; promote the family as the central unit of human development; preserve, develop and promote Jamaica’s cultural heritage; integrate Jamaica’s nation brand into developmental processes; and strengthen the role of sport in all aspects of national development.”7 Unequivocally, the role of the Commission in preserving, developing and promoting Jamaica’s cultural heritage is critical. One of the national outcomes to realize Jamaica’s economy as prosperous is: “internationally competitive industry structures- creative industries.”8 Towards this end, the Commission is employing relevant strategies that will flip its contributions to the development and buttressing of Jamaica’s creative economy. In 2011, the JCDC in collaboration with UNESCO implemented a ‘Change Through Art’ project with more than 50 inner-city at-risk males
exposing them to training in events management and entrepreneurship. In 2014, the Commission implemented an events management project in collaboration with the National Youth Service in training 50 youths who were subsequently employed at the JCDC parish offices island wide for a six month period. They were exposed to professional standards in events management and now the Commission employs them for different events management projects seasonally. The JCDC continues to play an integral role in preserving, developing and promoting Jamaica’s cultural heritage. The staging of its various festival competitions is one such vehicle that will continue to support national efforts to have an authentic and transformational culture. The Commission has played this role for more than 50 years through volunteerism and its parish cultural committees continue to play a major role in this process. With the potential benefits to be derived from information and communication technology (ICT), the Commission is aggressively pursuing ICT strategies that will create more online interactive systems to engage especially youths to increase knowledge, interest and appreciation of the Jamaican cultural heritage. The Commission has a vibrant social media platform covering all popular social media sites (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter) to communicate with its various stakeholders; its Facebook fan base is in excess of 12,400. The development of a national culture club programme for schools and communities is promoting patriotism and civic pride. On June 23, 2015, the JCDC in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Culture launched a culture passport programme that will allow students who are members of Culture Clubs, to visit cultural events and heritage sites for free. The Commission’s Information Unit mounts relevant displays at various national events allowing Jamaicans the opportunity to learn more about the Jamaican culture thereby engendering a greater appreciation. These cultural displays are done on a yearlong basis, another means by which the Commission is 19
making strides in promoting the cultural heritage of Jamaica. The heritage of Jamaica does more than delineating its national identity. It presents opportunities for the harnessing of economic benefits through the arts. “According to a report from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, contributions of recreational, cultural and sporting activities to GDP have been growing. It increased in 2009, the industry accounted for 2.9 per cent of GDP, an increase of 0.2 percentage point compared with 2008.”9 With the economic contributions of the creative and cultural industries the matter of training and development of festival participants is even more critical to the Commission. Exposure to the knowledge of intellectual property and talent management are embedded in the organisation’s training programmes. Another area of contribution for economic prosperity is heritage tourism. This is an opportunity for the Commission and as such, its festival events that are staged annually can be seen as a part of the authentic travel eperience for visitors to Jamaica. J. Swarbooke in ‘The future of the past: heritage tourism into the 21st’ defines heritage tourism as: “tourism which is based on heritage where heritage is the core of the product that is offered and her-
itage is the motivating factor for the consumer.”10 Cultural discovery in the broad sense of the term is already one of the strongest motivations in the world. A study conducted by the European Commission found that 20 percent of tourist visits were made for essentially cultural purposes and that, for 60 percent of visitors, culture was of major concern.11 Thus, Heritage Tourism is a growing segment of the tourism market. The growth of heritage tourism suggests that it is not likely to abate in the near future.12 With more than 50 years of experience in developing and implementing national cultural programmes and projects, the JCDC is poised to create greater opportunities for the empowerment of Jamaicans to achieve their fullest potential. Clearly, the work of the Commission does not end on August 6 with the annual Independence Celebrations, but goes beyond this period. It is constantly engaging, building and sustaining the cultural tapestry of Jamaica, which is in keeping with the Vision 2030 plan for Jamaica. As the Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey opined and the same remains relevant: “one’s civilization is not complete without its arts, the highest form of human civilization” JCDC is on it! C
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Creative Economy Report, 2010. Pgxx “Chairman’s Note” Hon. Maurice W. Facey, OJ Chairman Tourism Action Plan Limited September 1991, “Heritage Tourism: Jamaica’s Past – The Gateway To Our Future” in Marcus Binney, John Harris,and Kit Martin, Jamaica’s Heritage an untapped resource. Kingston: The Mill Press, 1991 pg 5. 3 Sue Millar, “Heritage Management for heritage tourism”115-121, Editor Professor S.Medlik,Managing Tourism (Oxford:Butterworth-Heinemann,1997) pg 120. 4 Jamaica Cultural Development Commission. The Jamaica Festival Story 25th Souvenir Magazine. Lithographic Printers: Kingston, 1987. 5 Planning Institute of Jamaica. Vision 2030 Jamaica National Plan. Peer Tree Press: Kingston 2009. Pg xxv. 6 Ibid, pgxxv. 7 Ibid, pg 93 8 Ibid, pg xxv 9 Cecelia Campbell-Livingston. “Cultural industries show impressive earning capacity” Friday, December 30, 2011. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/Cultural-industries-show-impressive-earning-capacity_10446083 10 Lee Jolliffe and Ronnie Smith ‘ Heritage , Tourism and Museums: the case of the North Atlantic islands of Skye, Scotland and Prince Edward Island, Canada’, International Journal of Heritage Studies, Vol.7 No.2,2001,pp 149-172 pg 153 EBSCOhost November 23, 2007. 11 Francesco Frangialli, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization Address at the Opening of the Session 11-13-WTO/UNESCO Seminar on Tourism & Culture Samarkand/Khiva, Republic of Uzbekistan, 20-21 April 1999. Spain: World Tourism Organization, 1999 pg 12. 12 Society of Park and Recreation Educators, National Recreation and Park Association. “History promotes itself”. Research into Action 35, no. (20002), in Periodical Abstracts Research [database on-line],UWI-JSTOR, UWI Mona; accessed November 10, 2006. par.4 &5. 1 2
Jillian Samms and Kayon Wray in Rex Nettlefordâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Drumscore (1979)
FESTIVAL ARTS AND CARIBBEAN DEVELOPMENT
By Rex Nettleford
Some economic and political implications Nurturing the Creative Arts: Sources for the Contemporary Arts, was made to the studies done into the festivals of the region. These are already sources for further exploration into the elements, nature and structures of phenomena that played an important role in the historical and socio-cultural formation of the Caribbean region. Such studies can serve another purpose. They can inform public policy. Cultural tourism is, after all, on the agenda of a number of the Caribbean governments for whom tourism is a major source of national income. The Bahamas sells “Goombay” as a major tourist attraction. Tourism is a pivotal sector of the Bahamian economy guaranteeing to thousands steady employment, livable incomes and an infrastructure of good roads, potable water, uninterrupted electricity and (from some who have reservations about its fragile property) increasing Americanisation.
the Jamaica Tourist Board. The idea of festival is, however, alien practical expression in the Independence Festival events in July/August of each year. ln mid-August there is also the latter-day Reggae Sunsplash Festival, a genuine tourist attraction modelled more on the American Woodstock rock festival than on the traditional indigenous festival arts of Jamaica. The affirmation of other cultural authenticity of Jamaica reggae by Sunsplash is not lost on the government of Jamaica in its search for genuine national expressions. Both hard currency does come in with the tens of thousands of reggae revellers from all over the world and that is regarded as good for the economy starved of foreign currency. Hotels, the national airline, curio vendors, pop artists and others especially in the informal sector(s) of the economy, benefit from the “festival”. Prime target
Goombay is the Bahamian jonkonnu developed on the basis of local peculiarities (costumes are made out of crepe paper not fabric) but sharing with its cousins in Jamaica, Bermuda, Guyana, Belize and the Leeward Islands (Montserrat and St. Kitts) many common elements. Jonkonnu was never as deliberately mobilised for tourist consumption in Jamaica. But in 1987 “Bruckins”, an expertly packaged show based itself on the Jamaica jonkonnu and related festivals and was exhibited all over the North coast of Jamaica under the auspices of
Now that the price of oil has declined and the foreign exchange reserves are greatly depleted in Trinidad and Tobago, there is growing interest in tourism and in the importance of Carnival in the economic recovery of that twin-island state. The Trinidad carnival becomes a prime target for cultural tourism as a potential net foreign exchange earner in the planning strategies of the new NAR government. A strategic 5 percent gap is said to need filling. Festival arts, in traditional terms, may not be regarded as profitable or tenured sources of
employment – a factor high on the Caribbean’s agenda of national concerns. But the Trinidad carnival becomes an all-year round means of occupation for a chosen few in the co-ordination of bands and the conceptualization of the next year’s display. The generation of economic activity in the period leading up to carnival understandably is headlined news as Christmas spending is in Jamaica. “Carnival lovers of Trinidad spent more than $80 million (TT) over the six week period since Christmas” screamed the Sunday Express of February 21, 1988. Despite the economic downturn more money was spent in the 1988 than in the previous year. “It cost the 30,000 masqueraders who were among the top ten bands, approximately $7 million to purchase their costumes which excludes the vast amounts spent by the medium-sized and small bands and funds spent on music. Trinidad carnival is big business. A wide range of beneficiaries justify the activity as economic phenomenon.
class of promoters and their cohorts – escape the more aggressive politicians of the region who must find every means possible to maximize the likely benefits from careful husbanding of rather limited resources. A cultural policy is formally a part of development plans for Jamaica and more recently for Barbados and St. Lucia. Power redistribution Much of this takes place within the parameters of political action. It is accredited representatives of the people who must (and wish to) relate to the aspirations of the mass of the population responsible for voting them in. Independence has meant more about the control over the instruments of political decision-making than over the economic mobilisation of re-
Festival arts, in traditional terms, may not be regarded as profitable or tenured sources of employment – a factor high on the Caribbean’s agenda of national concerns.
Dolls, miniature steel-pans, plaques of brass and copper with figures in bras-relief, and carnival masks are some of the merchandise generated by the festival. Jonkonnu dolls were once popular in the Jamaican tourist trade but were never really explored to the limits. In both Trinidad and Jamaica the music of the carnival in the former and of Reggae Sunsplash in the latter are the raw material for a thriving recording industry which provides employment for a wide range of people well beyond the confines of three or four days festival. The market for recordings (disk and audio tape) of calypsos and reggae has definitely grown throughout the region and beyond. Both carnival and Sunsplash are stimulants for marketing thrusts. None of these economic possibilities – cultural tourism, budding craft industry, a recording industry, a facilitating bureaucracy for cultural administration in the public sector as well as the burgeoning profit-hungry entrepreneurial
sources. This last-named dimension of power is still seen as being possible only after the political kingdom has been sought and won. Much of this has been won in the Commonwealth Caribbean on the basis of democratic participation of the people at large through free, for the most part fair, and quite frequent elections. The redistribution of power has affected just about every activity pursued by the people at
large. Problems of class, race and ethnicity loom large in post-Independence. The question of whose festival should form the mandate for national expression graduated from topic for muted speculation to one for open study and debate. The controversy over Peter Minshall’s “Two Act” spectacle “River” in 1983 turned, it was felt, not only on the fact that he was a white Trinidadian attempting to change a black traditional popular genre with his “Eurocentric” innovations but that he used East Indian tassa drums to accompany his band.
the region with the further creolisation of Hosay, this phenomenon is likely to change even more. “People power” means, then, not only numerical majorities, but also cultural legitimacy in Caribbean terms. Politicians have not been slow to incorporate popular traditional activities such as festivals for their own legitimation as well as for ensuring that the chances of perpetuating the marginalisation of the mass of the population are minimised, if not totally obliterated.
Carnival is Trinidadian (read Black West InJamaica established in 1963 a Festival Commission (later, the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission) to give “national” focus to the many village and parish festivals that dated back to the turn of the century. The new Independence Festival activities today cover competitions in the performing arts to set syllabuses of wide-ranging categories of music, dance and drama, displays of traditional dance and music, a festival song contest, street dancing, festivities specially designed to celebrate the coming of Independence, and beauty contests.
Even the Spartan Dr. Eric Williams, former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, soon gave up the idea of discounting carnival. He released early enough in his 25 years reign that to his countrymen carnival is serious business.
All the ingredients of traditional Caribbean festival arts were incorporated into this new initiative by a Government anxious to provide unity and cultural focus for a new nation with a disparate social order, inherited and other-directed.
dian); Hosay is still seen as East Indian! Trinidad, like Guyana (where over 50 percent of the population is East Indian), is deemed to be West Indian. The recency of East Indian migration to the region and the seeming persistence of authentic elements form Mother India “disqualify” Hosay, as it were, from claiming West Indian authenticity at this time, in the way that the African-derived creole forms known as Carnival and Jonkonnu clearly are expected to do, Yet the continuing disappearance of alams in Jamaica and increased numbers of African descendants playing tassa drums all point to the authentic reconstruction of the festival in
Trinidad on the eve of Independence has established a Carnival Development Committee drawing into its official orbit many of the activities that were spontaneously and privately the remit of private individuals and groups of citizens. lt was necessary to ensure order in the hitherto sometimes contentious proceedings but also to harness a popular past-time into national channels. Jealously guarded Barbados with its crop-over festival was to do likewise in the seventies with the establish-
ment of a National Cultural Foundation that is responsible for the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA). That these official organisations take pains to project themselves as facilitators rather than stiflers of popular artistic spontaneity and creativity reveals the extent to which the authenticity of the Festival arts is jealously guarded. In any case political directorates would aver that they are mainly incorporating the “people’s expression” in order to affirm their legitimacy in and centrality to the new political dispensation in which the mass of the population are expected to participate, not only through their votes, but through the active on-going exercise of their creativity in giving form and purpose to the new society in Independence. At worst such political “interventions” are dismissed as a bread-and-circus appropriation of the people’s creativity. So there is no shortage of adverse criticism of officialdom’s “domination” of the Trinidad Carnival, Bermudan Gombey, the Bahamian Junkonoo and the Jamaican post-colonial “national festival”. Some people see the phenomenon as a means of social control through the politicalisation of art, ethics and the creative imagination. The term “cultural commissar” has even appeared as a term of abuse in public debate. Others take the opposite view. They see the “intervention” by government into festival arts activities as one of the surest guarantees of social cohesion, as provision for needed patronage either through direct money assistance or by way of facilitating cultural development through such institutional and operational frameworks as the Jamaican Festival and Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Development Committee (CDC) and the Barbados National Cultural Foundation (NCF). Small wonder Still, cynicism abounds in certain quarters where it is felt that Governments, in an effort
to control the initiative of the masses, feel it more expedient to join the masses than alienate them. So they exact loyalties by making the people obligated to officialdom rather than have them let loose to take their innovations into directions that may not be “in the national interest” (as perceived by the new power-wielders) or may be construed to constitute a crime against the social order. In any case the history of bannings throughout the region by the old colonial power did nothing to stop the growth and development of such festivals that grew in proportions to haunt the frightened governors. Small wonder that post-colonial native politicians decided to avoid such confrontations. Even the Spartan Dr. Eric Williams, former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, soon gave up the idea of discounting carnival. He released early enough in his 25 years reign that to his countrymen carnival is serious business. Was not a colonial governor forced to retreat from the attempts to ban Hosay earlier in the century? All over the region the dependence on the popular vote by private ballot dictates official indulgence, if not outright support, of such popular expressions. That government patronage can be a means of social control, there is no doubt in the minds of many grassroots leaders throughout the region. They repeatedly assert their independence from the Kingston based Jamaica Cultural Development Commission through the voluntary Festival committees spread all over Jamaica. Trinidad Best Village “festival” type competitions betray similar independence of spirit in defiance of the very government quarters responsible for their existence. And the pan men make it clear that they will not be dictated to by the Trinidad and Tobago Development Committee whenever they feel that the festival of the people is in danger of becoming the plaything of the bureaucrats. No Commonwealth Caribbean politician has so far been silly enough to ignore such signals – neither Eric Williams nor Forbes Burnham who have been autocrats to their siblings. C
Though ‘Art’ Worthy USING TALENTS TO DEVELOP A NATION By Ashlee Bartley In 2014, Jamaican Born Model Tami Williams became the first in the Caribbean to be featured on the Cover of French Elle Magazine; our songbird Tessanne Chin in 2013 became the first Jamaican to win the American reality talent show, The Voice and earlier this year, Ziggy Marley won a Grammy for the third time among several others of our talented reggae artistes. Also, in 2012 several students were afforded the opportunity to work on popular TV Show, America’s Next Top Model where an episode of the show was done here in Jamaica. This goes to show that already we are doing well in the creative sector on an international level which undoubtedly puts Jamaica on the radars of many investors who are interested in Jamaica’s creative industry. Our involvement in productions such as America’s Next Top Model also means monies are being spent within the industry earning thousands of people both temporary and permanent jobs. Globally, the creative industries have generated substantial portions of revenue for countries. For instance, Hollywood earns a significant amount of revenue from its film industry. The U.S. Film Industry has earned over 30 billion dollars in revenue per year since 2012 and is expected to increase to the high 30s by 2017 (Statista.com). In 2013/14, NewYork earned over USD $1 billion from its Broadway Shows, Madison Square Gardens, which is a major venue for hosting sporting and entertainment events, earned a total of USD$542.5 million in revenues in just its second fiscal quarter of this year. Additionally, the Fashion
Industry earns a total of USD$150 billion annually and the Music Industry in 2013 earned over 15 million dollars. Noticeably, all of the above are generators of significant revenue gains that contribute to the economic development of America. As we move to achieve Jamaica VISION 2030 through the implementation of the Economic Reform Programme (ERP), the Government has demonstrated that it recognizes the importance of the creative industry and is moving to continue growing the sector so that like the aforementioned industries in the United States and other parts of the world, Jamaica’s creative industry and its talents may become a greater force to be reckoned with. Through the Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC) an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC), plans are underfoot to foster growth within the sector for Entrepreneurs and MSMEs. A Fashion Resource Centre has been established as a means of generating revenue on a global scale for the country as well as creating job opportunities for many of Jamaican talents. A Craft Resource Centre was also established that will also generate employment as it is centered on utilizing authentic Jamaican talents to create aesthetically pleasing Jamaican crafts for retail purposes. Through these initiatives, talents are being developed and Jamaicans are earning themselves an opportunity for their work to not only be recognized but as an avenue for income generation.
Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), plays a significant role in aiding the process of promoting Jamaican talents and resources in a bid to attract investors to the country. In fact, JAMPRO at the time of writing this article is staging the first Jamaica Film Festival. This creates a platform for talents in the Film Industry to showcase their creative work. This is one of the many ways in which publicity for Jamaican creativity is being promoted throughout the island and beyond our shores; as a testimony that work is being done to grow the creative sector. It is now up to members and prospective members of the MSMEs, entrepreneurs and Jamaican talents to make use of the opportunities available to contribute to the development of their skills within the creative sector.
Statistics worldwide, indicate that the creative industry is a viable source for revenue and can add to nation building. Millions of dollars each year, worldwide are invested in the performing, visual, culinary, media and literary arts. The growth of the creative industry would allow for an expansion of employment opportunities, attract investors and contribute to the overall economic growth of the country. Jamaican talents are being recognized internationally and the creative sector is being developed. The possibility it holds is limitless. The time is now for Jamaicans to pool their creative
Globally, the creative industries have generated substantial portions of revenue for countries. For instance, Hollywood earns a significant amount of revenue from its film industry.
JAMPRO reports that, a total of US$900 million dollars was earned by the industry through linkages during the 2014/2015 financial year. [Linkages are monies spent within the industry as payments for goods and services rendered.] Additionally, for the year, 2014-2015, over 15,000 temporary jobs were created within the creative sector. In addition to the efforts being made by JAMPRO, the entertainment fraternity, which includes the Jamaica Federation of Musicians and Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JCAP), remain strident in their effort to establish a higher level of professionalism and development of talent. Moreover, the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office and the Broadcasting Commission have been established to protect the intellectual property of our artists/artistes which reduces the likelihood of local creative works being unfairly exploited. This is another way in which Jamaica is working to create an environment that fosters the growth and development of talent and support for the creative industry.
resources together. We must think outside the box, think creatively, think within and beyond Jamaica, think long term investment. The creative industry can be a catalyst for the growth and expansion of the economy, as we continue on the path to achieving Jamaica Vision 2030 which is to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business. C
CARIFESTAS: in search of regional unity By Rex Nettleford
As with individual countries of the Commonwealth Caribbean, so with the region as a whole. As part of the idea of an integrated Caribbean civilisation with underlying cultural unities underpinning the region as a political entity coming out of slavery and colonialism, the territories of the Caribbean have attempted to utilise the â&#x20AC;&#x153;festivalâ&#x20AC;? mechanism to forge that unity. All else had failed or so it seemed by the early Sixties. Political federation lasted three uncertain years (1958-61) until Jamaica pulled out of the referendum and the remaining ter-
ritories dissolved into independent states with one or two colonies still tied to Mother Britain. The Sixties saw the feverish activity in economic integration and out of that came the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as successor to a Caribbean Free Trade Area (CARIFTA) lt is the persistent cultural realties of a region with countries that most readily identify with each other through music, dance, the plastic arts and literature that emerge from time to time to remind its 5 or 6 million inhabitants, of a common history and the shared consequence of slavery,
the plantation and the creolisation process over the past half a millennium. The identification with each other in the wider Caribbean, wherever Africa met Europe on American soil, comes naturally through the responses of the marginalised mass to their oppression in new and hostile environments. Common feeling Festival arts, then, provide the variations on a common theme. The ingredients throughout share common feeling and intent even if the forms are different. Masquerade, to disguise and to affirm, is everywhere. lt is to be found in jonkonnu, carnival and the religious rituals which themselves are a form of festival sharing common practices, corresponding symbologies, similar exegeses whether it is Cuban
santeria, Jamaican pukkumina, Guyanese cumfah, Trinidadian shango, Haitian vodun, or the more Christian-oriented revivalism now modernising itself all over the region with the generous help of American televangelists. Caribbean economic integration aspirators followed cultural reality; and relations with Santo Domingo, Haiti, Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles and even Cuba (before the fall of Grenada) still inform the CARICOM vision following on early advocacy of Caribbean unity by the likes of Eric Williams and others. Such wider Caribbean integration takes on an urgency in the penultimate decade of the century in the light of the latter-day hegemonic perception on the part of the United States that the Caribbean basin (so-called) is to be penetrated, controlled and directed along
NDTC Singers and Musicians in Rex Nettlefordâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gerrehbenta (1983) led by Musical Director Ewan Simpson
lines dedicated by that Supper-power. Part of the resistance to this is an assertion in various quarters of the cultural distinctiveness of the region. One form of assertion is through the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA). Preceding its inception in 1972 was the Caribbean festival held in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1952 and the Anglophone festival of the arts in 1958 at the launching of the ill-fated West Indian Federation in Port of Spain, the federal capital. It took all of eight years to rekindle enthusiasm after the breakup of the federation. In the meantime, the steelpan ping-ponged its way into the Eastern Caribbean. One of the region’s most distinguished bands – Brute Force – came from Antigua. “Carnival” as a popular festival spread to all Eastern Caribbean territories, with some linking it not to the tradition pre-Lenten period but to times of significant national celebrations. Even far-away Jamaica could not escape. The leading soca band (soul/ calypso music) is Jamaica’s Byron Lee and
the Dragonaires. Trinidadian students on the Jamaica (Mona) campus of the University of the West Indies had introduced carnival to the campus in the early 1950’s in any case. There were “calypso hours” on Jamaican radio and by the mid-seventies Jamaica was to answer with the penetration of the entire region with its reggae. A Conference of writers and artists in Guyana coupled with the UNESCO conference on Culture and Conservation held in Jamaica in 1970 took place in an ambience of growing recognition of the importance of things artistic to regional unity. The Conservation Conference recommended appropriately that “Governments of the territories of the Caribbean be asked to support any action that might be initiated, especially periodical inter-Caribbean Festivals including films, art and tourist promotion in the region....” (see Nettleford: Caribbean Cultural Identity, Institute of Jamaica 1979 also UCLA, California, 1979). By 1972 Forbes Burnham, the Prime Minister of Guyana was ready to host the first
Carifesta featuring “Guyanese and Caribbean artists whose work in poetry, painting and sculpture project our dreams and visions and help to foster and develop a Caribbean personality...” The Jamaican organisers of the second Carifesta held in 1976 was at pains to declare that “Carifesta ‘76 continues to demonstrate the positive connection between cultural expression and the struggle for political and economic self-determination”. By 1976, the aims and objects of Carifesta could read as follows: - to expose peoples of the region to each other’s culture through creative activity, thus deepening their understanding of the native aspirations of the region; - to forge through cultural participation, closer relations in the region; - to demonstrate the importance of the arts as a unifying force in building a wholesome society; - to develop the content of our regional culture as well as its aesthetic forms. The one that followed took place in Cuba in 1979 when Cuba made assertive attempts to enter the Caribbean family in the full knowledge that identification with the arts of the people was one sure guarantee of the sort of linkages Fidel Castro sought with his neighbours. Then in 1981 the fourth Carifesta was held in Barbados. The event received mixed reviews from the participants, due largely to inadequate infrastructural resources to ensure smooth operations of the Festival. ‘Cynical exploitation’ Criticisms came from distinguished quarters. Derek Walcott the well-known St. Lucia-born poet/playwright dismissed it as a “Cynical exploitation” of West Indian artists for two weeks by West Indian governments who ignore them for the other 50 weeks of the year. Writers George Lamming and John Wickham were far more positive. Lamming saw Carifesta giving the region a chance to “heal and restore the rhythm
and beauty of that battered black body which it argued, and continues to argue, is ugly, graceless and without history”. Since 1981 the region itself has been beleaguered by all the afflictions of the developing Condition – debt burden, balance of payments difficulties, foreign exchange shortages, decline in bauxite and oil revenues, violence within states, military invasion as a part of the entrapment within the hegemonic combat between the two Superpowers, unemployment, drug abuse and drug related criminality. The reggae continues to flourish in Jamaica, in the region and beyond. Carnival remains vibrantly alive, Jonkonnu struggles to stay alive in its traditional form(s) but the theatre arts (especially dance) which it in part inspires, continues to thrive. Carifesta faded somewhat into the background even while conservative elements among the politicians in power promote Caribbean unity through the bonding of like-minded political parties pledged to saving the region from Leftism or anything that could take another island along the route that Maurice Bishop’s People’s Revolutionary Government journeyed in Grenada. Against this background of new-found confidence among these succeeding forces, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, himself not known to be a typical Caribbean integrationist, offered to host Carifesta in 1988 at a meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government in 1983. The old commitment of Caribbean unity and to political self-determination once again reared its head. Festival arts, along with political partisan linkages and intra-regional trade completed the trilogy of collaborative devices dictated by the commonalities of the region. For whatever is common to the historical experience and existential reality of the people of the region, cutting across geographical boundaries and time-span, is bound to be of importance to those who advocate unity or regional cooperation in grappling with
development issues. The phenomenon of Festivals (as of certain religious ritual practices already cited) is one such manifestation of regional commonalities. These festivals speak holistically to the ordinary folks world-views, self-perception, values about economic activity (i.e. in their choice of consumer goods, priority on time utilisation and work ethic) as well as to political and social organisation (as in their collaborative work on the design and execution of costumes and on festivities under a leader and on the basis of division of labour). Cultural Desk Many questions the value of all this in a modern society which requires sustained application more than the three-day “indulgence” of the pre-Lenten carnival and Christmas time jonkonnu. The level of professionalism and depth of concentration given these festivals in fact suggest a capacity for self-discipline and sustained work toward excellence goes the argument among advocates of Festival arts in national development. The Caribbean Community clearly concurs. A Cultural Desk installed in the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana, has as one of its major tasks the organisation and promotion of Carifesta. The time lapse between the Barbados event in 1981 and the planned Festival for 1988 in Jamaica was not lost on Caribbean Ministers of Culture who met in 1987 in Jamaica and instructed the Secretariat to convene a meeting of cultural agents from all over the region to advise CARICOM on a regional cultural policy. The meeting held in Port of Spain in June 1987 discussed Carifesta and focused on problems of cost and on infra-structural hosting facilities in most CARICOM countries. The idea of mini-festivals reemerged from its Barbados Carifesta origins. Despite the reservation about large, multi-disciplinary single location Carifestas, the idea of regional festivals remained
a binding commitment in the interest of regional unity. A “tentative schedule” was recommended for the 1990s with similar scale festivals alternating every two years with “major multi-disciplinary event(s) starting in 1991. The Regional Cultural Committee further proposed that national participation in Carifesta should be limited to Caribbean islands, CARICOM members, observers to CARICOM, and communities in other parts of the world with strong historical links with the Caribbean. This not only covers 12 CARICOM countries but also Cayman, Cuba, Haiti, Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico, US and British Virgin Islands, Netherlands Antilles including Aruba and Curacao, Martinique, Guadeloupe and Suriname as well as Caribbean people in the metropolis. Dogged by costs Yet there is as strong a view that Festival arts are yet to inform in any serious way public policy within Caribbean nations or regionally. The 1988 Carifesta plans are already dogged by the questions of cost. It has had to be postponed pending redrafting and an overhaul of the entire idea of the regional festival. An estimate of $25 million dollars (Jamaican) for the event if it were to be conducted on the lines of 1976 is naturally prohibitive in a country which is barely managing to balance its national budget. Among many planners Festival arts are still seen as something divorced from everyday life. Matters are clearly not helped when a modern commentator on the Trinidad carnival assesses Peter Minshall’s seriousness of purpose in his concepts and designs, as possibly “inappropriate to medium, mas, in which he seeks to deliver” his message, since “our Carnival is all about life, an annual celebration that defied death’s dominion, a freeing of the spirit rather than a shackling of the soul. And mas, for the majority of us, is the opportunity to embrace hedonism, certainly not the time to agonise over
the inevitability of death”. The economic planner may have no wish to facilitate the embrace of hedonism in the face of intractable problems surrounding low productivity, negative growth, and the international debt. Many a hard-used planner steeped in his theories no doubt see these festivals as indulgences of the lower classes or entertainments of the minstrelsy genre designed to amuse as respite from months of hardships. The work of ethnographers, social anthropologists and cultural historians notwithstanding, the economic variables of GDP and GNP and remain the acceptable indicators of progress. Lip-service is indeed given to the investment in human resources as a development imperative but the centrality of human creativity (individual and collective) and the reality of the cultural context still take second-place to notions of getting hordes of people “trained” to manage the technology being transferred from the North Atlantic.
Peter Minshall, the bete blanc of Trinidad Carnival arts, challenged his peers to face the implications of some of this with a magnificent “technologically conceived” Man-Crab which won the title of King of Carnival for 1983. He made his statement, having technology rape the organic product from the River (the environment?) his detractors were suitably confused but he played mas in the spirit of Carnival dating back well over a century and a half. For the Festival arts, like other innovations out of the creative imagination of the people from below have long demonstrated the ability of Caribbean people to assimilate, adapt and finally to innovate – in short to be the creative agents of their destiny, to be the subjects rather that the objects in the complex process of cross-fertilization. And Peter Minshall, as the consummate Carnival artist, is the epitome of this spirit of Carnival survival and development. Most Trinidadians who care about carnival (and a great many of them are “the ordinary folk”) grasp this fact instinctively. C
EDNA MANLEY COLLEGE OF THE VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS Mandated to reflect the Caribbean Cultural Reality in Research, Performance and Service
By Denise Salmon The belief some have that performance is not an authentic and legitimate area of research in the arts is questionable. The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts responds, by proving that the research output of faculty and students bears testimony to a vision for research as an academic rigor. Visual and performing arts institutions use performance in all aspects of the arts bearing in mind that visual artists, though not usually associated with performance, are in a contemporary art world, using movement in installation art and in other expanded ways of interpreting their creativity. Performance studies as an entire academic discipline devoted to embodied performance theorizes, analyzes and provides expanded multicultural and multidisciplinary ways of interpreting creativity through research and documentation. Research studies in performance thrive in various tertiary institutions including the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. 34
Malungu, Chor. Clive Thompson (2013) Karl McKenzie Chin Photography
Performers in dance, music and drama will all agree that they arrived at the final product through a process of interrogation, in comparing and contrasting contestations in the artistic process, while they employed a variety of performance approaches in final outputs. Laura Facey is Edna’s Alumna; “Awakening”, was her performance art piece, included in the National Gallery of Jamaica exhibition in 2012. She co-opted Melda Dalling and the St. Ann Citizens Cultural Group performers for the piece, some of whom came dressed as they were depicted in her drawing. They danced among persons attending the opening ceremony of the exhibition. The drawing and performance were viewed as a single piece of artwork. Ebony Patterson is also Edna’s Alumna, look online for her 2014 work entitled, “Invisible Presence: Bling Memories”. Performed on carnival day, the crowd would have seen her decorated coffins moving in a procession of music and spectacle, all aimed at examining the contested terrain of funeral practices, bling culture and the symbolism of those who died in the Tivoli Incursion. She called it her moving installation. 35
Similarly, Deborah Thomas in “Modern Blackness, Nationalism, Globalization and the Politics of Culture in Jamaica” (2004), provides details of a community-based production in Mango Mount and Winsome’s roots play which “explored the intersections of sex, money and power” in human relationships (p.235). The themes of Winsome’s play include those related to feminism, sexuality and morality. This ethnographic account of a low budget roots play exemplifies, along with Facey’s and Patterson’s work, the ongoing use of performance to explain and define the political realities of communities in a postmodern era. Winsome may not be an Edna’s graduate, but she used similar ways and processes to define her art. These are classic examples of performance art, defined within a genre where art is presented live by the artist and collaborators. Ask these artists about the sequence of events utilized in getting them to that point of presentation and they will tell you that the journey took them along a pathway of research. The approach is representative of projects for cultural development using a new Jamaican aesthetic or a Modern Blackness approach to the way a new Jamaican aesthetic is defined and produced. Thomas (2004) defines Modern Blackness within contemporary ideas of the question which asks what it means to be black in a postcolonial society. Common threads
flowing through the works discussed answer this question by representing ideas on postcolonial culture portrayed in Facey’s work, ghetto fabulous portrayals seen in Patterson’s work and the postmodern political, social and economic points used in Winsome’s play. Performance as applied research should not assume in planning processes that the onlooker understands steps undertaken in the interdisciplinary processes utilized, assembling as it does multiple resources, required in creative scholarship. Not to be assumed also, is the ability of the onlooker to understand tensions in a creative process which oftentimes become problematic due to a lack of agreement that this is not a hobby but serious academic work. Those who are well acquainted with the College’s purpose and with the application of performance studies would not ask if artistic practice is considered a form of research. They would understand that the research output is not for entertainment and a feel good utility only; it is also an important aspect of the interpretation and use of movement and space in the academy. The College’s research output in performance is distinctive; it provides an important opportunity for Jamaica and the Caribbean through a Mission
NDTC Singers and Musicians in Eduardo Rivero-Walker’s Sulkari (1971)
Statement which promises to provide tertiary education and quality training in the arts as a service to Jamaica and the English-speaking Caribbean. The College is uniquely placed for this role, given its mandate to educate on cultural forms, to encourage and support generations of creative arts practitioners in producing and sharing innovative artistic ideas. Rex Nettleford, in his seminal text Caribbean Cultural Identity (2003), understood the extent to which research would be beneficial to the arts. He wanted the School of Dance to continue along an already established pathway of research activities and suggested that the School takes seriously the research function, “with the experiments of Tutors being the basis of analysis and testing and eventual codification for use by dancers and teachers of dance in the generation to come” (p. 82). The applicability of this notion has found its place in all schools on the campus, since that suggestion was made. The establishment of a Research Day, the Rex Nettleford Arts conference and the Jonkonnu Arts Journal for publishing works presented at the conference are all testaments to a sound framework for the continuing research the College undertakes. The various research projects add to the discourse on creativity and serve as a locus from which artistic ideas germinate. UNESCO’s 2009 world conference on higher education produced a report which identified research as a mission for the modern university; implied in the document, are the complimentary relationships between research, innovation and creativity in a knowledge based society where information is a key determinant of how policy is developed and managed. The overarching conference theme examined ideas related to “Research for Societal Change and Development” UNESCO aimed to encourage tertiary institutions to become drivers for the use of research as a change-agent for development. Understanding that the College has a role in providing and sharing cultural knowledge through education and its position as the premier educational institution of the visual and performing arts in Jamaica and the English-speaking Caribbean, requires that it preserves, through research, documentation and archiving, culturally appropriate information for public consumption in a postcolonial Jamaica, where cultural knowledge has shifted to embrace a Jamaican aesthetic. The tertiary world has long defined and placed institutions within inner and outer circle spaces, demarcated by a perception that institutions produce new ideas through academic enquiry. Highly recognized institutions are defined as having inner circle reputations. The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts should be highly recognized and viewed as a centre of excellence within the inner circle and funded accordingly, since programmes and infrastructure are expensive to maintain and must be sustained at international standards. All must remember that no other institution in Jamaica and the English-speaking Caribbean can provide the combined level of quality service in education, in the visual and performing arts. C
When God created the earth, He first created the drummer (Ghanaian proverb)
MIRRORING CARIBBEAN REALITY NDTC Singers in Performance
By Rex Nettleford
The proven capacity of the peoples of the Caribbean to determine their own destiny against all efforts to deprive them of the will to do so, prompts one top predict that Caribbean Festival arts, in their traditional or “revised” and transmitted forms, are likely to sustain their relevance to Caribbean society. They are after all manifestations of many of the key elements in the dynamics of Caribbean existence, even bringing into focus some of the deeper social forces that determine and define Caribbean contemporary reality.
The reality expresses itself in politics no less where the political culture is rooted in Westminster democracy in principle but expected to function, in practice, on the rules forged largely by the people of African ancestry. Only time can determine whether the influence of Hosay of the Muslims and Divali of the Hindus will transform in a deeply organic way the Euro-African or Afro-Creole nature of Festivals and by implication of Caribbean life itself. The African Presence at the Centre of Caribbean Ethos
The Creolisation Process All great civilisations are the result of cross-fertilisation. No exaggerated claims need, then, be made for the Caribbean on this most fundamental of social and cultural formation among human beings anywhere on the planet. Different peoples torn involuntarily, in some cases, and in others voluntarily brought from ancestral hearths, from old civilisations of Africa and Europe and later from the Orient, met on foreign soil in the Americas where were to be found old indigenous civilisations. The encounters in conditions of attraction and repulsion were to create creolised forms of social living which are today still in the process of sorting themselves out. The Caribbean as a distinct part of that historical experience developed its own variant(s) of this American phenomenon in the complex relationships that developed between enslaved Africans and European overlords both displacing in most places the indigenous Amerindians by the sheer weight of numbers and consolidating their social structures into a dialectical (some would say schizophrenic) mode of co-existence that persists to this day. By the time the Iatecomer East Indians, Chinese and Lebanese from the Levantine Coast entered the region, the rules of the game had been laid; and not even the overriding fact of number evident in the majority East Indian population in Guyana and all sizable minority of the same group in Trinidad has been able to jerk those countries of the region out of their historical Euro-African or Afro-Creole reality. Carnival and jonkonnu are unashamedly Afro-Creole or Euro-African expressions claiming a particular authenticity over Divali (Festival of Lights) and Hosay as genuine ancestral Caribbean expressions.
For the African Presence is yet to be universally acknowledged as being at the centre of the Caribbean ethos. The disparate elements have indeed been “creolised” (adapted, adjusted, created, transformed) over time into native-born entities that are no longer the clones of their separate origins. There is no surprise, then, that jonkonnu should have flourished, having found form and identity, after the long period between 1807 when the slave trade was abolished and 1834-1838, the period of Emancipation. An entire new generation of West Indian slaves had in fact grown up without the benefit of refreshing from the Guinea Coast. Much that became “West Indian” or “Caribbean” was actually forged in the crucible of the African experience in the Americas. The Africanisation of the European was no less important to the creolisation process than the Europeanisation of the African. In any case, the African slave could not return “home” as his European masters could. And without the capacity, right or opportunity to determine the values of the governing group, the African devised rules, customs, values for their survival. Europe indeed governed while Africa ruled, and so did the history of its early common people (the Africans) who brought to economic activity and to social and cultural life all the energy and creativity by which Caribbean slave society existed. The energy extended to political life in the unending resistance to political authority either by the slaves themselves or by their masters in pursuit of total hegemony over their human property, sometimes even in the defiance of the enlightened and liberal views of their colonial colleagues in the metropole. The struggle was complex, continuous and unrelenting.
This was to persist after Emancipation in the English-speaking countries and much later in no less a place than Cuba where slave resistance and the struggles of Black Cubans in Oriente province figure prominently in the historical process of struggle that was to make Castro’s revolution possible and meaningful in 1959 and after. Today Castro not only insists that he is a Caribbean man and his Cuba a Caribbean nation, but he also is demanding that the leadership profile of the Cuban Communist Party reflect more faithfully the ethnic realities of Cuba. The African presence indeed continues to be understated in Cuba’s politics though not in its “comparsas, cabildos and the religious santeria,” regarded as the heartland of the Cuban cultural reality. Jamaica is Black and Cuba is Mulatto, said the Cuban poet laureate Nicolas Guillen in the Thirties. It was a poetic assertion of the power of the African Presence in two of the more populous countries of the region. The implications for politics and economics should be self-evident. But this is not necessarily so to the decision-takers concerned with development except in times when political leaders in their desire to impress visiting potentates or tourists (who bring in much needed hard currency), showcase the Black population’s capacities for singing, dancing, dressing-up in fancy costumes and acrobatics which are what the Festivals have frequently been mistaken merely to be. Mast and Metaphor But to the ordinary people who make the festivals, Festival arts are more than minstrelsy. They serve as devices for affirming the use of the mask, literally and metaphorically, in coming to terms or coping with an environment that is yet to work in their interest, a society that is yet to be mastered and controlled by them despite the coming of Independence. The ambush of the society under the cover of masquerades in Festivals has long been one way of attempting control, if only a temporary one. Three days of satirical comment on a boorish society by those who suffered most from the affliction was a good safety valve wisely left open in the steaming cauldron. Contemporary existence still employs such devices as allegory, double entendre in language,
code-switching in speech, to facilitate encounters with the contractions of a grouping society. The politicians are the butt of the calypsonian’s savage wit and ribald humour to this day. Establishment heartlessness comes in for its share of trenchant criticism through parabolic comment in the lyrics of reggae. “Masking” has extended from the Festivals to everyday life which had been the source of Festival arts originally. Opportunities for this natural outlet are consciously allowed people with remarkably low level of official censorship even though a few calypsos and reggae pieces have been banned in recent times. Many students of Caribbean society past and present, see the Festivals as a temporary respite from a world of drudgery, hardship and toil whether under slavery, in colonialism with free but still exploited labour, or in post-independence with its immiseration of the urban lumpen. But it is also a means for positive expression of people’s world-views and sense of self. To be a King or a Queen for a day or two may well speak to a deep aspiration for the recognition and status that elude the denigrated African in exile, the alienated worker, the jobless citizen with little sense of hope otherwise. Among the Rastafarians the masks are dropped. The Rastafarian believer needs no festival as prop for his claims to the kingliness of his personhood. He crows his woman, “queen”. She attends him in the Court of Jah. The decline jonkonnu among the younger generation throughout the Sixties and Seventies may indeed be attributed to the supercession of that ancestral imagery by the contemporary equivocating Rastafarian movement. ln Trinidad carnival, there are kings and queens a-plenty. They receive recognition and status from an adoring populace as well as from officialdom. Calypsonians take on royal titles with or without the benefit of Carnival coronation. The society in Independence increasingly understands the significance of all this. National honours go to the calypsonians and other exponents of Festival arts. The Mighty Sparrow, the calypso king, is in private life Dr. Slinger Francisco, D. Litt (honoris causa) of the University of the West Indies. Hosay no doubt does for the East Indians what African-derived Carnival and jonkonnu did for the migrant Africans in demarginalising them in a so-
Jesse Golding and Henry Miller in Rex Nettleford’s Drumscore (1979)
ciety that functions on an agenda not of their making. Trinidad, Jamaica, and Guyana where Hosay is to be found are not regarded as “East lndian” societies. The muslims and hindu religion-cultural factor remains secondary to the ideals long rooted in Christian culture challenged, albeit, by the insolent and sometimes barely disguised (masked?) defiance of African belief-systems some of which lie dormant as a tactical convenience but are by no means dead.
and the Independence Festival in Jamaica, the Carnival Development Committee and the threeday display of the zest for life in Trinidad, the National Foundation for the Arts and the cropover Festival in Barbados along with counterpart organisations and activities in the rest of the independent Caribbean bear testimony to the significance such activities have for the region in quest of self-definition and appropriate designs for living.
The masking devises of the exiled African in the Caribbean finds parallels among the exiled East Indians of Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Jamaica in Hosay. The product may indeed be different but the process is similar. For both set of marginalised souls, metaphor, the mask and masquerading are among the tools of liberation from the uncertainties consequent on “uprooting”.
The historical antecedents of Jonkonnu, masquerade or gombey, of the pre-Lenten carnival and more recently of East Indian hosay or divali serve the region well in helping to draw on its historical memory and develop organically out of the realities of its own being. Cultural policies are more than opportunists devices aimed at capturing the loyalties of a fun-loving populace. They are integral to the development strategies that are necessary to move the mass of Caribbean populations from periphery to centre-stage within their own polities and social structures.
Postscript Uprooting has long given way to creative acts of constructing, shaping, defining self and society. Festival arts, as one of the earliest manifestations of this complex, awesome and inescapable process continue to have relevance for the entire Caribbean in addressing issues of social transformation. JCDC
For this is a major challenge for leadership in the Caribbean today and in that foreseeable future leading us to the third millennium.C
Mark Phinn in Kevin Mooreâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s I find no peace... (2015)
Gender in the Arts: The Case of Vision 2030 Jamaica National Development Plan By Keino T. Senior The ongoing transformation of gender roles and the association that undergirds it, and by extension perpetuate individuals’ resistance with self -identity and interpersonal relationships, make gender a multifarious issue especially when tied to the arts. In an era where dominance hierarchies are being challenged and with the onset of genetic engineering, an attempt to understand gender construction is of particular significance. The discourse on masculinities and femininities highlights and elucidates how gender is socially, historically, ideologically and culturally constructed and transformed through a critical medium of communication in the arts. A prevailing discourse, is how dance, as a popular art form in Jamaica, generally positions male dancers as being disadvantaged because of the stereotyping and discrimination that underpins males who study dance formally and in particular other dance forms than dancehall. Males have been disadvantaged, and this has occurred because of elements of dance being characterised as feminine and the convergence of society in an “intimate reciprocal and contradictory” relationship to shape and define the reality of manhood (Lorde, 1995, p. 5). Indeed the writings of National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC’s) co-founder and scholar Professor Rex Nettleford, dating as far back as the 1960s, represent not only an important source of a highly pragmatic and moralistic Afro -centric Jamaican social philosophy, but has defended a black male at the forefront of dance. As a male dancer himself, Nettleford’s
works analyse the cultural and ideological complexities and find appropriate ways to represent his conceptual experience of people of African descent. Nettleford’s establishment of the NDTC is not only the product of the nationalist period dating back to the 1950s and 60s but represents the efforts of black Jamaica to deal with the legacies of the post Emancipation period in Jamaican society in which the independence period is but one important movement (Lewis, 1997). Centrally, connected to Nettleford’s legacy was the role he played in championing male dancers and formed what I called “masculinities gendered identity”. In a philosophical perspective, identity is usually understood to mean sameness over a period of time. However, Barriteau (2000) and Bailey (2007) have challenged gender stereotyping. They believe that the starting point of change, is to reconsider the ways boys and girls are socialised into binary categories (male or female) through gender role socialization a role which is particularly reinforced through our socio-cultural factors in schools, the family, church, in the media and peer groups. Nettleford’s “masculinities gendered identity” however was as a result of this socialisation and an effort to include the male dancer’s identity in the definition of masculinities in Jamaica. In art, gender stereotyping exists in all the visual and performing art forms. This is due to the fact that Caribbean society continues to see gender as a binary construction which is fixed as either masculine or feminine despite the fact that feminist movement groups have
sought to change the ideology that society must be patriarchal in nature and dominated by men; and also to the view that a man who displays feminine characteristics is viewed as being not masculine. As such, there has always existed this major division between masculinity and femininity in the practice and understanding of the arts. The dominant patriarchal system continues to reinforce the power within the relationship between male and female. Two of the most important historical factors that influence gender in the arts are plantation slavery (Beckles, 2004) and indentureship (Shepherd, 2004). Both the plantation system and indentureship had significant demarcation of gender roles and the different ways the concepts of masculinities and femininities developed along the lines of race. The enslaved were uprooted from their homes which would have played the normalising role of socialisation which by extension reinforced male/female relations. Some of these enslaved people were relocated to the Caribbean, thus providing new grounds in which gender relations could be re-structured among the enslaved. The historical legacies of these two systems impact the understanding of Jamaican aesthetics and the particular configuration of the practice of the arts in colonial and post colonial era which exists today in the most evasive ways. There remains a myth that Africans attained their highest level of culture during enslavement and were civilised by white men. However this myth would negate the black cultural heritage and the cultural traditions of the slaves which were based on the African ethnic groups as the basic family unit. The Jamaican aesthetic experience therefore encompasses the perceptions and appreciations that black people have regarding the cultural historical, philosophical and participatory elements of their art. In the Anglophone Caribbean however gender in the arts has holistically been unexamined and untheorised. As I reflect on the ideas and practice of gender in the arts in the Anglophone Caribbean as a lecturer in gender studies, I believe that in
order to fully educate Jamaica’s people and to accomplish the Vision 2030 Jamaica National Development Plan, gender should be an integral part of the arts in Jamaica. Development planning has had a long tradition in Jamaica. The first national development plan was prepared as early as 1947 and the most recent for the period 1990-1995. While capacity to generate medium- and long-term planning in the public sector has grown, review of this development planning tradition has identified weaknesses (PIOJ, 2009, p. 11). In relation to the arts, the National Culture Policy of 2003 has identified the important role of culture in national development through promotion of positive national self-identity; development of cultural industries and institutions; and cultural linkages to education, science and technology and other economic industries and sectors incorporating the arts. On the other hand, the government in its bid to address gender issues in its Vision 2030 Jamaica National Development Plan has committed to achieving gender equality. However the linkages between gender and industries, in this case the creative industries and the arts in particular, are not noticeable in any of the development plans of the nation. I propose that gender mainstreaming is one way to achieving this gender equality in all spheres. Gender mainstreaming however is not a new concept and, as an approach, was agreed on at the Fourth World Conference on women held in Beijing in 1995 as part of the overall strategy for gender equality. The local Bureau of Women’s Affairs [BWA] (2012) indicated that this was also reiterated at several global meetings and in its efforts has endeavoured to promote gender equality at the governmental and policy making levels. In 1996, the BWA noted that the Cabinet Office gave a directive that the principle of gender mainstreaming be actualised, that is, making both women’s and men’s concerns and experiences an integral part in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all public policies and programmes. Although
Kemar Francis in Troy Powellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s critically acclaimed Unscathed (2015)
the mandate of BWA, the government office with responsibility for gender affairs does not address the arts directly, it has recently embarked on including arts organisations incorporating the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA). The aim of this incorporation is to establish Gender Focal Points within public sector and agencies. The focal point supports the implementation of gender mainstreaming process, serve as an in house gender advocate, and provide support for the development of gender sensitive policies and programmes. In keeping with the BWAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mission in particular, I established an annual gender and development lecture at EMCVPA in 2010 to specifically look at gender in the arts. The
Mark Phinn in Kevin Mooreâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s I find no peace... (2015)
College has therefore been benefitting not only from courses in gender and development, but also from the lecture. The evidence is in the incorporation of gender theories in the studio practice and internationally recognised works of students and graduates of the College. For example, Sandra Green, 2013 EMCVPA Graduate, in her final year School of Visual Arts exhibition engaged the motif and visual rhetoric of female sexuality, sensuality and sensibility. Her work explored the issues of female sex-
uality in the context of a heterosexual space, paying special attention to the appearance of vulvas in terms of size, shape, colour and texture. The vulvas presented ranged from powerful and majestic to ambiguous. In the same breath, Green’s work used feminine symbolism and metaphorical emblems to narrowly highlight ways in which female sexuality is controlled and oppressed by Caribbean patriarchal ideologies. For gender in the arts to be mainstreamed nationally however, its treatment, even with inclusion in policy documents, needs to move from a micro or macro level to a national concern. It is commendable that Jamaica’s
government has made strides to address both gender issues and the arts in its policies and programmes especially documented in the Vision 2030, however their needs to be a greater effort to treat with gender and the arts specifically. I recommend that as arts organisations and institutions, including the NDTC, advance, gender mainstreaming also becomes an integral component of not only their governing policies and programmes, but also their activities and productions. There should be no doubt, for the person looking on, that gender equality is a priority for the arts. I also propose that there is a need to introduce and intersect gender in all art forms with a clear aim for individuals to understand that the dynamics of gender stereotyping hinders individuals from developing their art form, which is another discussion about the impact of arts and culture on national and economic development. C
REFERENCES Bailey, B. (2007, November). Political economy of male underachievement. Paper presented at the UNICEF and CARICOM Sub-Regional Meeting Conference on the Unspoken Gender Dimension: Boys and Education, Belize City, Belize. Barriteau, V. E. (2000). Examining the issues of men, male marginalization and masculinity in the Caribbean. (Working Paper No. 4). Barbados: Nita Barrow Unit: Institute for Gender and Development Studies. Barrow, C. (1986). Male images of women in Barbados. Social and Economic Studies, 35, 51-64. Beckles, H. (1995). Sex and gender in the historiography of Caribbean slavery. In B. Brereton, B. Bailey & V. Shepherd (Eds.), Engendering history: Caribbean women in historical perspectives (pp. 125-138). Jamaica: Ian Randle Publishers Bureau of Women’s Affairs ( 2012) Gender mainstreaming Process- Establishment of Gender Focal Points. Office of the Prime Minister, Kingston. Lewis, R. (1997). Nettleford’s Critique of the Black Elite Caribbean Quaterly, 43, (2), 16- 30. Lorde, A. (1995). Gender, race and class: a sociological perspective (3rd ed.) Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Planning Institute of Jamaica (2001). Vision 2030 National Development Plan. Jamaica: Planning Institute of Jamaica. Shepherd, V. (2004). Gender history, education and development in Jamaica. In B. Bailey & E. Leo-Rhynie (Eds), Gender in the 21st Century: Perspectives, visions and possibilities (pp. 61-81). Jamaica: Ian Randle Publishers.
CONTRIBUTORS Festival Arts and Caribbean Development The Hon. Rex Nettleford was Co-Founder of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) and sole Artistic Director from 1967-2010. A Rhode Scholar and Distinguished Fellow at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Rex Nettleford is a leading Caribbean academic and has served as Vice Chancellor (UWI) and editor of Caribbean Quarterly – the University’s Cultural Studies Journal. In 1975 He was awarded the high national honour of Order of Merit; in 1981 the prestigious Gold Musgrave Medal and in 2008 the high ranking Order of the Caribbean Community for his artistic and scholarly work. He was also the recipient of several honorary doctorates from Universities on both sides of the Atlantic. Prof. Nettleford has authored Mirror, Mirror: Identity, Race and Protest in Jamaica; Caribbean Cultural Identity – The Case of Jamaica; Roots and Rhythms; Dance Jamaica: Cultural Definition and Artistic Discovery; Inward Stretch, Outward Reach – A Voice from the Caribbean among other publications.
The Role of Jamaica Cultural Development Commission in Realising Vision 2030 Elizabeth Smith is the Research and Information Manager at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission. She manages the Research, Documentation and Information Unit within the Corporate Services Division which is based at the Commission’s corporate office. Ms. Smith holds a Master of Arts in Heritage Studies from the University of the West Indies Mona. She is a member of the Technical Working Group Committee for the National Creative and Cultural Industries Policy, Office of the Prime Minister.
Though ‘Art’ Worthy: Using Talents to Develop a Nation Ashlee Bartley is a graduate of Northern Caribbean University where she pursued her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication, with an emphasis in Public Relations. She currently works as a Graduate Trainee in the Communication and Public Relations Branch at the Ministry of Finance and Planning. Ashlee has been on stage for over 10 years as a singer and has worked as an entertainment coordinator in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry as an actress, singer, dancer and social director.
EDNA Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts – Mandated to reflect the Caribbean Cultural Reality in Research, Performance and Service Denise Salmon is Vice Principal for Administration and Resource Development at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts since 2007. In this capacity, she ensures that major aspects of the College’s operational resources are optimally deployed in support of the vision and mission. Outside of her job she is interested in community development and mentors less privileged students on the best path for educational success. She holds a diploma in textiles from the Cultural Training Centre, now the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of the West Indies, Mona. She is a member of the college’s alumni association and is an artist in her own right.
GENder in the Arts: The Case of Vision 2030 Jamaica National Development Plan Dr. Keino T. Senior, Senior Lecturer in Research at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA), is an international Gender and Development Consultant. He is the co-chair of the Rex Nettleford Arts Conference since its inception in 2011; and editor of the Jonkonnu Arts Journal. He is also the Founder and Chair of the annual Gender and Development Lecture and Gender Focal Point at EMCVPA.
The NDTC Journal is produced by members of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) of Jamaica. The publication, which began in 1968 as the NDTC Newsletter, serves as an invaluable source of information for Members (past and present), patrons (potential and current) and associates of the NDTC. The wider artistic community also benefits from the Journal as it shares matters relating to the Arts, Education and Dance Theatre in Jamaica, the Caribbean and wider Diaspora. All photographs are by Stuart Reeves except for where stated.
Marlon Simms (King) in Rex Nettlefordâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Kumina (1971)
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