wonder of the world: CARIFESTA X - An Alternative to the same old, same oldThe Bookman, a blog from Trinidad and Tobago, muses on art, CARIFESTA, and society. It's not coincidental, I think, that this week I've been to two talks already about the same thing: one on Wednesday at PopOp Studios about CARIFESTA XI to be held in The Bahamas, and one last night at Chapter One Bookstore about the role of the writer in society. At the end of the panel discussion from last night, where six of us, writers from very different backgrounds and with very different bodies of work, spoke about that role, we were answered in the discussion that followed by a visual artist who told us that our conversations were not isolated, that they were happening all around the country. Something is happening nationwide about the Caribbean arts. Perhaps we are coming into ourselves. The Bookman suggests that perhaps this something is happening regionally. Because I believe in the latter, I'm going to quote from The Bookman's comment on CARIFESTA X to illustrate, just a little, what I mean, and what I hope:
One cannot help but feel that art is held as a fringe. That artists are at the edges of society, almost invisible, except for moments when society is engaged with it and comments on talent. It is always the same trite comment at that, that there is so much talent in Trinidad and Tobago…and? What are we doing about it?...So I am going around in circles with my point. The public need to be educated about what is happening in the arts locally and regionally. The corporate world needs to get more involved in the arts and make it much more relevant to their own business mandates, and the artists themselves must start to hold themselves to the highest standards, look at their profession as deserving of much more than handouts and government support and we need to be very loud and clear about just how much we mean to our society by having alternative spaces to show our work and encourage the society to see that we mean business and that it isn’t business as usual.