Tag Archives: Antigua

A & B Arts Round-up March 22nd 2017 –>

Saturday 13th May, 2017 – Wadadli Stories Book Fair – 10am to 8pm, St. John’s City. N.B. the results of the 2017 Wadadli Pen Challenge will be announced at this event and the winners awarded.

April 8th 2017 – Antigua Barbuda Horticultural Society 8th Annual Flower and Garden Show will be held at the Agave Gardens, Friars Hill Road.

March 24th 2017 – TOSTEM ’emancipation stories’ Museum Project fundraiser: BOX HAN TICKET Dishes from Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon, e.g. Ndole, Roast Fish,Ayamase, Mbongo Chobi, Jollof Rice, Moinmoin AND MORE….. TICKETS: AT THE MUSEUM Long Street, CAROLYN PERRY Community Development, ALTHEA CARTY, ABIGAIL TEAGUE, CHANTELLE TOMLINSON, MARIA BRADSHAW, JOY LAWRENCE, SEKOU LUKE, OR FROM Edith Oladele  AT THE EXHIBITION AT THE PUBLIC LIBRARY 3RD FLOORPRINCE KLAAS EXHIBITION Programme cover. TEL: 771959 OR 7827707 (include image)


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Wadadli in BIM

Some of our students brought a little Wadadli flavor to the UWI Cave Hill campus in Barbados recently. Here are some highlights courtesy (Cushion Clubber for Life) Latisha Browne.

The night’s performances included dedications to some of Antigua and Barbuda’s historical icons – through dress and mime – Oscar Mason, Short Shirt, Gwen Tonge, and national hero Nellie Robinson. Beyond the Short Shirt mention, there was also a calypso corner, where a student, Terro Ralph, did a tribute to Short Shirt, singing ‘Nobody Go Run Me’. Soca wasn’t left out – the university students also shared synopses of the careers of CP, Tizzy, and Tian while other students pretended to be them. During the mas segment, the students wore costumes from party bands Fantasy 268, Myst, and Dumz Tree. During the week there was also a panel discussion and a beer lime with music by DJ Elementz from Antigua, giving a bit of home.

Thanks, Latisha, for sharing how our student ambassadors are helping spread Antiguan and Barbudan arts and culture.



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“Gender Equality in Antigua and Barbuda” – Call for Papers

The University of the West Indies Open Campus Antigua and Barbuda
The Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association


Our 11th Annual Conference
Distinguished Lecture


The University of the West Indies Open Campus Antigua

August 11–12, 2016
Greetings All! Welcome to the call for papers for the 11th in the series of annual conferences on Antigua and Barbuda that have been jointly organized by the University of the West Indies Open Campus Antigua and Barbuda (UWI) and the Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association (ABSA). Many of the papers from last year’s historic 10th Anniversary conference will be published in this year’s issue of The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books. For 2016, the theme of our conference will be “Gender Equality in Antigua and Barbuda”. Our keynote speaker will be Professor Natasha Lightfoot, author of the recently published book, Troubling Freedom: Antigua and the Aftermath of British Emancipation. It is our hope that you will be interested in presenting a paper at this important conference.

The changing relations between men and women in Antigua and Barbuda have been for some time now an intensely debated social issue. It is the theme of this year’s conference as a result of overwhelming demand. No other suggested topic came close. Clearly the time to take up this issue in the context of this particular forum has come.

Like many of the other societies of our region and across the globe, Antigua and Barbuda has been going through major changes in gender relations. These changes have been both structural and cultural in nature. That is, they are taking place at the levels of organizations and institutions as well as in the areas of identity construction and the narratives that legitimate our changing male and female identities. These significant changes in gender relations have been driven by the power of four historically reinforcing social movements aimed at changing or reforming the dominant capitalist social order. The first was the Pan African Movement of the early decades of the 20th century, which re-ignited the struggle against colonialism and anti-black racism in Antigua and Barbuda. The second was the international Workers Movement of the 1930s, which gave rise to the trade union movement in Antigua and Barbuda. Third, were the nationalist and civil rights movements across the Caribbean, Africa and Black America, which brought political independence to Antigua and Barbuda.

The fourth social movement contributing to current changes in gender relations in Antigua and Barbuda is the international Women’s Movement. This movement and its issues of gender equality were present but definitely submerged in the three previous social movements. Consequently, all four can be seen as a continuing chorus of different voices calling for change in the European-dominated social order of the early 20th century. The revolutionary and activist practices of the first three movements together with their failure to address the issues of gender equality within their own ranks and in the larger society set the stage for the rise of a global Women’s Movement, which has had very strong responses of support from the women of Antigua and Barbuda.

Gender inequality in Antigua and Barbuda has a long history, as long as the history of our country. It has African foundations, which established men as political leaders and dominant figures, at the same time that women were restricted primarily to the domestic sphere with only limited roles outside of the home in agriculture, marketing and the public life of lineage groups.

On these African foundations were imposed the gender relations of the period of colonization and slavery. As a result, these were centuries of colonial de-gendering – the masculinization of African women and the feminization of African men. The subjectivities of both were radically dehumanized – niggerized – as their labor was brutally exploited to generate profits for the sugar plantations. Added to this already extreme level of oppression was the sexual exploitation of Afro-Antiguan and Barbudan women.

In the post-slavery period, colonial policies of re-gendering according to European patriarchal norms were introduced. This was the era in which the Christian nuclear family was more systematically imposed the structures of the African family that survived the previous period of de-gendering and family disruption. Along with these new policies came the classes in home economics for teaching Afro-Antiguan and Barbudan women how to be good Victorian wives. Outside of the home, much later the fields of teaching and nursing opened as areas of employment for women along with dressmaking, which was done largely in the home. These post-slavery initiatives reached only a tiny percentage of the population. Thus the majority of men and women occupied creole or bicultural constructions of family life that left Afro-Antiguan and Barbudan women without the specific female protections that were enshrined in either the African or European kinship system.

This was the particularly disadvantaged position in which the failure of the post-slavery family reforms left Afro-Antiguan and Barbudan women. They were without the protections of African kinship institutions such as the lineage group and bride wealth, and without those that went with the legal status of a European wife. If we add to these the limited opportunities for employment issues such as spousal abuse, we can easily understand why Antiguan and Barbudan women have responded so positively to the feminist appeals and promises of the Women’s Movement.

The primary purpose of our conference is to assess where we are today with this project of gender equality in the postcolonial period. What have been the new policies adopted by the V.C. Bird, the Lester Bird, Baldwin Spencer and now Gaston Browne Administrations to address the status of women and improve family life for the majority of the population? We can point to obvious areas such as primary, secondary and tertiary education as well as the opening of many new areas of employment for Antiguan and Barbudan women. At the same time, we want to know what are the remaining areas of social life in which Antiguan and Barbudan women still experience gender discrimination. What of pay differentials? What of access to the arena of politics? What of spousal abuse? What of gendered occupations?

In 1997, in her keynote address to the recently opened Centre for Gender and Development at the University of the West Indies (Mona), Johnetta Cole told her audience: “It is we women who are the major participants in the churches, the backbones they call us, frying the chicken, making the roti, but it is the brothers who are almost always the heads, the leaders. It is we women who take the notes at the meetings, organize the buses for the rallies, go door-to-door to get the votes, but the it is always the brothers who are the Prime Ministers”. Is this where we still are today? And if so, what are we doing about it?

To address questions like these we suggest the following themes as guides in deciding the exact topic on which you will present:
Women and the structure of the Contemporary Antiguan and Barbudan Family

Gender policies of postcolonial administrations from Bird to Browne

Gender discrimination in Antigua and Barbuda

Gender and Sexuality in Antigua and Barbuda

Race and Gender in Antigua and Barbuda

Antiguan and Barbudan Women in Party Politics

Women and Education in Antigua and Barbuda

Antiguan and Barbudan women in the media

Growing up female in Antigua and Barbuda

Women in Antiguan and Barbudan music

Women and the Arts in Antigua and Barbuda

Antiguan and Barbudan women in carnival

Women and economic development in Antigua and Barbuda

Recent books by Antiguan and Barbudan women

Women and Calypso in Antigua and Barbuda

If you are interested in presenting a paper at this 2016 conference, please send us a brief abstract that includes your title, your name, and a brief description of the theme of your paper. These abstracts must be received by May 15, 2016. They will enable us to put you on the right panel. Your abstract, in a word document, should be emailed to: paget_henry@brown.edu and to janetlofgren@gmail.com .

Paget Henry Ian Benn Janet Lofgren
President Head Editorial Assistant
ABSA UWI (Antigua) A&B Review of Books

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Cushion Club Release

“The Club coordinator admits that one of the current disappointments is that more than a year after the opening of the new library, the hours are such that access is still limited. The library does not currently open after regular working hours or on weekends. Among the Club’s hopes was to get the kids into the library at least once a month – but with the library not open on Saturdays when the Club meets, that’s not possible. Among the hopes was to get the children into an environment where there are books – though, with the lending programme on hold since its move, not necessarily borrowing; getting them to learn how to use a library and understand the value of a library; and contributing to the library being an obstacle-free community space.” (Read the full release)

Good news though, the library is now reportedly lending books on a limited basis.

How long has the Cushion Club been around? One of these children is getting ready to finish university and one is getting ready to finish high school in just a couple of years.

How long has the Cushion Club been around? One of these children is getting ready to finish university and one is getting ready to finish high school in just a couple of years. Both would have come of age with either no public library or a library at less than full potential. We welcome the baby steps towards returning the library to the level of functionality (and more) that it enjoyed before the 1974 quake.

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A & B Arts Round Up (October 19th 2015 – )

I’ve done a couple of these arts round ups in the last two weeks. Still not promising this is going to be a weekly thing but this is the spot I’ll be dropping any new A & B arts news I buck up on for the next week or so. So, here goes.




Do you like to write? Have creative ideas? Need to boost your creative energy?
The Just Write Creative Sessions with
Brenda Lee Browne
Is for YOU
Three sessions 17, 24 and 31 October, 2015
Best of Books (Upstairs)
St. Mary’s Street
10 – 12
$50ec per session
Tel: 726 5468 for more information or register in store

N.B. The Just Write Writers Retreat has also been announced for January – see the Opportunities Too page.


Shiva School of Dance to showcase an encore of The Other Side of Me – Sunday, November 15 at 7:00pm; UWI Open Campus – Antigua.



The Halo Foundation, Inc., a charity organization founded by Lady Sandra Williams in December of 2014, provides assistance to local organizations that support the sick, abused, lonely or needy of all ages in Antigua and Barbuda.

See also information re the Christmas card competition – now run by Halo – in Opportunities Too.

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Tangled Web: Reaction

12079260_1640284422886771_1336085717523998673_nI saw Tangled Web last night. What I’m attempting here is not a review (though I believe that works of art benefit from critical assessment) but a reaction. A review would require note taking, probably a second viewing, certain tools in terms of how theatre works and should work beyond what I possess. So I come to this merely as a viewer with a fair-to-strong literary background, and full disclosure that I’ve worked with both key players involved in this production Dorbrene O’Marde (the original writer and director of both the original, I believe, and the revival) and Zahra Airall (co-producer and one of the stars of the revival, and a descendent of some of the original players; reportedly, her parents met and fell in love during their Harambee days).

So, where does that leave us?

Well, a synopsis is in order, I suppose.

Tangled Web was originally staged by Harambee in 1979 and drew on real world political turmoil in our little Wadadli as the backdrop for what is at once a domestic, political, and philosophical drama. Domestic in the sense that, with the exception of a restaurant scene, it never moves physically beyond the home of the main characters and the larger world issues mangling their country plays out in their lives within that space. Political in that it ropes in to that domestic drama the disillusionment born of elected leaders and public servants not living up to their promise to the people, the disaffected falling to crime, destroying the youth of the country in the process, the teachers’ strike making headlines at the time, or maybe just in its immediate rear view, the way partisanship can destroy familes, the politics and economics of healthcare, and so on. In the play, forgive me for not remembering the characters’ names, we first meet a young engaged couple with nothing but love in their eyes, flirtation in their hearts, and no bigger concern than their pending wedding. There is no family turmoil to see here; the nuptials even have the blessing of the family patriarch, a man so noble he rejects his oldest friend’s tempting efforts to lure him into a quick money haul just by looking the other way as a drug deal goes through – rejects in spite of the play establishing quickly, by virtue of his roonkachook car, that he could use the money. Then the unseen matriarch of the family takes sick and quickly dies, the disillusioned patriarch turns drug don and quickly moves on to a new moll, his daughter and her friends, young teachers, lose their innocence as the government brings down the hammer on all dissent, and before long everyone is compromised, including the daughter who must make the uneasy decision to turn her father in to the authorities.

Tangled Web, the title, suggests that this is a morality play (“what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive”), and certainly it raises deep philosophical questions re the nature of corruption. Who is more corrupt, the young police following the orders of the higher ups, the politicians who have forgotten their contract with the people, the sycophants who treat them like gods, the little man who realizes that when you’re an ant in a land of gods you can’t win and so you might as well, to parrot a King Obstinate calypso, “get what you can, get what you can, get”?

It had me thinking of how we judge the headline making machinations of the powerful rarely stopping to consider our role, small though it may be, in the corrupt process – the small ways so many work the system because they’re convinced the system doesn’t work and they must live. I mean, it’s not the same, right? But is the play right that you’re either guilty or not, that there are not degrees of guilt, just as, as the patriarch points out there are not degrees of pregnancy, you’re either pregnant or you’re not. It’s debatable…after all at nine months you’re all the way pregnant in a way that you’re not at one month, when other options are still available to you. It’s a discussion worth having though, if we are to move beyond the cess pool of corruption, and yet one we’ll probably never have – not if it requires proper self-examination.

I mean, how else to make sense of the fact that more than 30 years after its original staging – like the pointed lyrics of a Shelly Tobitt-Short Shirt calypso – the play remains alarming relevant as if to say, look at yourselves, how have you advanced? Are we still not concerned about political corruption and police overreach, are we still not torn apart by partisanship at the expense of nationhood, has the drug problem not gotten worse instead of better, are people not still dying for lack of resources, are teachers not still at loggerheads with government over the VERY SAME ISSUES expounded in the play (so much so that when the activist character played by Airall bloodied but not beaten lays out the state of affairs and rallies for freedom of thought, expression, and assembly, the ripples of resonance moved like a wave through the crowd, and it was a crowd, relatively speaking, spilling from under the tent at the University Centre) …what have we learned in the generation of more since the heyday of Harambee.

Makes you think.

And maybe that’s why they decided to do it now, not an adaption, not an update, but the original as is, as if as an indictment.

Does it hold up in other ways? That was my other musing on leaving.

Not entirely.

The loud ringing of the rotary phone was jarring. The way gender roles were allocated – the daughter always serving everyone, for instance – felt dated. But then perhaps our gender politics have not advanced much beyond the 1970s, after all, when during a tiff between the young lovers an audience member (a female audience member) was overheard (hopefully jokingly) to say to the man “put down you foot!” we have to wonder how far we’ve come.

On that point, the most troubling marriage in the whole thing was the just-back-from-their honeymoon other couple – he an up and coming establishment type while his wife quickly turned to activism. It bothered me, I’m not going to lie, when he didn’t go to pay her bail because politics (seriously?) and when when she came in looking like she’d barely made it through a war he was still so up in his feelings, he couldn’t kindle a bit of concern for her state (was that realistic?)… then again battered as she was and, so they said, tranquilized, and she was still allowed to leave the house to get home (though we didn’t see her call a taxi and know there wasn’t any cell phone for her to do so off screen in those days) …never mind that a heavily pained and again, tranquilized woman was allowed to leave to spend the night on her own at all… remember her husband was off to the club… suspension of disbelief… or maybe for some it happened just like that… in which case…rough.

But, okay, to sum up… I think the best performances were given by the man playing the father… his monologue after being turned down by the politician and chief medical officer, and the scene where he takes the reins from his friend in crime were stand out moments for him… and Zahra…though initially I felt she was too much in a sea of relatively sedate performances, in time that spirit caught up with the moment as referenced earlier.

I got restless and distracted at times which suggests to me that for me at least the running time could have done with some trimming, and the story with some tightening. There were moments listening to the dialogue where it felt like something a writer might write, and write well and with purpose, but not like something people might actually say, which is to say that the conversational tone was sometimes sacrificed to the and-the-point-is (didacticism over artistry).

But you know what, those critiques aside, it was a good night for a number of reasons. On a personal note, for those of us who know of Harambee and theatre’s hey day in the abstract moreso than in reality, it was a nice call back to what had been, and twinning with a descendent of that legacy in bringing it back to the stage for a two-night engagement, a positive sign of what may yet be. An odd moment of resonance with that time for me was when the plane (LIAT, is that you?) flew over head reminding me of the atmosphere I’d read about long long ago, and when the audience started shouting back to the characters on the stage – players in the drama unfolding before them – a reminder of of all places, the days of old Deluxe movie theatre, the only theatre most of us grew up with, with its sticky floor and audience interacting with the screen before we became too sophisticated for such things, I guess. That is to say that there was about it, a sense of there-ness, a sense of community. And speaking of community, pat yourself on the back for coming out to support in your numbers, because, hello, who says theatre is dead.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. Seriously, a lot of time, energy, love and frustration goes in to researching and creating content for this site; please don’t just take it up just so without even a please, thank you or an ah-fu-she-subben (credit). If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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“After spending months in preparation, scores of the nation’s most talented youngsters are now set to miss out on the region’s biggest cultural competition and festival. Culture Director Vaughn Walter confirmed about 70 people, including the National Youth Choir, National Youth Steel Orchestra and the nation’s culinary team have been cut from the delegation slated to attend Carifesta XII in Haiti from August 21 to 30.” This is from the Daily Observer (you can read the full article here)

I actually came across this article shortly after reading of this year’s CARIFESTA announcement and wondering the same thing I’ve wondered since I became a published author (more than 10 years ago) and started thinking representing my country and the literary arts at CARIFESTA might be something I’d like to do. Clearly, it wasn’t meant to be (and I’m fortunate to have had, through my own initiative and invitations from abroad, other opportunities to represent Antigua and Barbuda and the literary arts) but that thing I still wonder as relates to CARIFESTA is what’s the selection process (how do artistes get tapped for the delegation)? It’s such a wonderful opportunity to showcase the breadth of our creative arts, I like to hope that all Antiguan and Barbudan artists have a fair shot of getting on the CARIFESTA train. Obviously my priority is always the literary arts but in general, it’s something I still wonder. Inquiring minds. If I find out, I’ll let you know…after all, part of what I try to pass on here is Opportunities, and the budget constraints may make my questioning moot this time around, but not irrelevant in my view, as for artistes who’d like a shot at making the cut, there’s always next CARIFESTA.

Which bring me to the crux of the article (which I decided to share here primarily because it involved the arts, Antigua and Barbuda, and especially young people in Antigua and Barbuda involved in the arts which is what we’re about encouraging here at Wadadli Pen), the disappointment you can read, behind the numbers, of all those originally selected on hearing that after all the time they’ve put in in rehearsals etc, that they’ve been unceremoniously cut. Feels like the arts getting the shaft again.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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