Jean-Michel Basquiat was the quintessential New York City artist during his life and after his death. So the arrival of the exhibition Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure© at the Grand LA in the heart of downtown Los Angeles is a welcome one for those left-coasters who couldn’t catch the display at RXR’s Starrett-Lehigh Building in New…Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Sisters on Curating ‘King Pleasure’ Exhibit and Their Brother’s Legacy: ‘People are Drawn to How Unedited His Creativity Was’ — Variety
Tag Archives: art
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Sisters on Curating ‘King Pleasure’ Exhibit and Their Brother’s Legacy: ‘People are Drawn to How Unedited His Creativity Was’ — Variety
Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love
NEW: Internship, CREATIVE SPACE, Stats — jhohadli
Internship In 2021, Andre W. became my first intern. I did work with one back in 2017 when former finalist Michaela H. interned with the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize of which I am coordinator. But I was more hesitant to take on someone in my personal capacity. As it happens, Andre is also a former […]NEW: Internship, CREATIVE SPACE, Stats — jhohadli
Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid December 2021)
A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here).
Rest in Peace and Power to media commentator and Rastafari elder King Frank-I who died on December 6th 2021.
The Antiguan and Barbudan ambassador (to Ethiopia), whose government name was Franklyn Francis, was “a respected voice in sports broadcasting” (Caribbean Loop). Frank-I, part of the intellectual class as a graduate of the University of the West Indies and University of Glasgow (at a time when that level of tertiary education was not common in Antigua and Barbuda) was also renowned throughout local and regional media for his commentary on society, culture, current affairs, and history. He was a staunch advocate for the decriminalization of marijuana and for the constitutional rights of Rastafari generally (Caribdirect). (Source – Facebook)
Blog Love (drawing your attention to new blogs we’re following or blog posts we’ve read to share the love as we hope others will share our content)
Started following Women Writers Worldwide – as with most of these reading the world posts we’ve come across, for Antigua and Barbuda, they are reading Jamaica Kincaid (which makes sense as she is the best known and most acclaimed Antiguan and Barbudan writer, though we hope they’ll use our database to discover other voices from the #268)
Give the Tim Tim Bwa Fik playlist a listen – it has conversations in two parts with Caribbean romance writers like the British Virgin Islands’ Eugenia O’Neal, Trinidad and Tobago N. G. Peltier (a recent addition to the Wadadli Pen Reading Room and Gallery -see Site Updates below), and Barbados’ Callie Browning. Scroll and hit the playlist.
Pictured are children’s picture books by Antiguan and Barbudan authors who also happen to be Wadadli Pen team members, featuring Dance on the Moon, the latest from Floree Whyte (her previous book The Wonderful World of Yohan is also pictured). Congrats to Whyte (whom I will be interviewing shortly for CREATIVE SPACE) on this new release. Pictured as well is my The Jungle Outside and Barbara Arrindell’s Turtle Beach, both from Harper Collins’ Big Cat series. Whyte’s books are independently published by her own Moondancer Books. (Source – Best of Books)
For other new Antiguan and Barbudan books – like Kortright Davis’ We Belong to Big Church, Joan Underwood’s companion workbook for her Manager’s First Aid Kit: Bringing the Lessons to Life, and Floree Williams Whyte’s Dance on the Moon – see Site Updates. And there’s this new journal, Coffee and Violets, from Sally Davis:
(Source – author on Facebook)
Books added to Antiguan and Barbudan Writing, Antiguan and Barbudan Children’s Literature, and Antiguan and Barbudan Non-Fiction Writing.
Expired opportunities removed, forthcoming opportunities added to Opportunities Too.
Interview links have been added to Reading Room and Gallery 42.
A video has been added to the Wadadli Pen 2021 Challenge video gallery.
December 15th 2021 – Decides Antigua and Barbuda (a project of interarts, Women Against Rape, and UWI), has announced an opportunity to explore what gender equality, sexual identities, and inclusivity means to you. To win EC$1500, create something – a song, video, dramatic presentation, graphic design or other visual art – and submit by December 15th 2021. See Women Against Rape in Antigua and Barbuda for more information (or call 268-721-5553). (Source – WAR email)
Remember to see Opportunities Too on Wadadli Pen so you don’t miss anything.
There’s some overlap as Floree’s new book (above) and my media award (below) could fit in to this category – it’s all evolving. So, not quite sure where to put this video, so here seems as good a place as any. It is my reading, for the ABS TV Book Club, from my latest book (this series of readings also included, though I don’t have the video or a link, as yet, another Wadadli Pen team member Barbara Arrindell and Desryn Collins, both of whom also have books in the Harper Collins Caribbean line of Big Cat books which also came out in 2021).
Former Wadadli Pen finalist and later (2017) intern Michaela Harris was in the local paper this week for the work of an NGO she apparently started in 2018 and, specifically during the 16 days of activism against domestic violence, its focus on young women. The non-profit is called Her Shine Theory and Michaela is quoted as saying, “Her Shine Theory is driven by a recognised need to support, guide and empower young women to define what authentically being their best self means, rather than succumbing to pressure and societal expectations of women at any given time; while acknowledging and respecting differences amongst women. Her Shine Theory advocates for fierce self-love, self-care and self-respect in its development of young women in our society and creates a sisterhood of support in this endeavour.” HST has reportedly been very active online and will be partnering (at this writing) with the Directorate of Gender Affairs on a candlelight vigil to draw attention to the issue of domestic violence. The HST has 15 ambassadors locally and regionally. (Source – Daily Obsever newspaper)
Twenty-three art teachers from public and private schools in Antigua and Barbuda have completed a three-month art teaching certification course, sponsored by the Halo Foundation and Jumby Bay Fund in conjunction with the Royal Drawing School in the UK, the Ministry of Education, and the G art gallery. Local artist counterpart, Anson Henry, assisted with the programme – which was developed after a needs assessment. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)
Commonwealth Writers has reported 6, 730 submissions for its annual short story prize. This is the most submissions to date. “Stand out countries included Antigua and Barbuda, Namibia, Mauritius and the Seychelles who saw a 400% increase in their number of entries compared to last year.” This is a sharp incline from just a few years ago when submissions from Antigua and Barbuda were such a cause for concern that concern was raised (with me) as recently as 2018 by CW and efforts were made through Wadadli Pen to encourage writer submissions from Antigua and Barbuda. CW reports, “The variety of themes within your stories also reached new levels. The most common themes were family drama, love and coming of age tales. Over 1,922 of you submitted stories on other diverse themes ranging from femicide, to mental health, racism, religion and the pandemic.” Judging is underway and longlisted writers will be announced in April 2022. (Source – CW email)
The Langston Hughes Festival honoured Jamaica Kincaid in November 2021 (I – Joanne C Hillhouse – was one of the writers invited to pay tribute) and now we have video –
Bocas’ Bios and Bookmarks welcomes Myriam Chancy –
(Source – Facebook)
Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival online reading group –
(Source – Facebook)
A quick round up of some recent book signing events at Wadadli Pen patron The Best of Books bookstore.
This has included (pictured above) 2021 Wadadli Pen patron Patricia Tully for her Pioneers of the Caribbean in November; preceded in October by Montserrat writer Marguerite J. Joseph’s Lady under the Stairs and in December by US based Antiguan writer Bridget Samuel Charles’ No Regrets: The Story of Elline Merle Derene. (Source – possibly Facebook…also Tully signing in-person)
This is from early in 2021 but still makes for essential viewing. Caribbean Women’s Writing: Celebrating 30 Years out of the Kumbla.
(Source – email…I think)
Trinbagonian Desiree C. Bailey is a 2021 National Book Awards for Poetry finalist for her collection What Noise Against the Cane – previously the winner of the 2020 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. ‘What Noise Against the Cane is a lyric quest for belonging and freedom, weaving political resistance, Caribbean folklore, immigration and the realities of Black life in America. Desiree C. Bailey begins by reworking the epic in an oceanic narrative of bondage and liberation in the midst of the Haitian Revolution. The poems move into the contemporary Black diaspora, probing the mythologies of home, belief, nation and womanhood. Series judge Carl Phillips observes that Bailey’s “poems argue for hope and faith equally. . . . These are powerful poems, indeed, and they make a persuasive argument for the transformative powers of steady defiance.”’ (book summary). The book was published in April 2021. Desiree is from Trinidad and Tobago, and Queens, New York. She lives in Providence, RI. (Source – instagram, I think)
Britain-based Guyanese poet Grace Nichols will be awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for her body of work.
‘“Over the past four decades, Grace has been an original, pioneering voice in the British poetry scene,” said (chair of the Poetry Medal Committee Simon) Armitage. “Her poems are alive with characters from the folklore and fables of her Caribbean homeland, and echo with the rhymes and rhythms of her family and ancestors … They are also passionate and sensuous at times, being daring in their choice of subject and openhearted in their outlook.”
“Above all, Grace Nichols has been a beacon for black women poets in this country, staying true to her linguistic coordinates and poetic sensibilities, and offering a means of expression that has offered inspiration and encouragement to many.”
Nichols, who moved to Britain aged 27, will become the 52nd recipient of the award, and the second in her own household – her husband John Agard won it in 2012. She is due to be presented with the medal in 2022.’ (The Guardian)
(Source – Twitter)
Jamaican writer Kei Miller was earlier this year named one of the Society of Authors’ Awards 2021 winners, specifically one of five recipients of the Cholmondeley Awards to distinguished poets. The prize is based out of the UK where Miller, who has recently relocated to the US, lived for many years. “In his acceptance speech, Kei Miller described his Cholmondeley Award as ‘a wonderful reminder that we belong to so many societies and so many countries’.” (Source – One News Page)
This is kind of a full circle moment really. I’ve blogged about the outcome of the OECS Journalist Challenge before – this was the formalities. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)
Robyn Rihanna Fenty – international superstar – is Barbados’ new national hero. This honour was conferred during the country’s formal conversion to a parliamentary republic.
Previously, Barbados like many other former British West Indian territories was an independent nation within the Commonwealth realm with the Queen of England still the titular head of state. Within these constitutional monarchies, the Governor General acts as the Queen’s representative, a largely symbolic role, with the governance of the country vested in the executive branch and the legislature – elected by the people. With this move, Barbados has removed the symbolic relationship with the crown and the former governor general has now been made president. Other parliamentary republics among the English speaking Caribbean countries are Dominica and Trinidad and Tobago. Rihanna, one of a handful of single name recognition pop artists, is a Grammy winning, multi-million (reportedly 250 million) selling global superstar, who has also made inroads in Hollywood and in the worlds of fashion and beauty – notably through her Fenty lines of cosmetics and clothing. She is reportedly a billionaire and the richest woman in music. Her Clara Lionel Foundation, named for her grandparents, contributes millions to health causes, including cancer and COVID-19. She was previously an ambassador of Barbados. As the country’s tenth national hero she joins politicians Errol Barrow, Grantley Adams, Hugh Springer, and Samuel Prescod, slave rebellion leader Bussa, activists Sarah Ann Gill and Dr. Charles O’Neal, trade unionists Frank Walcott and Clement Payne, and international cricketer Garfield Sobers. (Source – Linkedin)
Among the Caribbean authors listed among NPR (US National Public Radio’s) Best Books of 2021 are Barbadian Cherie Jones’ How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House and Haiti’s Myriam J. A. Chancy’s What Storm What Thunder. Those are the ones I caught; if I missed any books by Caribbean authors, let me know. (Source – Facebook)
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, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, 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.
CARIB Lit Plus (early-ish June 2020)
Have you been listening to #40NightsoftheVoice at the Kamau Brathwaite Remix Engine on YouTube? Well, you should be as writers from across the Caribbean read the works of the late Barbadian poet. Brathwaite was held in great and popular esteem as one of the foundations of the Caribbean literary canon and a transformative figure with respect to the embrace of Caribbean creole as a means of artistic expression and experimentation within the language. Many see him as a mentor whether directly or through his written works, who encouraged and inspired new voices. The writers reading his work in the, at this writing, ongoing video series include Jamaicans Kwame Dawes and Opal Palmer Adisa, St. Lucia’s Vladimir Lucien and John Robert Lee, the BVI’s Richard Georges, Barbados-based Yvonne Weekes, an entire who’s who of the Caribbean canon (Pamela Mordecai to Merle Collins to Olive Senior), including Canadian of Antiguan descent Tanya Evanson. Go here for the readings.
Brian S. Heap of Jamaica is the Caribbean winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize of 2020. His story ‘Mafootoo’ has “been in the back of my head for almost five years, but this competition finally provided me with the opportunity, motivation and all important deadline to complete the work.” Heap is “the retired Senior Lecturer, Staff Tutor in Drama and Head of the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. He has worked in Drama and Education in Jamaica for over forty years. With Pamela Bowell he co-authored Planning Process Drama: Enriching Teaching and Learning (2001, 2013) and Putting Process Drama into Action (2017) as well as several conference papers and articles for refereed journals. He served as Conference Director and Convener of the Fifth International Drama in Education Research Institute (2006) in Kingston, Jamaica. He was honoured with the Silver Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica in 2002.” Other regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize of 2020 are Innocent Chizaram Ilo (Africa), Kritika Pandey (Asia), Reyah Martin (Canada and Europe), and Andrea McLeod (Australia). More here.
Art of the Moment
You may have noted that there are protests beginning in but not limited to America, sparked by a recent spate, part of a long tradition, of killings (and general oppression) of African-Americans by police. It has opened a wound perhaps some thought had scabbed over. These protests and the conversations the protests have sparked are not limited to America because anti-Blackness (including internalized or intra-community anti-Blackness) is not limited to America. There have been a number of what I’m calling #CaribbeanConversations (as I share them to my facebook page) in postings by the likes of Jamaicans Kei Miller and Trinidadian Shivanee Ramlochan and others reflecting on race in our region. And here in Antigua and Barbuda, these are recent art works that I am aware of in response to the moment. DotkidChavy has given permission for re-posting of the image below, originally posted to his public facebook gallery, with the caption, “I’m tired. We are tired. Our demand is simple. #BlackLivesMatter”:
Another work of art, a poem, ‘Stepping on the Black Man’s Neck’ by Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau, published in the Daily Observer, is excerpted below:
“As we stretch our necks across the water/to the protests and murder in Minnesota/where is the outrage for all the necks that get stepped on in Antigua? …A British prisoner is housed in contrast conditions/to the black man’s daughters and local sons/who crap in buckets and old slop pails/who grow old and die in this overcrowded jail/A black prisoner walked in to a baton of blows/Cut-up he face and bruck-up he nose/but he can’t get no treatment./Meanwhile, Umberto Schenato got a quiet release/Now up by Fiennes receiving treatment. Please./Somebody had determined that as long as this Italian murderer is alive/he won’t spend another minute up at 1735/THAT, is kneeling on the black man’s neck….Bruce Jungle Greenaway belonged to somebody./He nah drop from hollow tree./He has children and a family./When the air left his lungs and his body could take no more/They dumped him at the altar of the shore/Waiting for the waves to wash away their sins/After they strangled him./And we wait./Every crime in this country is under investigation….Black man mek noise get kick inna he neck. Racism is alive and well in Antigua and Barbuda./So when we looking across the pond at Minnesota/REMEMBER/that plenty black man kneeling on black man neck inna dis country yah.”
Finally, this poem by me (Joanne C. Hillhouse), shared on my public facebook page, on June 3rd 2020, part of that morning’s writing exercise. It’s called ‘Sounds of Blackness’ (mostly because I wrote it during my musical meditation while listening to Sounds of Blackness):
“Not often enough but
Every now and again
The men in blue (and grey and black)
Are caught flat footed in their heavy boots
By the inconvenient realization
That the non-person discarded
Like old garbage
That maybe they walk around the world in
Soot, caked on like unbelonging
And Maybe their mind is ‘modie’
But erasing them will take
Ka dem hab smadee
And somebody will say
Long time me na see so and so
He may be of no fixed address
(or other stories you spin)
But he know where to find his people
When he need them
And they make sure to check up on him
Where he roaming
And when dem na see he
Dem will ask smadee
And when dem see you ah abuse he
They will bear witness
With their eye-phones
And they will raise their voices
And other eyes will turn to the scene
And when that happens (if there’s to be any justice)
You will find a community of people
Turning eyes of inquiry in your direction
And your systems may protect you
Or maybe this time you will be brought to account
And if there is justice in the world
(and we can’t often count on it)
You will sit in the realization
Within the walls built for people like him
That it is the man
Without feeling for his people
Who is the non-person”
The country’s opening up and so is the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre which has relaxed its no visitor policy while keeping some restrictions in place. This is an arts site but we share this type of information because we need our community to act responsibly and to be safe. So, per an MSJMC release, all visitors (18 or older only with careful consideration given to anyone 65 and older) must wear a cloth face covering or mask (which, our edit, you should be wearing in public places anyway). Our space here doesn’t allow for a breakdown of visiting hours, which varies by department; so we’ll just say, call to check on the visiting hours – which are very tight and limited – and/or check their social media. Generally speaking, no more than 2 visitors per day, one at a time bedside. Do not visit if you’re having any COVID-19 symptoms (in fact, our edit, call the hotline and/or your doctor for testing if you think that might be the case). You’ll be required to wash your hands with soap and water and/or apply hand sanitizer when entering and leaving patient rooms. Visitors will be required to stay in the patient’s room for the duration of the visit. Pray and take care; this is not over yet.
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 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on 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.
A & B Arts Round up – February 12th 2020 –>
February 15th 2020 – Antigua Dance Academy –
February 17th – 22nd – @ the White House Gallery at Cedars Pottery – art by Jo de Pear –
March 1st 2020 – “The Ink Project : Expression” – an ALL-INCLUSIVE Visual Arts exhibition highlighting local and upcoming artists. With soothing music and performances by various spoken word artists, the art show and sale will entertain while benefiting the artists who will receive the full sale price of any art pieces sold. Tickets are on sale at Best of Books, Destination Area 51, the Antigua Athletic Club or from any Spilling Ink member.
July 23rd 2020 – August 4th 2020 – Antigua Carnival –
Year-round – fete calendar –
As with all content on Wadadli Pen, unless otherwise indicated, this is written by author and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse. All rights reserved.
Wadadli Pen Diary – Why Youth Creativity Matters
Part of our promotion strategy which over the years and this year has variously included media releases and notices, media interviews, social media promotion with flyers and by other means, direct mailing to select mailing lists including schools, youth workers, past participants, etc., blog posts like this one, ads, psas, etc. etc. By whatever means we can. This post is a copy of a mail sent recently to teachers. Feel free to share.
Encouraging youth creativity is about encouraging self-expression. This can be purely fun and about self-discovery; it can also open a portal to expressing and coping with challenging feelings and experiences. Encouraging youth creativity also promotes mental growth, potentially improving academic performance and emotional maturity. Encouraging youth creativity gives young people an opportunity to try new things, new ways of seeing, new ways of thinking, and new ways of problem solving. The ‘Imagine a Future’ special prize in this year’s Wadadli Pen Challenge, for instance, will create an opportunity to explore the potentials of action or inaction on climate change – the existential challenge of our day – do we survive and how. This may emerge as a dystopian shadowland or a bright sci fi future. Who knows? As small islands, we are on the front lines of climate change; it’s an opportunity for young people to think through what will be the first major battle of their life time, for bad or good. If you are a youth in Barbuda, you have been in the headlines at least since 2017 and hurricane Irma, the trauma of which you may not have fully explored even as you grapple with historical and political realities beyond your understanding, where is your voice in this, what’s your story? ‘The Wa’omani Prize’ is an opportunity to remember that there are no small stories, that every experience matters – from fishing with your dad/mom to being in the path of a storm to end all storms. The Wadadli Pen Challenge is not fixed on a theme – tell any story you want, about anything you want, however you want – but it is Caribbean, simply because we must centre our own imagination in our own stories. Storytelling is an opportunity to explore us. At the same time, it is an opportunity to experience our reality from a different perspective – where did the frigates go when they flew away …from the perspective of a frigate. For people working with young people it’s an opportunity to ask what if… allowing the imagination to zig from reality to fantasy and back again. The 3-strip comic panel is a challenge for those better at expressing themselves using visuals than words because visuals too can tell a full story filled with drama, humor, warmth, etc. Writers and artists can even collaborate for full expression of an idea. The important thing is that they feel the freedom to tell their story and the joy that self-expression can bring.
Hopefully, you’ll see the magic in that and encourage your children to create and submit by February 16th 2020. We urge you to post the flyer(s) at minimum but also to more actively encourage their participation, not just for the opportunity to win the schools book prize for most submissions, nor for the individual prizes they could win, but to encourage their creativity.
For full guidelines and submission form, visit https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/wadadli-pen-2020
-Wadadli Pen founder coordinator, Joanne C. Hillhouse
Carib Plus Lit News (Late August 2019)
Antigua and Barbuda met up with the rest of the Caribbean in Trinidad for CARIFESTA (the largest showcase of its kind for Caribbean talent) – and, in case you didn’t know, Antigua and Barbuda is the venue for the next CARIFESTA (in 2021). I have very few details but I got the image of the passing of the baton from the last venue to the next (via proxys Trinidad and Tobago’s Culture and Arts Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly and Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister responsible for Culture, National Festivals and the Arts, Daryll Matthew) from the Antigua and Barbuda CARIFESTA facebook page and believe you can link up there for things related to AnB and CARIFESTA as plans evolve. You already know my thoughts and that of some other writers in our community on the (non/under/limited) presence of Antigua and Barbuda literary arts in CARIFESTA over the years, and Mark Brown – one of Antigua and Barbuda’s top artists – expressed concern re the (lack of) visibility of visual arts at this year’s event as well on his social media. Granted, there’s a bit of the grass is greener dynamic at play as well as I’ve seen countries which do better on arts generally weigh in with similar complaints via social media; and from the images and videos generally Trinidad and Tobago and the participating countries put on a good show. I’ve tried to share what I could on my social media (because I still support Antigua-Barbuda, and Antigua-Barbuda arts every time, notwithstanding my criticisms [or my haterade/grudgefulness/badmindedness, for those who choose to see said criticisms that way]) – highlights like the Antigua and Barbuda delegation enthusiastically singing Burning Flames ‘Swinging Engine’ in the opening parade (minus the “in she gear box” part), and Hell’s Gate performing a medley of tunes by one of our Big Three calypsonians, Swallow, with infectious youthful enthusiasm. I know a number of our soca stars – Ricardo Drue, Menace, CP, Tizzy – performed, as did the national youth choir, and, I believe, the Antigua Dance Academy (founder of which, Veronica Yearwood, I spotted in some of the images). Shout out to our community of artists, always! And, a personal note, shout out to TnT writer and illustrator of my children’s picture book Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure who presented our book during a session with children and shared on social media – so that I had a small presence there, in spirit. Pardon any oversights in the mentions – it’s not intentional. To that point…I note that a film I worked on as associate producer HAMAfilms The Sweetest Mango, Antigua and Barbuda’s first feature length film (released 2001) also showed – for the record, as you know from our data base/s we are all about the record here at Wadadli Pen, and because I’ve caught this error in a few reports, the film was produced by Howard and Mitzi Allen, directed by Howard Allen, but written by D. Gisele Isaac (both this and HAMA’s second film, No Seed, on which I served as production manager, were written by D. Gisele Isaac, who before her current life in politics also penned the boundary shifting book Considering Venus, not to mention being a founding partner of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize). The record is important. And, for the record, I wish the hosting of CARIFESTA in Antigua and Barbuda well. Someone posted wondering if they would expect full participation from the artists who have been overlooked CARIFESTA after CARIFESTA (the 2019 edition was the 14th iteration, going all the way back to the 1970s); and they well might…and I venture that for the love of the arts, our artists will show up; still, it is cynical to expect support from the artists in an environment where support for the artists has been so lacking. Hopefully, the road to CARIFESTA will include some reflection and a renaissance that embraces all forms of artistic expression.
I wrote before about the Rooted at Home and Abroad exhibition at the national museum featuring the works of Zucan Bandele and Walter J. Parker. The exhibition will run to the end of August. Meanwhile, last Friday (August 23rd 2019), the exhibitors invited the community in for a conversation around the art being displayed. Curator Mali Olatunji (who was fine arts photographer at the Museum of Modern Art in New York for more than 20 years) also spoke about some of his own art (e.g. the dirty beauty of the polluted sea at sunset) and about other art made in Antigua and Barbuda. And as he showed works by Frank Agard (copper and brass craftsman whose displayed work was an image of the St. John’s Cathedral) and Freeston Wright (an image of his work on canvas – a scene from earlier Antigua), I couldn’t help lamenting, again, the lack of a national art gallery (as a repository of Antigua and Barbuda’s art past and present, a creative space to encourage new artistic expressions, and a showcase with potential commercial value). Too often we find ourselves rediscovering what should never have been lost and not recognizing, embracing, celebrating, and encouraging what is. A space for discussions like this. One young girl stood and spoke about her own art, and about what she saw in Parker’s art, and in some ways a connection she saw between them: “I totally get that he would make these beautiful things and not be caught up in exposing them.” Yes, among the things discussed was why the artist makes art, and how we interpret art – with attendees noting that sometimes the artist’s intention is clear and sometimes “the persons who look at it will get different interpretations” (Olatunji). Bandele spoke about his masks series and about the African deities he had captured on canvas – the former, poetic pieces inviting the viewer to look in to the head of the masquerader and the latter embodiments of goddesses like Yemojah (Mami Wata) who has dominion over the water. The works of the two exhibitors – Bandele and the deceased Parker whose paintings were of people in different poses and scenarios, all colourfully masked – seemed to be in conversation with each other.
Speaking of Art conversations there are one or two stories from the Antigua Carnival season that ought not be purely seasonal – a few really – but I’m just going to drop a couple. One has to do with panorama which was adjudged a success despite a too drawn out show and the absence of one of Antigua and Barbuda’s top bands, Halcyon due to lack of sponsorship (so Babu told me when I asked him on Carnival Tuesday – as Halcyon was in the parade). I heard a media report in which when it was pointed out to our PM that the band, Halcyon, had given lack of funds as the reason for their non-participation he jested that they were just running scared. Winning band Hell’s Gate is from the PM’s community so this response was likely some of that ages old rivalry between the seasoned bands and their respective communities, no harm no foul. The rest of the comment though, that a couple of other bands had checked him for funds and Halcyon could have done the same misses the point though in my opinion that arts development is continuous, that the arts developers need systems put in place to access philanthropy, investment, and/or sponsorship – that one of the top bands bowing out due to lack of any of these is …not a good look. even as we compliment not only the winners but the growing youth participation in pan – even as we remember that not too long ago pan was all but gone from the Carnival line-up and its resurgence is owed in great part to the pan fraternity and to the advocacy and attention given to it in Culture during the tenure of culture officer Barbara Mason. This is not my area of arts, obviously, so maybe I’m missing something, but those are some of my general observations. As for the other issue that will likely continue to bubble, copyright and use of artists’ work, stay tuned, I guess.
(Source of newspaper clippings: Daily Observer Antigua)
‘“Pengereng” is a Belize Kriol word for the noise made when something, especially a metallic object, falls to the floor. Figuratively, it refers to a great disturbance or upheaval. Hence, the title of my new book of short stories in which each protagonist experiences a life upheaval that forces him or her to make extremely difficult choices.
Kriol activist Silvaana Udz describes the book as a “ground-breaking” publication as it includes the first major work of fiction written entirely in the standard Belize Kriol spelling system. The 74-page collection contains two relatively long stories, one of which is presented in both English and Kriol, plus an essay in which I discuss why Kriol should be used more extensively by Belizean writers and should be made Belize’s second official language alongside English.’ – Belizean writer Ivory Kelly is fresh from representing her country at CARIFESTA (August 2019) in Trinidad. Shortly before that she debuted her latest book, Pengereng. Click here to read more about it.
(Ivory, right, 2014 in Glasgow at the Aye! Write lit fest – where we met)
Rocket Mama Set to Rock the Literary World
One of our favourites on the track is Jamaican sprinter Shelley Ann Fraser Pryce – long known as the pocket rocket for her diminutive size and the way she breaks out of the blocks like a bullet. The multi-Olympic gold medalist has not let motherhood slow her down and is preparing to drop a children’s book this September.
(source of newspaper clippings: Daily Observer Antigua)
Other new book announcements include: the second edition of my teen/young adult novel Musical Youth, former Caribbean media association president and TnT columnist Wesley Gibbings second collection, Passages, and Escape by former Wadadli Pen finalist Rilys Adams (to be uploaded to the data base of Antigua and Barbuda writings as soon as I get the time – but teasing the cover here for now).
The literary world was still reeling from the passing of our mother of modern African American literature, Nobel Prize Winning African American author Toni Morrison (Beloved, The Bluest Eye, Tar Baby, Sula, Paradise, Jazz, and other classic works including my personal favourite Song of Solomon) when Barbadian-American writer Paule Marshall passed as well. She won’t get as much press but the author of Praisesong for the Widow, Browngirl Brownstones, and other classic Caribbean works is a giant in her own right.
As we mourn their deaths, we celebrate their lives and their words which have enriched, uplifted, revealed our lives.
If I missed any big news or commentary, apologies, this is just a labour of love.
As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure which has a Spanish language edition). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out http://jhohadli.wordpress.com Please note that, except otherwise noted, images on this site also need to be cleared if you wish to use them for any purpose. Thanks.
NAACP Image Award Nominees
If you’re a Black writer (or a Black person in entertainment), the NAACP Image Awards is on your radar (up there with the Hurston Wright Awards, and for children’s books the Coretta Scott Award, and if you’re in the Caribbean Bocas and the Burt Award). There are so few opportunities for us to be the cream rising to the top, we can’t be out here lukewarm with our ambitions. And unaware of the niche opportunities. So, it follows that Wadadli Pen welcomes the opportunity to celebrate the winners (yes, nominees are winners too) of these awards (if you’re a book lover these long and short lists are always good for ‘discovering’ books you might not have heard of before). Here (with random ramblings so that this isn’t just another list) are (some highlights of) the NAACP 2019 literary winners and nominees (full list after the link)– shout out to the African American Literary Book Club for always being on the ball.
In the memoir/autobiography category, I recognize Francesca Ramsey’s face if not her name or the book (Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist) as I’ve watched episodes of her de-coded series on MTV on Youtube, where she tackles topical issues with a humorous spin – sort of like a comedy-esque wiki.This is the first one I saw (I think) You might also remember her from the What White Girls Say video series.
Years on from his death, Nelson Mandela (also a nominee in this category) remains an inspiring global figure. If you haven’t read his Long Walk to Freedom, you should; his nominated book this time around though is The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela.
If the Harlem Renaissance is of interest to you (and if you like the writings of Zora Neale Hurston, check; Langston Hughes, check; Claude McKay, check; and others of this transformative time in 20th century Black literature, it will be), another nominated book The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart will catch your eye as it did mine. Locke is described as the father of the Harlem Renaissance.
Speaking of, a book that is quite possibly the literary find of the past year or so (and one on my TBR), Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon: the Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’ is sure to be interesting reading (I’ve read excerpts and that’s my opinion, and would be even if she wasn’t already one of my faves). I only wish Zora had realized how much her writing meant to all of us while she was still alive (check out her classic work Their Eyes Were Watching God if you haven’t already).
You knew this one was going to be on the list, the bestselling before it even dropped biography of our US First Lady forever Michelle Obama – it’s fascinating to me how public attitude toward Michelle transformed between the campaign during her husband Barack’s first run to, well, now where she is quite possibly more popular than him. Her book is Becoming.
In the children’s category, there is Facing Frederick: the Life of Frederick Douglass by Tonya Bolden. I hadn’t heard of this one before but I can testify to how inspiring the life of the enslaved man turned abolitionist can be for a child, as it was for me when I first came across his autobiography (a section of it at least) as a child.
Can I just say that picks in this category remind me of our own lack of vision (because I know I have, and perhaps I’m not the only one, pitched to the powers that be – separately and on more than one occasion – for funding – because researching, writing, and producing takes time – for a book and TV mini-series re Antigua and Barbuda’s National Heroes as a way to inform and inspire our young people… and, ah well).
That brings me to a children’s book treatment of Hidden Figures, the story of the black women whose brains made America’s achievements in the space race possible. It has already received the big screen treatment in an award winning film; and now it’s an award nominated picture book with Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. Point of interest, there are four women on the book’s cover when only three were featured in the movie; so, more to discover.
One of the books in the debut author category is one I’ve been seeing around the book blogs for awhile Small Country by GaëL Faye – I think the universe is trying to tell me something.
Tyler Perry and gospel music fans will likely be excited about this one – Us Against the World: Our Secrets to Love, Marriage, and Family by David Mann and Shaun Sanders – so this one’s for you.
Then *blows loud horn* the category I love because I love fiction and I love the first author among the fiction nominees Tayari Jones and her latest novel An American Marriage – critically acclaimed and well received – with extra boosts for being an Oprah’s Book Club pick and a pick for Obama (yes, that Obama, Michelle’s husband’s) summer reading list. Hey now! – p.s. I highly recommend Tayari’s immediate previous novel Silver Sparrow.
Envy: A Seven Deadly Sins Novel by Victoria Christopher Murray – I haven’t read this one but this is another of those authors who’s on my radar as a past participant (very cool and down to earth and forthright as I remember) in the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival (yep, we had one of those and attracted high caliber talent too…never forget).
Oh, oh, oh! Imma just drop this one right here Who Is the Black Panther?: A Novel of the Marvel Universe by Jesse J. Holland. Make that who is the three-time Academy award winning Black Panther.. I actually just read a novelization that features T’Challa before he was King, Storm: Prelude to the Wedding of the Century.
In the Instructional book category, fans of the now cancelled The Chew (and other sisters opting to embrace their funky grey locs) will likely appreciate Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration by Carla Hall.
Politics junkies and fans of another sister in funky greyness (Donna Brazille) may find For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics by Donna L. Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, Minyon Moore, and Veronica Chambers interesting. I’ve seen some of their interviews about this book and I may read it someday, as I’ve very much enjoyed – and been baffled by – the bits I’ve heard.
Or how about this one, anyone remember FUBU (yeah, yeah, I know he’s on Shark Tank but since I don’t truck with reality TV he’s the founder of FUBU to me) – Rise and Grind: Outperform, Outwork, and Outhustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life by Daymond John.
Of course, the one in this category that sounds right up my alley is Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves by Glory Edim – not because I am but because, as many books as I’ve read, it feels like I’m discovering more and more books everyday and when will I have the time to read them all. Sigh.
Brazille and co’s book is also nominated in non-fiction, as is Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon: the Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’.
As is Black Girls Rock!: Owning Our Magic. Rocking Our Truth. by Beverly Bond, a brand you already know as a dope annual TV special. (goosebumps RIP Queen of Soul)
Do you know all the words to the Negro Anthem? Do or do not, this might be the book for you (or me, since I love this song and I’m also the music nerd who likes reading liner notes and lyrical annotations and cultural history): May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem by Imani Perry.
Alice Walker, a forever fave (for books like The Colour Purple, The Temple of My Familiar, In Search of A Mother’s Garden, Living by the Word, and my most recent read Possessing the Secret of Joy), is also on this list for Taking the Arrow out of The Heart.
There is also a poetry section and a teen/young adult section with Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin by James L. Swanson as a nominee in the latter category , as well as Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson who has been winning alllll the awards of late.
Props to all the nominees. See the full list here.
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, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad! ). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page Jhohadli or like me on Facebook. Help me spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.
Filed under Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business
Dame Yvonne Maginley (a short note)
Copied from my facebook page where Antiguan and Barbudan playwriters and screenwriters was the Wadadli Pen Blog Post of the Week:
I had hoped to write something more but time is not on my side so I’ll just say here that for all her Tourism related accolades, the recently deceased Dame Yvonne Maginley, had a hand in the development of the arts in Antigua and Barbuda as well. … touching on her contribution to theatre and the folk music tradition, the Antigua Community Players has been at the forefront of this performing arts tradition since 1952. Their play Priscilla’s Wedding, written by the players, is always listed as a benchmark in the development of local theatre. Dame Yvonne Maginley took on the role of musical director in 1957, guiding the Players’ development into a choral group renowned for performance of international musicals and Antiguan and Barbudan folk music productions, and composing many folk/national songs over the years. For more on the Community Players and Antiguan and Barbudan playwrights follow the link. Thanks to the Dame who was laid to rest this past week (Rest in Peace to her), it is Your Wadadli Pen Blog Post of the Week.
Also the Community Players entry on the playwrights and screenwriters page has been updated. (Edit: And, FYI, a publication of Maginley’s is also recorded at Antiguan and Barbudan Writings and Antiguan and Barbudan Non-Fiction Writings.).
Dame Yvonne Maginley died on January 27th 2019. She had been knighted in 2003 and, also, received a lifetime achievement award from the Caribbean Tourism Organization, after serving as Tourism Director General for many years (and, before that, executive director of the Eastern Caribbean Tourism Association). Maginley who received broadcasting training at the BBC and was programme officer at ABS (making her also a media contributor – as you know, I’ve been tracking the development of media in Antigua and Barbuda) on her return, and tourism training at the University of Surrey, also served as Governor General’s Deputy of Antigua and Barbuda; chair of the first children’s carnival, Queens committee chair for many years, and secretary of the Carnival Steering Committee – all this in the early years of the national festival; helmed the National Public Library re-building project; taught music; and, of course, all her work with the Community Players. (source: guest editorial by Sir Dr. Rodney Williams in the Daily Observer 12th February 2019)
As with all content (words, images, other) 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!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. You’re also invited to follow me on my author blog http://jhohadli.wordpress.com Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles, images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.
Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, Literary Gallery
A & B Arts Round up – January 3rd 2019 —>
July 6th 2019 – 6 p.m. – The Royal Society of Literature – New Daughters of Africa – part of the Africa Writes Festival @ the Knowledge Centre, the British Library, London – this is obviously not being held in Antigua (and though I’m unlikely to be there, I wanted to let my Caribbean and especially my Antiguan people know about this, one of the events being held to promote the New Daughters of Africa). “Twenty-five years after Margaret Busby’s Daughters of Africa anthology, a new companion volume brings together the work of over 200 writers from across the globe – Antigua to Zimbabwe, Angola to the USA – to celebrate a unifying heritage, illustrate an uplifting sense of sisterhood and showcase the remarkable range of creativity from the African diaspora.” Details here.
April 30th 2019 – A feature of Antigua Sailing Week is Reggae in the Park at the Nelson’s Dockyard, an official UNESCO heritage site. Go here for details.
March 31st 2019 – Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year voting deadline. If there’s a book, released between 2017 and 2018, by an Antiguan and Barbudan that you read and liked. Vote. If you haven’t read any of the books on the list; there’s still time. Here’s where you go to see the books and vote.
January 29th 2019 (give or take) – Team Antigua Island Girls due to return home – follow their page for the latest (and to read up on them if you haven’t been following their 3,000 mile row across the Atlantic) as this kind of thing is hard to pin down – also check out our tribute here on Wadadli Pen #Girlscan
January 14th – 18th 2019 – Schools Drama Festival & January 17th 2019 – Honey Bee Theatre’s The Long Walk ETA: Encore showing set for February 9th 2019 – Dean William Lake Centre. January 8th 2019 (5 p.m. – 7 p.m.) – Art Show and Wine Tasting featuring Tracy Salmon. January 4th (6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and 5th 2019 (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) – The Black Exhibit presents ART: A Research Study Redefining Gender Norms Through Photography by Jesseca Ormond at the Reginald Samuel Art Gallery located at the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy (Old BBC building in Lightfoot). Admission is free. For more information you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (268) 734-7359, or visit the facebook event page for details. Another showing to be organized – watch this space (or check with The Black Exhibit’s facebook page or email them for more)
As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.