AD Tourism prints a Roundup of Top Ten Contemporary West African Art Galleries by  Christie Uzebu  in CP Africa:


With a storied history encompassing the Ghana and Sosso Empires and 19th century colonialism – together with a rich culture of traditional music, art and dress – it would seem that West Africa embodies a hub of education, creation and innovation. Here are top ten contemporary art galleries in West Africa, from the Ivory Coast to Nigeria.


Galerie Cécile Fakhoury | Abidjan, Ivory Coast


An exhibition space, Galerie Cecile Fakhoury

The Ivory Coast is fast becoming one of West Africa’s artistic hubs, with an impressive selection of contemporary art galleries springing up all over the capital. Galerie Cecile Fakhoury is just one of these, featuring exhibitions by artists that are sought-after not only locally, but internationally. Its clean, minimalistic setting allows the artwork to take centre stage, with its walls adorned by the likes of Vincent Micheam whose portrayal of bygone-era Dakar transports the beholder to a time of elegance and glamour. Also featured are the colourful paintings of local artist Paul Sika, which expertly depict the contrast between past and present-day West Africa.


Galerie Peter Herrmann | Lomé, Togo

galerie peter

Exhibition space at Galerie Peter Herrmann

In 2013, German gallery owner Peter Herrmann made the risky decision to move his business from Berlin – an artistic Mecca – to the lesser known cultural centre of Lomé, Togo. This was based on the fact that contemporary art by African artists was not enjoying the success it deserved in Berlin and at the same time, Herrmann had identified a growing demographic of middle class art-lovers in Togo. The combination of the two resulted in the opening of the Galerie in Lomé, which features a wealth of world-renowned artists such as Liz Crossley, Aboudramané and Bill Kouélany, to name just a few.


Omenka Gallery | Lagos, Nigeria

omenka gallery

Gary Stephens, Soweto Leopard Scarf, 2013 | Courtesy of Omenka Gallery

At the forefront of the contemporary art scene in Lagos is Omenka Gallery, a premier institution when it comes to presenting the freshest artistic talent that Nigeria has to offer. From its exhibitions to its international art-fairs, the variety and quality of modern art in Omenka is nothing short of impressive. One of the gallery’s strongest features is its ability to take aspects of Nigerian history and culture – be it the hairstyles or the traditional dress – and put a modern twist on them, creating exciting and fascinating exhibitions. This, contrasted with striking images of an older, less developed Africa, make for great viewing.


CCA | Lagos, Nigeria

The Centre for Contemporary Arts in Lagos is a modern, not-for-profit space allowing artists to share their work and promote discussion about contemporary visual art and culture. The Centre is awash with exciting events and puts a great deal of focus on audio-visual art which, in their words, has been ‘under-represented’ in Nigeria. The expansive visual art library is a great resource for locals, whilst the installations keep the interest of visitors from both near and far. If you are at a loose end in Lagos, the chances are that something will be happening in the CCA.


Eureka Galerie | Abidjan, Ivory Coast

eureka gallery

Eureka Galerie is home to one of the Ivory Coast’s most diverse contemporary art collections, featuring a number of artists – both local and international – whose styles are both unique and varied. Artistic residents include the likes of Gabriel Eklou from Ghana, whose minimalist, long-limbed figures depict ambition and the struggle for progression in West Africa. Eureka Galerie also features representation of home-grown talent, such as Salif Diabagaté, for whom art remains a labour of love despite having most of his works destroyed during the violence of the Ivorian Crisis in 2011. The gallery has produced a number of successful exhibitions in recent years, featuring cutting-edge artists from both near and far, including celebrated French artist Jean Claude Heinen.


Fondation Zinsou | Ouidah, Benin


Benin is not famed for its contemporary art. Fondation Zinsou however, is doing its best to change that. With the aim of reducing poverty at its core, the Foundation hopes to use art as a conduit for development, whilst at the same time raising the profile of contemporary art in Benin. At a local level, the Foundation runs a series of educational programmes, allowing school children access to art by means of activities such as the Culture Bus (Bus Culturel), while fresh, modern installations by national and international artists continue to attract Ouidah’s art aficionados. From the outlandish sculptures of Romuald Hazoumé to street-art inspired works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, you are bound to find something that appeals to the artist within.


Galerie Le Manège | Dakar, Senegal


Galerie Le Manège opened in 2009 in conjunction with the capital’s Institut Français. The gallery’s mission is to represent Senegal as a country in flux, as shown through the changing face of the contemporary art scene. The space itself aims to impress, with its high-ceilings and wooden beams, whilst the outdoor exhibition area – nestled amongst the Colonial-era buildings – provides a fascinating juxtaposition between the old and the new. The exhibitions hosted by the Galerie – and by the Institut Français in general – are a tribute to everything related to Senegalese culture and aim to help visitors gain insight into what it means to be Senegalese in this ever-changing region of the world.

Galerie Nationale d’Art du Sénégal | Dakar, Senega

Senegal has historically been a front-runner when it comes to promotion and appreciation of modern art in West Africa. Its biannual Dak’Art festival has been hugely successful in garnering local and international attention and has led to the development of a thriving art scene in the country’s capital. The Galerie Nationale d’Art is home to what is probably the country’s most eclectic collection of modern art and regularly puts on exhibitions that will impress tourists and passers-by. Its interaction with Senegalese art collectives and independent organisations means that it is a regular host venue for artistic events and festivals.


Nubuke Foundation | Accra, Ghana


If you are looking to get better acquainted with Ghanaian culture, look no further than theNubuke Foundation. Nestled in central Accra, the Foundation is a melting pot of modernity, tradition, culture and style. Nubuke displays an impressive collection of art from such names as Serge Clottey, Oko Martey and Mary Evans, and regularly hosts meet-and-greets with the artists themselves. Their workshops offer locals and tourists the opportunity to actively participate in the Ghanaian art scene and the recent opening of their gallery – Nu Gallery – has been a welcome addition, exhibiting a vast array of paintings, sculptures and mixed media from a series of celebrated artists.


Thought Pyramid | Abuja, Nigeria


Thought Pyramid is more than just an art gallery, it’s a centre for art education. Featuring both local Nigerian artists and those from the Diaspora, the gallery displays some of the country’s cutting-edge artists and fuses together a combination of paintings, sculptures and everything in between. Their mission statement is to ‘collect, conserve, study, and sell’ contemporary art, and their exhibitions and events attract tourists and locals alike. Thought Pyramid lives up to its mission to educate through its Art Club and ‘Learning Through Art’ programmes, providing lessons for school children in order to promote the value and appreciation of contemporary art in Nigeria.


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The-Sierra-Leonian-Legacy-of-Gullahs-is-South-Carolina-USAThe Gullah is a distinctive group of Black Americans from South Carolina and Georgia in the southeastern United States. They live in small farming and fishing communities along the Atlantic coastal plain and on the chain of Sea Islands which runs parallel to the coast. Because of their geographical isolation and strong community life, the Gullah have been able to preserve more of their African cultural heritage than any other group of Black Americans. They speak a creole language similar to Sierra Leone Krio, use African names, tell African folktales, make African-style handicrafts such as baskets and carved walking sticks, and enjoy a rich cuisine based primarily on rice.

Indeed, rice is what forms the special link between the Gullah and the people of Sierra Leone. During the 1700s the American colonists in South Carolina and Georgia discovered that rice would grow well in the moist, semitropical country bordering their coastline. But the American colonists had no experience with the cultivation of rice, and they needed African slaves who knew how to plant, harvest, and process this difficult crop. The Sierra Leonian Legacy of Gullahs is South Carolina USA 2The white plantation owners purchased slaves from various parts of Africa, but they greatly preferred slaves from what they called the “Rice Coast” or “Windward Coast”—the traditional rice-growing region of West Africa, stretching from Senegal down to Sierra Leone and Liberia. The plantation owners were willing to pay higher prices for slaves from this area, and Africans from the Rice Coast were almost certainly the largest group of slaves imported into South Carolina and Georgia during the 18th century.


The Gullah people are directly descended from the slaves who labored on the rice plantations, and their language reflects significant influences from Sierra Leone and the surrounding area. The Gullahs’ English-based creole language is strikingly similar to Sierra Leone Krio and contains such identical expressions as bigyai(greedy), pantap (on top of), ohltu (both), tif(steal), yeys (ear), and swit (delicious). But, in addition to words derived from English, the Gullah creole also contains several thousand words and personal names derived from African languages—and a large proportion of these (about 25%) are from languages spoken in Sierra Leone. The Gullah use such masculine names as Sorie, Tamba, Sanie, Vandi, and Ndapi, and such feminine names as Kadiatu, Fatimata, Hawa, and Isata—all common in Sierra Leone. As late as the 1940s, a Black American linguist found Gullahs in rural South Carolina and Georgia who could recite songs and fragments of stories in Mende and Vai, and who could do simple counting in the Guinea/Sierra Leone dialect of Fula. In fact, all of the African texts that Gullah people have preserved are in languages spoken within Sierra Leone and along its borders.

The connection between the Gullah and the people of Sierra Leone is a very special one. Sierra Leone has always had a small population, and Sierra Leonean slaves were always greatly outnumbered on the plantations by slaves from more populous parts of Africa—except in South Carolina and Georgia. The rice plantation zone of coastal South Carolina and Georgia was the only place in the Americas where Sierra Leonean slaves came together in large enough numbers and over a long enough period of time to leave a significant linguistic and cultural impact. While Nigerians may point to Brazil, Cuba, and Haiti as places where Nigerian culture is still evident, Sierra Leoneans can look to the Gullah of South Carolina and Georgia as a kindred people sharing many common elements of speech, custom, culture, and cuisine.

Black-Church-607x400The typical black churches style of preaching goes back to the days of slavery. You know, when black folks were slaves? The only hope they had was that one day they’d be free. Now, there was nothing they could do as slaves except get excited about the possibility of God delivering them to freedom (that happened) and all of the spoils that entailed. Notice the key word, “excited”. Every Sunday, the only person who could read (usually, sometimes not), the preacher, delivered a sermon that gave his fellow slaves hope. They had no power. All they had was faith. He didn’t preach about getting an education. He didn’t preach about learning to manage money. He didn’t preach about how to lead a family. He preached about slaves getting what was rightfully theirs, stuff. So most sermons consisted of the preacher hyping up slaves to get excited about…nothing. He used clever words, alliterations, screamed, hollered, jumped around and at the end of every sermon, slaves left the service feeling better about being slaves. Say what! They felt good about waking up one more day and doing master’s bidding, taking his abuse and being regarded as sub-humans. All they left with was false hope, an elevated heart rate and sweaty clothes. They left with nothing of substance. They would leave services with enough joy to get them through Monday and then the misery or reality would set in again.

That is why for years ones salvation has been exclusively tied with going to church because if you didn’t go to church you didn’t get your “fix” and you felt farther from God and thus, farther from your blessing. Hogwash! Meanwhile, the white people were actually learning how to have a proper relationship with God through sound, sit down, shut up and pay attention teaching. They learned about how to be proper stewards of money, land, family and their bodies. While they were getting something out of church, we were getting nothing but a good cardiovascular workout! All of the shouting, speaking in tongues, falling out and showboating and they were still slaves. They were still slaves to their masters, slaves to the system and slaves to a method of ministry that taught people to rely on church, the preacher and not on the power that God instilled in us all.

If you notice, white churches don’t hero worship their pastors like black churches do. This is an age old mechanism. White people go to church, not to a man who holds court in the church. See what I mean? We go to church and God “moves” and we still leave slaves because in a majority of black churches there is not enough sharing of valuable information that translates into something tangible the way God intended it. No, there is only preaching. I applaud some of the preachers I know who buck this trend, yet the paradigm in the people remains the same. Church hasn’t been had unless the preacher hoops, hollers and whips the crowd into a frenzy. This puts all the emphasis on the preacher. Black folks, by and large, don’t want to go to church and listen, take notes and diligently apply what they’ve heard to their moribund lives. Nope. All they want to do is “get up”. It’s not all the preacher’s fault. Most preachers simply cave in to the expectations of the audience. That simply isn’t fair. There are many preachers who are tired, but they find no rest due to a ravenous crowd of over-stimulated people who demand that runs be made, the keys be struck and the speakers be turned up to 11. And while they’re having a “Holy-Ghost” party, their families are still falling apart, they’re still declaring bankruptcy, they’re children are still having babies, wives are still being abused, infidelity and homosexuality are running rampant and nothing that they’ve heard from the preacher (if anything of value) has come to pass in their lives.

We always talk about manifestation. It’s no wonder why most of the prophesied manifestations rarely happen. We aren’t taught how to get it. Belief is not enough. It’s the start. Yes, we should be excited about what we can do through our Creator. But church is like a weekly wedding and honeymoon (among other things). Once those things are over, the real work begins. Sadly, when the work begins, we’re ill equipped to do the job because we’ve had not the training. So it’s back to church every time the doors open so we can run around the church, get loud, mask our short comings and be fed a bunch of B.S. about how God is going to bless us and deliver us from our oppression. Yep, after church it’s right back to being slaves.

Amendment: My brother Anthony G. Green, who is, like me an advocate for the betterment of Black Americans and a Pastor pointed out something to me that I’d like to clear up. His point was that I shouldn’t leave it to the imagination as to whether or not I am disrespecting our ancestors. No, I’m not backing off my initial opinions. However, I want to make it abundantly clear that I am not putting down the way our ancestors had church. I believe that our ancestors did what they had to do and made something very profound of what they had. What they did worked for them and served to empower the people with hope. That is what they needed because that was all they could do. Times are and have been different for many years and our black churches, by and large, have not evolved they way they should. We have not grown past the emotional experience (nothing wrong with excitement) and have not moved to more empowering means of education and the responsible dissemination of information that should have and will in the future cause those who will accept the message the power to be productive and progressive. I respect your opinions and am not afraid to stand on my own, so by all means, respond. Open dialogue is the only way we can begin to accept the truth.

Original article: http://www.accordingtochris.com/the-typical-black-church-is-still-acting-like-slaves/

haiti dancePromoting a culture to an audience of both natives and foreigners simultaneously is a tricky challenge. Cambridge READS, however, seemed to stumble upon a solution: an interaction of two arts, in this case lively dancing paired with a talk by a best-selling author, Sue Wang reports for The Harvard Crimson.

The writer is Edwidge Danticat, whose latest book, “Claire of the Sea Light,” gives readers a poignant glimpse into the world of a young Haitian girl who disappears on her seventh birthday. Danticat’s reading followed an energetic performance of a trio of Haitian dances by the Jean Appolon Expressions dance company. Combining dance, music, and literature, the presentation on Haitian culture, hosted by Cambridge READS in Sanders Theatre on Wednesday night, drew a diverse crowd, from local Cambridge residents and Harvard students to an MIT linguistics professor and University President Drew G. Faust.

Both Danticat and Appolon immigrated from Haiti, a place that has deeply influenced their artistic pursuits and from which they still draw inspiration. Danticat came to New York when she was 12 in hope of a better future, while Appolon came to America in 1993 at age 16, after his father was killed in Haiti.

During the talk, Danticat fondly recalled her childhood in Haiti. Besides the many stories her grandmother, mother, aunts, and extended family members told her, what she remembers most vividly is the radio, which played an integral role in her and other Haitians’ lives. In her latest book, Danticat said, she combines three powerful influences in her life: writing, radio, and Haiti. “I always had this dream of writing a novel about the radio because I love the radio and the radio in Haiti is so important,” she said. “So [I wanted] every chapter of the novel [to be] an episode of this radio show.”

Appolon’s immigrant experience has given him a mission for his dancing. “It makes my dancing stronger because I have a voice to talk about something very important that a lot of people don’t understand,” he said in an interview with The Crimson. Because of this, he has to strike a balance between communicating to two different groups—the Haitian audience that understands the culture and the foreign crowd that is newly exposed to the material.

Appolon says that he has struggled to change the general perception of Haitian dance as “voodoo-ish” and crude by highlighting its power and beauty. According to Appolon, elements of traditional Haitian dancing are in fact found in many different types of dances. “I have learned many forms of dance because I graduated from Joffrey American Ballet School,” he says. “I really see a lot of strong movements I have learned in those dances...in traditional Haitian dancing.”

Driven by his vision of promoting Haitian culture through folkloric dance, Appolon established the Jean Appolon Expressions dance company in 2006. He operates a small dance company in Boston and Cambridge that gives performances at social functions and holds dance classes and workshops. While Appolon is glad his dance company is celebrated for its unique mission of spreading Haitian dancing, he also wishes more people would join him in his mission. “I’m hoping there can be more companies like myself...more young Haitian-Americans who try to do the same work or do more,” he says. “There are so many young people who are so afraid of saying that they are Haitian. They are very embarrassed by it. So I’m hoping that the work I am doing will [make them] feel proud to be Haitian.”

For the original report go to http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2013/9/24/cambridge-reads-haitian-art/?page=single#

Source: Repeating Islands

Dominic Maxwell-Lewis reports in Noisey.vice.com. What a surprise!

country st luciaSt. Lucia may be a Caribbean island neighboring Jamaica, but there's a music scene here that's a world away from what we generally associate with the indigenous culture of Rastafarians. While Bob Marley and emblematic cannabis leaves may be the typical tableau across the Caribbean islands, here in St. Lucia, the predominantly-black population gets down to a wildly different white-bred tune: that of the Wild Wild West. That's right, the most popular music on the island is country western.

It's almost midnight on a Saturday, and I've decided to venture out into St. Lucia's capital to check out the prairies and plains of the island's musical landscape myself. In a warehouse space above a shuttered food market, there's ruckus. Cars are double-parked outside and vendors on the street are selling their keystone apocalypse-survival wares: rum, beer, and chicken. There's a Caribbean "western" dance party in full swing, with heels passing on the stairs and, to perfect the scene, someone doffs his Stetson to me as I pass. I'd dragged my reluctant cousin to Prio's Country Palace (formerly Nashville Palace), the go-to spot for country jiving, to take a twirl in the capital of Castries with the country swingers showcasing their practiced steps late-night above the napping grub huts of the daytime market.

Prio's Palace is where the western kids go to get their kicks. People of all ages are rum-wasted and grinding a foot-swivel with ballet-accuracy through the floorboards. Screwdriver-toes, grooving country. And not everyone is clad in lonesome ranger garb; there are plenty people here in everyday clothes, which suggests that there's not even a hint of novelty about these gatherings; everyone just really digs it. I tried my best to get in the spirit of things by joining in a bit, but got a feeling I was just making myself stick out more. Even a Rasta in the corner (who I'm pretty sure was just slowly falling over slumped against the wall) was moving his hips more convincingly. These scenes weren't so much of a surprise; I'd seen evidence of the Caribbean Country Institute a year ago when, during a taxi ride from Hewanorra airport up through the countryside while on a visit, I'd glimpsed some boots and wide-brimmed hats boogying in a roadside shack serenaded by a Hank Williams LP. But the country love doesn't stop at the nightlife; St. Lucia boasts its own home-grown country western singers, too.

L.M. Stone has loved country since he was a child hearing his mother's imported records turning on her gramophone. He's taken his music from St. Lucia to Nashville, where he placed number one out of 50 other country stardom hopefuls in a contest at the Wild Horse Saloon. He was the only black man to take the stage, and he tore it up. "When I arrived on stage, there was a silence from the bar," says Stone. "The fellas stopped playing pool and the ladies started dancing at the foot of the stage. But when I started playing, things changed. By the end of the song, there were hats at my feet."

Stone's discovery of country coincides with the western flux in St. Lucia ignited during World War II, when the US had two bases on the island. Soldiers brought their records to the bases and found that the western sound was remarkably compatible with an age-old native tradition called "Cordrille," which—like country music—is a complicit story-telling branch of folk. The reggae and calypso that's indigenous to the island can't hold a crowd quite the same way a western dance can. In fact, the neighboring French island of Martinique holds country western dances to attract the illegally nesting St. Lucians. The music's pull is so strong that border control is able to round up and send back the "Looshans" playing hooky from their own country. Germaine Anius, who has been playing country music on Radio Caribbean since 1973, attributes the music's prevalence to the idea that it offers an intimacy not felt in other music. Before Anius brought country to the island airwaves, St. Lucian country fans could pick up some AM radio stations from the States to hear favorites like George Jones (whose recent death brought a surge in western shindigs across the island). "In St. Lucia, if people want to raise funds for anything, they'll organize a western dance. It's a sure way to attract the most people."

The home-spun tunes of the Caribbean canon may have fazed out of popularity in St. Lucia but the American country music of the west lives on here with a new found integrity. And the parties are wild, too.

For the original report go to http://noisey.vice.com/blog/the-most-popular-music-on-the-island-of-st-lucia-is-country

harriet tubman thumb medium200 330With a novel, a Harriet Tubman biography from the Canadian perspective, a children's book, and a John Brown documentary, 2012 has proved to be a banner year in the rising tide of Underground Railroad publications. Let’s make it our new year’s resolution to support these media sources to learn about an important part of history in 2013.

Released in June, Judith Owens-Lalude's The Long Walk: From Slavery to Freedom (Anike Press, 2012, 193 pages, $14.95 paperback) adds nicely to the Underground Railroad's growing but still-too-scant fiction bookshelf. Using the actual names of her enslaved great-grandparents, Owens-Lalude weaves a vivid tale from a family's being sold into a hellish existence, to flight, pursuit, aid and finally lasting freedom. Owens-Lalude is a local historian and novelist who lives near Louisville, Kentucky, close to the farm where her great-grandparents were enslaved.

Rosemary Sadlier's Harriet Tubman: Freedom Seeker, Freedom Leader (Dundurn, 2012, 192 pages, $19.99 paperback) provides a useful infill on Tubman's life in Canada after she settled at St. Catherine's in 1851, two years after her escape from Maryland's Eastern Shore. Sadlier informs us of Tubman's Canadian existence through an excellent chapter on and tabular chronology of African-Canadians, slavery, abolition, and the Canadian roles in the Underground Railroad. The book contains a long, detailed, interwoven timeline illuminating the African-Canadian experience beginning in 1604, with Tubman's life events interspersed as they occur. Dr. Rosemary Sadlier, a leading authority on African-Canadian history, has served for nearly 20 years as president of the Ontario Black History Society and was instrumental in getting February designated as Black History Month in Canada.

In Bound for the Future: Child Heroes of the Underground Railroad, (Praeger, 2012, 215 pages, $48 hardcover) Jonathon Shectman sheds new light on the vital contributions of specific underappreciated child activists and the local circumstances of their daily work, and provides context to these young activists' actions within the broader social practice of resisting slavery. The book offers fresh insight into the complicated question of who was responsible for ending slavery. Through a thorough examination of these subjects, Shectman demonstrates his thesis that in specific cases, children were the actual essential lifeblood of the Underground Railroad'soperating workforce. Jonathan Shectman is the former editor of a science education book series published by the Smithsonian Institution's National Science Resources Center. His published works include Greenwood's Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions, and Discoveries of the 18th Century.

Gary Jenkins' documentary film John Brownand the Last Train (LifeDocumentaries.com, 2012, 7 minutes, free) on John Brown's Kansas war on slavery is drawing good reviews. Fergus Bordewich calls the film and accompanying DVD documentary, "Important, enlightening and inspiring and one of the best documentaries on the Underground Railroad." Narrated by and containing an interview of Shectman, the seven-minute film/DVD is illustrated with graphics from Shectman's accompanying book of the same name. The film may be viewed at ife Documentaries.com and streamed to audiences from there at no charge. Says Brown scholar Louis DeCaro of the brief book, "John Brown and the Last Train, (Life Documentaries, 2012, 74 pages, $9.95) the only contemporary publication I know of relating to Brown's 1858-59 liberation effort, is most readable, and brings Brown's trek across Iowa alive." The heavily illustrated book may be purchased at LifeDocumentaries. com or from online booksellers. Missouri attorney Gary Jenkins is a documentary film producer.


Source: Underground Railroad Free Press

marcus_garvey_1924-08-05Jamaica is turning to black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey to inspire youth on the island according to David McFadden. Struggling with a chronically stagnant economy and an excessively high crime rate, Jamaica’s use of Garvey’s thought will hopefully instill in the students  a set of positive values and attitudes, as well as a stronger sense of identity and empowerment Garvey, who inspired millions of followers worldwide with messages of black pride and self-reliance, is being resurrected in a new mandatory civics program in schools across this predominantly black country of 2.8 million people. Following are excerpts of McFadden’s article:


Students from kindergarten through high school are supposed to learn values such as self-esteem, respect for others and personal responsibility by studying Garvey, whom Martin Luther King Jr. called the "first man on a mass scale and level to give Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny." [. . .] The program is a major rethinking of Garvey's legacy in his Caribbean homeland. He was the first person named a national hero following independence in 1962, and the government put his likeness on coins. But it had declined repeated calls to use his teachings in schools, where history is not a required subject.

"The teaching of Garveyism in schools is something that politicians of all stripes have shied away from partly because of their own intellectual ignorance and partly because they don't know what to make of this complex subject," said Robert Hill, a Garvey expert who is professor emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles. But Jamaicans take great pride in the achievements of a native son who created an international movement. "We want all our children to believe they are important to what becomes of this country. Through Marcus Garvey, we see what it means ... to admit to no stumbling block that we cannot overcome," said Amina Blackwood Meeks, the Ministry of Education's culture director who led efforts to draft the Garvey-infused civics program.

[. . .] Born nearly 50 years after the abolition of slavery in Jamaica, Garvey founded the United Negro Improvement Association in 1914 on the island, and then built it into a mass movement in New York from 1919 to 1927. He established a network of "Liberty Halls" as venues for political debate, theater and scholarship around black themes, raising awareness of African achievements and calling for economic empowerment to circumvent racism. From his Harlem base, Garvey urged people find pride in their African history, and assured the descendants of slaves that there were no limitations to what they could accomplish. His Pan-African philosophy urged blacks to return to the continent of their ancestors and he launched the Black Star Line, a fleet of steamships intended to take them there.

[. . .] But in the early decades of the 20th century, when segregation was deeply implanted in the United States and when European colonialism still stretched around the world, Garvey's words also inspired civil rights figures in America, political leaders in Africa and the Rastafarian movement in Jamaica.

It's the uplifting and ambitious aspects of Garvey's life that educators hope will inspire youngsters in modern-day Jamaica, where times are tough for many. [. . .] "We have to use all tools and strategies at our disposal to tell our children and our people in general that, as Garvey said, the black skin is not a badge of shame, but rather a symbol of national greatness," said Verene A. Shepherd, director of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at Jamaica's University of the West Indies. "If Jamaicans from very young are imbued with this kind of thinking, we will see the benefits in years to come."

For full article, see http://www.tnj.com/news/african-and-caribbean/jamaica-introduces-garveyism-classrooms

flag-map_of_jamaicaSome local historians and sociologists believe that despite the influences of globalisation, Jamaica's cultural heritage and practices remain strong, distinct and vibrant. They all share the view that Jamaica’s cultural legacy must be preserved and respected for its immense contribution to the country’s development.

Director, Institute of Gender and Development Studies, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona and noted Historian, Professor Verene Shepherd, told JIS News that there are many aspects of Jamaica’s culture and heritage that set us apart from other societies, including our local cuisine, music, fashion, religion and sports.

“I have not been to any other country where I’ve seen the kinds of cuisine that we have in Jamaica. I think our ackee and saltfish, our curry goat – the way it’s done in Jamaica - are all uniquely Jamaican; nobody else does it our way. Our music is distinctive, especially reggae music and increasingly dancehall, those are recognised internationally and branded as uniquely Jamaican,” she says.


The 19th Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival kicks off its 2011 festivities on Friday November 25th in New York City. The event will run until December 3, 2011 in various venues in New York City (see below). The African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) presents an eclectic mix of urban, classic, independent and foreign films that depict the richness and diversity of the life experience of people of African descent and Indigenous people all over the world.

Opening night (Friday, November 25) includes the New York premier of The Story of Lover’s Rock (UK, 2011) and a conversation with director Menelik Shabazz. On Sunday, November 27, Caribbean Night centers on films such as Hush 2: End the Silence (Barbados, 2009); Catch a Fire (Jamaica/UK, 1995); The First Rasta (Jamaica/France, 2011), and the U.S. premiere of Laughing through Tears (Canada/Jamaica, 2011). On Saturday, November 26, there will be a screening of the newly restored Surinamese classic One People (Suriname/Netherlands, 1976).

Other highlights of the festival include a screening series and lecture by acclaimed Afro-Cuban filmmaker Sergio Giral, who will present his latest work on race relations and the Latino experience Two Times Ana.

Venues are: The Schomburg Center for Black Culture (135th Street and Malcolm X Blvd); Quad Cinema (34 West 13th Street); The Chapel, Teachers College-Columbia University (525 West 120th Street (125 Zankel); and Thalia Theatre (2537 Broadway @ 95th Street). For more on the film festival events, visit  www.nyadiff.org


    This year's Nigerian Fashion Week will be held at the Muson Centre in Onikan, Lagos on November 17-19th. nigerian_Fashion_WeekThe Nigeria Fashion Week provides the most appropriate atmosphere & opportunity for fashion, beauty & hair products and accessories to meet with both local and international wholesalers, buyers, retailers, end users, distributors and fashion press. n its fifth year, the Nigeria Fashion Week is fast becoming the most sought after fashion event in Africa. Over the years, it has played host to both local and international luxury brands. For the Nigerian participants, it offers a wide marketing opportunity for showcasing new designer products and services and for international exhibitors, it welcomes hospitality and patronage of the friendly Nigerian people.

Legendary Gold Limited annually organises The Nigeria Fashion Show, The Nigeria Fashion Week, The Nigeria Fashion Awards, The Nigeria Model Awards, Bayelsa Fashion Week and Benue Fashion Week. It has been in operation for the last 16 years and has become a leader in organizing fashion and modeling events in Nigeria.

For this seasons event of NFW, they wish to contribute to sustainability so the event recognises this need for environmental awareness and as part of the runway event will showcase a “Going Green Collection” to draw that awareness to climate change. Designers participating in this slot will be using recycled materials to create their collection and the last day of the event on November 19th, will be dedicated to a climate change awareness week and a tree planting exercise.

In 2005, Legendary Gold Limited was appointed by the Federal Ministry of Information and Communications to produce fashion shows as part of the Heart of Africa project.  In 2007, Legendary Gold Limited got Nigeria endorsed as the 41st country approved to participate in the first World Fashion Week scheduled for New York,2011.

The Nigeria Fashion Week was endorsed in 2008 by the World Fashion Organization the regulatory body of the international fashion industry with membership of over 53 countries. Nigeria Fashion Week also is an affiliate of the World Fashion Week which is organized by the World Fashion Organization.

Source: African  Fashion Guide