The Inaugural Caribbean Festival of Arts as Prism: Call for Papers and Participation: August 5-7, 2022

The Inaugural Caribbean Festival of Arts as Prism: 20th Century Festivals in the Multilingual Caribbean, August 5-7, 2022: Call for Papers and Participation

Download: The CALL for PAPERS and PARTICIPATION  – 

Fifty years ago, the first Caribbean Festival of Arts (Carifesta), held in Guyana from August to September 1972, marked a significant and deliberate postcolonial moment that embodied the aspirations of a unified Caribbean. A brochure for the inaugural multidisciplinary and transnational festival stated that Carifesta would “depict the life of the people of the region—their heroes, morale, myth, traditions, beliefs, creativeness, ways of expression” and “stimulate and unite the cultural movement throughout the region.”

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the first Carifesta (as well as Carifesta XV in Antigua & Barbuda in 2022), we invite scholars (including graduate students), artists, Carifesta ‘72 participants, and the Guyanese and Caribbean diaspora to participate in a three-day virtual symposium organized in association with the Guyana Cultural Association of New York, Inc. (GCA) as part of the 2022 Guyana Folk Festival.           

Carifesta ‘72 aspired to promote the cultural expressions of the multilingual region. The conceptualizers, who included celebrated poet and historian Kamau Brathwaite, poet and activist Martin Carter, and artist Aubrey Williams, expected that the organizing body would craft a festival that embraced and celebrated the multiracial and multicultural heritage of the region despite the polarized national politics of the day. This meant, in theory, celebrating traditions rooted in the indigenous nations, West Africa, India, Indonesia, China, and Western Europe.

What transpired when the artists, dancers, musicians, writers, directors, filmmakers, and revelers from across the circum-Caribbean and beyond gathered to exchange ideas and idioms, ancestral stories, and contemporary engagements with tradition? What were the ripple effects of the Carifesta ‘72 event on the region’s (festival) culture, politics, and people? What legacies did it build upon or interrupt?

Download: The CALL for PAPERS and PARTICIPATION 

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