Caribbean Cultural Icons

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Over the years, arts have transformed many areas, such as; visual art, literature, music, theatre, film, dance, etc. Two very important Caribbean icons will be discussed in this piece. These icons are Antigen Heather Dorm and Trinitarian Beryl McBride. “If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. ” John F. Kennedy Heather Dorm is a renowned Antigen contemporary artist her contributions to Antigen’s art community are of major importance.

She attended the Antigen Girls High School, the Leeward Islands Teachers Training College, the Edna Manley School for the Visual Arts in Kingston, Jamaica and the Savannah College of Art and Design, in Savannah, Georgia. She would later teach arts at the Antigen Girls High School for a significant number of years. She found a calling for art at The Edna Manley School for the Visual Arts where she acquired a Diploma in Textiles. She currently works at the Ministry of Education and is responsible for art education in Antigen schools.

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Her major achievements in chronological order: Her first solo exhibition was held at the cultural Department in Antigen in 1988 where she participated in Joint shows with other well known Antigen artists. Her work was part of a Carom Exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum of Art in 1989 and the Island Arts Alton Place Exhibition (which was her 2nd Solo exhibit) of the same year. She exhibited at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada in 1991. In 1992 the Library Fund-Raising Committee (Antigen) came up with an idea to hold a competition to look for a national dress which she entered ad would ultimately win!

She continued to present her country, participating In the Traveling Exhibition of Contemporary works of art which was attended by artists from the Dutch, English, French and Spanish Caribbean; this was held at the International Trade Center in Caracas in 1993. She was one of five artists selected to represent Antigen at UNESCO Carob Art Exhibition world tour in 1994. In 1996 she acquired a master’s degree in textile art in the USA which saw her work change dramatically to a more abstract style filled with personal icons involving paint, fabric and metallic thread.

Her third solo exhibit was t Harmony Hall, Browns Bay, Antigen in 1997. Heather Dorm’s latest collection, “We Have So Many Stories to Tell”, was unveiled in 2011 after years of inactivity from this Caribbean Cultural Icons By Kyle-Burton patriot who was She was awarded the Grand Cross of the Most Illustrious Order of Merit (Antigen) for her contribution to art in the country Despite all of her contributions to the Arts in Antigen, Heather is best known for having designed Antigen’s national dress and for over 20 years of carnival costume creations notably Antigen’s Carnival Queen Costumes.

From the very beginning… (Vive had a) fascination with projecting women. (It’s the) common thread throughout all my work. “- Heather Dorm. The Library Fund-Raising Committee in 1992 came up with an idea to hold a competition in order to find Antigen’s national Costume. In which Heather Dorm emerged as the winner with her detailed and classic madras design. This design was reminiscent of colonial times with a splash of European and African inspirations. After winning the competition this dress quickly became the standard for the celebration of independence from the metropolis.

Heather Durum is credited with having brought Antigen and Barbuda independence week of celebrations to life with her contest-winning national dress design. The traditional and distinctive style of the National Dress is identified by its multistoried patterns of bright colors, geometric shapes, and bold plaid designs. People have made alterations to it in accordance to changing times but Dorm’s touch and essence behind the costume remains. While the original design is still very prevalent don’t be surprised to see a wide variation of interpretations.

She is also well known for her art, nettings and such and currently operates a gallery at near the V. C. Bird International Airport. Dorms art and costumes were all influenced by her island of Antigen and Barbuda and the entire Caribbean. She illustrated our Culture and Society through art and there by contributed to our Culture and Society by concreting our beliefs and customs into paintings, in order for future generations to be made aware of how we lived and hopefully keep the culture alive! “l think that artists are essential catalysts of change; we have the power to raise consciousness, stimulate debate and promote change. Stated Heather Dorm, during a roundtable discussion of Antigen and Barbuda artists. Beryl McBride (November 1915- March 2000) is of major importance to both Trinidad, the wider Caribbean and as far as the United States. In her home country of Trinidad she established the Little Carob theatre and the promotion of arts and culture became her life’s work. Nearly 50 years after she founded the Little Carob, she is known as a pioneer in the preservation and equally importantly the appreciation of local art forms. She was quite instrumental in instilling in people the need for Trinidad to gain independence.

Her whole life was dedicated to dance, so much so that ‘Caribbean Beat Magazine’ called her the ‘The first Lady of Dance. ‘ She developed a love affair with Dance as a child at Tranquility Girls’ School where she would perform British folk dances instructed by her teacher. McBride began training at the Mosaic Teachers’ Training College which allowed her to start teaching in Port of Spain. Not satisfied by the Job she decided to pursue her passion which was dance, after touring the country with a leading Trinitarian folklorist. She is credited for having given a new breath of life to folklore through her angina.

She attended the Columbia University in the United States in 1938 where she studied dance and dance pioneering. She taught Trinitarian dance at the New Dance Group studio. In 1940 she briefly returned to Trinidad where she presented ‘A trip through the Tropics’ at the Empire Theatre in which she combined many types of dances to create something that was truly unique to her. She returned to New York in 1941 where she stayed until 1945 during this period she danced and sang at many places in the city under the stage name’ La Belle Rosette. ‘ Most notably she replaced

Carmen Miranda in the hit Broadway musical ‘Sons o’ Fun. ‘ La Belle Rosette’s performances were met with critical acclaim. She would later make a film appearance in the ‘Quarry Road. ‘ At the peak of her popularity she returned to Trinidad in order to become a dance instructor within Trinidad Education department. The press release legitimizing her appointment stated “Miss McBride is doing for these West Indies exactly what Diego Riviera did for Mexico when he rescued its artistic heritage in the graphic arts. ” Her Major achievement though was the opening of the Little

Carob Theatre in November 1948 the foundation stone of this Theater was laid by renowned American singer Paul Robes. The Little Carob though, according to Wilson Mainsail “wasn’t so much a building as an idea… A big idea” as its Physical structure was said to be quite lacking forcing McBride to raise funds which limited her from doing what she truly loved- dance. (She was an artist, not a businesswoman or a bureaucrat, and raising funds and organizing were distractions from her vocation as a dancer and teacher. The Little Carob suffered because she had to spread herself so thin.

Judy Raymond) She impacted the Caribbean and United States so much that famous Caribbean writer Rexes Nettlesome spoke of her “Creole fire and burning enthusiasm. ” McBride was appointed director of dance in the Education department of Trinidad and Tobago in 1950. In 1969 she was presented with the Hummingbird Gold Medal of Trinidad and Tobago for her contributions to folk dance 10 years after having received the Order of the British Empire. She received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of the West Indies in 1978 and also honored in America at a Gala at the Alvin Alley Theater.

The overspent of Trinidad and Tobago would confer upon her the Trinity Cross (Then, the highest national award in the state of Trinidad and Tobago for the promotion of arts). Beryl McBride died on the 30th March 2000 Beryl Manicure’s contributions to culture and society within the Caribbean and even North America are vast. Her contributions to dance and folklore influenced the way Caribbean culture was understood in Canada. Her performances in Canada helped pave the way for Canada’s Caribbean festival in the sass. She influenced and inspired dancers in her native Trinidad for decades; her example led Rexes Nettlesome to found the Jamaica

National Dance Theatre Company, which has a world-class reputation. She was also noted as the first to put steel band on the stage in a time when steel bands were considered as disreputable gangs of good for nothings. “Part of Manicure’s ‘difference’ was in using West Indian dance, even then, at a time before independence when the West Indian islands were still attuned to colonial culture and indigenous forms were ignored or despised… When she began, local dance was in danger of disappearing. Only European folk dance and ballet were being taught formally, and local dance was frowned on.

It was thought primitive, insignificant. It wasn’t respectable. But McBride was convinced that dance was the most significant West Indian art form, since it contained the greatest variety of raw material. ” – Judy Raymond. McBride revived culture that was on the verge of dying and frowned upon. She is the epitome of someone who made it her life’s work to promote the arts and can be commended for having greatly affected or culture and society whether we know it or not. Beryl’s impact on Caribbean culture and society are insurmountable.

She encouraged Caribbean people not to give up on their culture, one that had quite negative view at the time. She revived dying art forms and folk ways through dancing and can be considered as a true Caribbean icon. Notable Quotes by Dorm “There is also nothing recorded about Antigen art. To my knowledge early Antigen art (post colonial and pre sass’s) was purely about aesthetics. The images were the daily reality of individuals and of the time. They were more often than not realistic interpretations of flora, landscapes and portraits. The paintings decorated the homes of the upper class and middle classes in the society. – Heather Dorm “If I were to include one of my pieces it would be one from ‘The Strength of a Woman’ Series or from ‘The Essence of Life’ series. The pieces from these series best exemplifies who I am as an artist and encompasses my reoccurring themes materials and techniques. “- Heather Dorm “l strongly believe that the fact that I was born on and grew up on many sugar estates and developed a close affinity to the land and nature has everything to do with my need to express these things visually. ” – Heather Dorm “Textiles connect art and life. Felt is very sensual.

The colors and textures in y pieces appeal to the sense of touch. They stimulate complex memories, feelings of belonging to a culture and to a heritage… My art is a tool of empowerment. ”

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