December 22, 2006
Getting to know each other through culture

by Vonnie Roudette

The CYAM hosted arts festival “And So I Came to Know” that took place over three weekends in December culminated with a performance by Abuza and Lyric that inspired and uplifted fellow artists and an audience utterly ‘blessed’ to witness pure creativity in action.

The members of Contemporary Young Artists Movement feel that the festival fulfilled its theme in that artists from across the island came to know each other and shared an experience which has catalysed their collective creative journey.{{more}}

The festival opened on 1st December with Community College Art and Design Graduates performing live music and painting on three consecutive Fridays. The six-day festival was punctuated by moments of freestyle and impromptu performance demonstrating that the authentic art form is a process of exchange and communication, not simply a product to be marketed.

The audiences were treated to performances that alternated between an intimate indoor setting and an outdoor stage in Russells Mall car park. The aim to bring young people together in an atmosphere of creative exchange resulted in the formation of new creative partnerships, plans for ongoing activities and renewed creative commitment to their art by young cultural creatives.

Over 80 young artists, musicians, dancers, poets and dramatists, were given the opportunity to express themselves and appreciate the art forms of others. The festival weekends had themes of ‘Heritage Awakening’ and ‘Youth Arise’. Students from Community College organised activity sessions for children each Saturday afternoon. The atmosphere of creative exchange and dialogue reflected the creative spirit inherent in young Vincentians, and its immediate response to an enabling environment of cooperation and support instead of competition and commercial exploitation.

Although disappointed that none of the invited government officials attended the activities, the group is undeterred in its conviction that creative expression can spread unity, cooperation and understanding throughout the nation. Certainly that message has begun to spread through the audiences and performers who ‘Came to Know’.

The experience has taught them that despite limited resources, it is possible to create meaningful art and exchange that uplifts and directs the spirit of the nation’s youth.

CYAM commends performances of the Natural Mystics, Allegro Dance Company, La Gracia, Avenue Dancers, Norlan Jackson, Ossie Williams, Gary Peters, Kevis Pompey, Devonte Harry, Debra Providence, Son-j, Abuza, Lyric, Naked Roots, Rose Hall Drummers, New Dynamic Rhythm, Drags, Green Hill 3 H’s; Waves Theatre Co.

Heartfelt thanks are extended to Mr. and Mrs. Russell for accommodating CYAM’s activities in the Russell’s Mall, and for their unwavering support and encouragement over the past year. Thanks also to Mr. Noel Jackson, Ministry of Agriculture, Karib Cable (K45)Mr. Okada of JICA and Mr. Mark Cyrus for their invaluable support.