Join Robert and Linda, the editors of ArtsEtc, as they offer personal takes and twists on culture in Barbados and beyond... Stage Right, Stage Left continues a journey started seven years ago in ArtsEtc: The Premier Cultural Guide to Barbados, their groundbreaking print newsletter. Follow the rest of the adventure online at www.artsetcbarbados.com.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Yvonne Weekes - Green Reader, bridging worlds

Yvonne's poem doubles as her Green Statement, doubles as a prayer...


If the life-giving gullies of Barbados were to run blood

And Broad Street sank under the weight of sanguine waters

And there was no Bop or Baygon to blow up

either the mosquito or fill our lungs

- Fool: everyone knows a mosquito has no lungs

Would we then regret the casual discard

of plastic lipstick butts into empty cane fields?

Would we finally regard the butterflied lizards

children targeted in a game of Cowboys and Indians?

Would we remember the soft petals of the flamboyant trees

picked naked for vain pleasures?

Would we recount the flying fish fleeing our acid waters

recycle the soda pop bottles full of deadly dyes

raise our eyes to skies dropping in on us

and remember to pray for a world

of clean-running waters

pure coral reefs and fish

that look like our grandmother’s memories?

Copyright © 2011 by Yvonne Weekes

About the Author

Yvonne Weekes is an actress, writer/director, teacher, and currently the Theatre Arts Coordinator at Barbados Community College. Winner of the Frank Collymore Literary Award in 2004 for her memoir, Volcano, her first play, Blue Soap, was published in 2010. Her most recent work, Broken Dolls, aired on CBC in 2011. Yvonne is currently involved in writing and directing community drama pieces for the AIDS Foundation of Barbados, the Ministry of Health and the Barbados Government Information Service that deal with AIDS awareness, stigmatization and discrimination as well as other chronic non-communicable diseases.

Yvonne's appearance at GR11 on Saturday, June 18, bridges the literary and theatrical when she takes to the Folkestone stage with the Barbados Community College theatre group. (Green Readings is a trademark of ArtsEtc.)

Margaret D. Gill - Green Reader...

...The Poem Says It All

The poem extract below is both my green statement and impact statement. In essence, we all got responsibility, but some more than others.

“Across from Victoria Harbour Hong Kong”

Victoria Harbour
So much beauty
And so much blue.

How many dreams
Of a technic tomorrow touch?
So the silver running
Of cool of air co
Or the camera’ s true monstrosity.
Cool images you cell from
Cell to high rise cell.

But I see Sam Sung
Only dimly now.
This gauze
That is not morning
Drapes the edges of
Olympus now.
And I breathe cautiously,
Each breath a filtered prayer
As ships go calmly
Through the blue air.

A ferry coming home,
Expelling and again
uploading tourists.
Each camera saves
That chip of memory.
Visibility 200 yards,

A blue so true,
So true the edges of you certainty

The only mountains now
I know for sure,
For sure, I say,
Are in the art I saw
At Tsim Sha Sui.

There is a sea,
This is an island.
I suppose a necessary
Though awkward beauty
Shaped these blue trees.
Yet I long for Victoria Harbour
Green before Victoria

Today, pollution turned
The sun to silver,
Polythene texture.
Visibility making ghosts
Of ships in the harbour.
Water reflecting chrome,
At night, technicolour.

It was just like
A science fiction movie,
Jane Li said to me
Newspaper op eds say
Sea so sick if someone slipped
They die of the sink in.
Bacteria so thick
Only the slick of oil lives.
Oh Victoria, Victoria!

You not the only sinner,
But ah really have ta tell yah
You was bad fah true

November 2008, Hong Kong

Copyright © 2011 by Margaret Gill

About the Author

Margaret D. Gill is a scholar, critic and published and performance poet who teaches fundamentals of written English at the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill). Kamau Brathwaite describes her as “One of the very finest poets in the Caribbean—and not only in English. Brilliant (and therefore important) a literary critic as any (of the too few) writing out of the Caribbean today.” Twice winner of the Frank Collymore Literary Award (1998, 1st prize, and 2006, 2nd prize), Margaret was International Visiting Writer 2007 at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKB) and one of the two adjudicators of the HKB English Poetry Writing Competition 2007. She is now an Honorary Fellow in Writing by HKB. Her poetry has been anthologized in several works, including Bim, Aftermath: Best of Third-World Poets (1977) and The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse (2005). Her works of poetry are Alternative Songs from the Kingdom of the Lilies (1998 Frank Collymore manuscript), Lyric You (Intelek International: Bridgetown, 2000) and Machinations of a Feminist (2006 Frank Collymore manuscript). Margaret’s writing is influenced by the fact that her mother wrote and her father loved poetry and knew large tracts of it by heart, and she received her first award for poetry at 14 years old when she won second prize in the Shankar’s International Children Poetry Competition in India.

Margaret is one of the performers appearing at Green Readings 2011 at Folkestone Park & Marine Reserve on Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 3:30 p.m. Green Readings is a trademark of ArtsEtc.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Allison Cadogan - Green Reader, in pursuit of happiness

Green Statement

An emphasis on the role that the environment plays on attitudes is a common thread throughout my work. Even though “ green” is an environmentalist concept, based on healthy, sustainable practices for physically preserving the earth, I believe that our everyday happiness has roots in our physical surroundings, and I communicate this in all of my work. A healthy environment means a healthy, happy community.

excerpt from How to Skin A Cat In 5 Easy Steps

I was enjoying the warmth on my face, until slender matter eclipsed the sun.

“Hullo,” said she.

I placed my punch in the sand and sat up. There she stood, hands clasped behind her back as though ready to recite poetry, toes wiggling in the white-gold grains beneath her feet.

I lowered my head to peer over the upper rim of my tinted panes.

And thus the sky became extra blue, the sea superlatively turquoise and that epileptic, radial pattern on her dress promised me a seizure.

“Hullo?” I said quizzically.

“Hullo,” said she of smiling face and muddled accent. She was pretty, with piercing blue eyes and reddish blonde hair, about four feet tall. Why does she stand before me? I wished she would state her case quickly before the crabs sidled off with my libation.

“This shall be the winter of our contentment.” She looked over my shoulder as she spoke, the same way bad actors look into the camera when delivering their lines.

Copyright © 2011 by Allison Cadogan

About the author

Allison Cadogan is a Barbadian writer and the 2010 recipient of the Frank Collymore Literary Award (2nd place) for her novella The Three Little Pigs. She is the creative director at G&A Communications Inc., and she teaches Creative Writing part-time in the Fine Arts Division of Barbados Community College.

Allison appears at the Folkestone Park and Marine Reserve on Saturday, June 18 as part of ArtsEtc and the Ministry of the Environment's Green Readings 2011.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Martina Pilé - Green Reader, Calabash Woman

Artist's Statement

This event definitely gives me a chance to step out of my comfort zone but still talk about calabashes, the things we use in our everyday life that represent our cultural identity. My love for calabashes is something that is tightly intertwined with my Caribbean experience... Every year, I catch "calabash fever" which translates in an urge to work with them.

About the artist

MARTINA Zahles Pilé is a Caribbean visual artist and ceramicist of Luxembourgian origin. She has lived and worked as a full-time artist in Barbados since 1982, and has her studio in Prospect, St James. She uses many 2D & 3D media as a means to explore the myths and legends of the three main cultures that influenced life in the Caribbean. She served as event coordinator for the Artistsclub from 2005-2010 and was the managing director and curator of Island Art Gallery in Speightstown from 2010-2011. MZPilé is the recipient of many art awards and a member of the Barbados Arts Council.

Martina's appearance at the Boardwalk, Hastings, on Saturday, June 11, will be the first ever visual "green reading" in the four-year history of the event.

Adrian...Green Reader, Green Giant

Adrian Green - Artist's Statement:

The artist goes green not only championing environmental causes and sustainable practices, but by producing work intended to stimulate his audience to sustainable modes of thought, attitudes and values.

excerpt from “We the Dirt”

We are the dirt
Divine earth
We are the trampled upon
Sampled and drawn from the direction of the dawn
To build empires on which the sun was never supposed to set
We were never supposed to get
Only be gotten
Sons and daughters forgotten by heaven
We are the dirt
That covered the floors of hell
And protected the demons’ feet from the heat
Of their own sins
We are the dirt that they could not wash from their skins
We are the mud they rolled in
To wash and rinse
Left to dry
We are the dirt that still carries the stain they left behind

Copyright © 2011 by Adrian Green

About the artist

ADRIAN Green is a poet who bridges the divide between written poetry and performance poetry. His poetry engages the listener on multiple levels. His style of delivery is passionate and flowing, yet purposeful and structured. He is a Gold Award winner in Barbados’ National Festival of Creative Arts, a three-time Barbadian Slam Poetry Champion and two-time winner of the Emancipation Roots Experience Show. Green represented Barbados at Carifesta X in Guyana and has performed to audiences in several countries, including the USA, Ghana, Grenada, St Vincent, Nevis, St Thomas and the British Virgin Islands. He has released two albums of poetry, Random Acts of Conscience and Hard Ears. He is one of the originators of Tuk Poetry and performs with the band Rawt Iron.

He performs at the Hastings Rocks edition of Green Readings 2011 on Saturday, June 11, from 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Winston Farrell: Green Reader, Earth Spirit

Artist's Green Statement

"Green is not only my favourite colour -- it also represents a coded consciousness of my environment...my world. This is a relationship that started with a visit to Canada back in the early 90s, when I was introduced to the idea of recycling, the concept of conservation and the need to take greater care of our planet. It further inspired my second album of dub poetry, S."

excerpt from “Death of King Sugar”

The final chapter in the saga of king sugar
stirs the worth of the teaspoon
the wrist in the turning stops
the hand behind the wheel loses its heart

At the old factory
sunlight leaks in through the rotting roof
the old boiler rusted by bitter sweet tears
years weather wood
arteries bust
pipes now empty
a wreck of dead metal
scattered skeletons pitted by
centuries of blood stain limestone
sediments of grease on the icon’ s teeth

the monster still gloats

On the cane fields
a new type of bat and ball
lashes across the trash-heaps
men hopping over dry wells
leaving their testicles hanging on golf clubs
whilst labourers sit on their swords and jackhammers
jerking wet dreams out of their swollen eyes
bad boys stalk the streets more than ever
gun butts searching for the sweet jar
break the lock on the labourer’ s daughter
steal her diamond seed

Crystals in the teacup, wet bank notes
coin a new dance with silver spoons
lumps disguised as gold
melt on the tongue of a fading king [....]

Copyright © 2011 by Winston Farrell

Artist's Bio

WINSTON Farrell works as the cultural arts officer at the Barbados Youth Service. He is a graduate of the University of Leeds with a Masters in Theatre and Development Studies. A theatre practitioner and creative writer, Farrell has over thirty years of experience within the Barbadian cultural landscape. He has toured extensively as an actor and performance poet, and has distinguished himself as a trained theatre for development facilitator specializing in community and popular theatre methodology.

Ras Farrell’s latest work, Looking Back at Sodom, is currently being staged as an HIV/AIDS community initiative.

He performs at the Boardwalk, Hastings, this Saturday, June 11, for Green Readings 2011.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Green Readings 2011...Just lighting up our corner of the world

Sometimes, as an artist, it can be easy to get bogged down in what we do. Forgetting why we do what we do. Those reasons can be myriad and complex, but for those of us inspired by our environment (and all it embraces) and try to impact positively upon it through art, it can be good to take a deep examining breath.

That's why this year, ArtsEtc has chosen the theme: "Light up your corner of the world" for its Green Readings 2011 and again invited six dynamic Barbados artists -- Allison Cadogan, Winston Farrell,
Margaret Gill, Adrian Green, Martina Pilé, and Yvonne Weekes -- to share how they do it, or would like to do it.

The annual event, which is staged in conjunction with the Ministry of the Environment, is now in its fourth year. It takes place over two weekends each June for Environment Month, and has, in previous years, showcased literary and other performance to help promote a different kind of environmental awareness.

This year, the readings take place on Saturday, June 11 on the Boardwalk, Hastings Rocks (directly behind KFC Hastings); and Saturday, June 18 at the Folkestone Marine Reserve). Showtime for both is 3:30 p.m.

Each Green Reading will, for the first time, have a Boardwalk Talk: a Q&A and open mic segment during which the audience gets to respond with questions, comments or a brief reading of their own.

Green Readings has proved popular with audiences, who enjoy the relaxed, scenic setting, provocative readings and refreshments afterwards courtesy of Chef Creig Greenidge.

For more information on this and other Green Readings, or to take part in Boardwalk Talk, please visit ArtsEtc on Facebook or email artsetc@sunbeach.net. And feel free to leave a comment here or on Facebook telling us how you light up your corner with what you do.

Top: GR11 performers (clockwise from top): Margaret Gill, Adrian Green, Yvonne Weekes, Martina Pilé, Winston Farrell, Allison Cadogan.

• The Hastings Rocks Green Reading last year.

• Members of the Grantley Prescod Memorial Primary School choir who performed at Green Readings, Hastings Rocks in 2009. The choir will be present at the Folkestone reading this year.