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.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

ArtsEtc’s second annual Independence book list adds to Bajan landscape

For the second year running, ArtsEtc Inc., in collaboration with its art partners, has released a reading list for Independence.

The List, which it is also called, contains 12 titles.   All are by Barbadian authors or those Barbadians may rightly claim. 

That’s one book to be read a month from here to next Independence, according to Linda M. Deane of ArtsEtc.

“Some are found in our bookstores, others in the National Library or second-hand bookshops or online.  Wherever you find these books—our books—it is about savouring them, treasuring them, challenging them.  Then going out and finding more!” said Deane, herself an award-winning poet.

This year’s reading list will be appearing in ads in the Nation newspaper’s Easy magazine, on ArtsEtc’s own website and on thebajanreporter.com.  It includes such classics as Timothy Callender’s How Music Came to the Ainchan People: A Novel and Christopher by Geoffrey Drayton as well as newer works by Thomas Armstrong, P. Antonio Rudder, Nailah Folami Imoja, and Winston Farrell.

“We’d encourage people to cut out the ad and paste it onto some cardboard for better use,” said Robert Edison Sandiford, the other half of ArtsEtc.  “It’s in the shape of a bookmark, very practical.”

In last year’s ads, the publishers suggested Barbadians think of their Independence in terms of their reading habits: How can you be free if you aren’t reading the writers who give voice to your freedom, namely your own?

This year’s ads remind Barbadians that with every story their authors write, they are adding to the cultural landscape of their people, to their greater sense of self.

Back again as sponsors of The List are Days Books, the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment, the University Bookshop, the National Library Service, and the Barbados Association of Reading.

“This, too, is very much part of our mandate,” said Annette Smith, the director of the National Library Service, “to make people more aware of our writers and their work.”

The List first appeared on November 30, 2011.  It came about as the result of someone at a book launch expressing an interest to Deane and Sandiford in reading more books by Barbadian authors but claiming not to know where to start. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

ArtsEtc's green publication launched

ON June 9, ArtsEtc launched its latest publication, Green Readings: Barbados, The First Five Years [2008-2012] on the Boardwalk at Hastings. It was a fun occasion and part of Green Readings 2012—the annual showcase of open-air environmental readings and performance. 

The 48-page anthology features the work of roughly 24 literary and other artists who have participated in Green Readings since its inception in 2008, and offers an overview of the readings and the philosophy behind them. Contributors to the anthology were on hand to receive their copies and to read excerpts from the published work.
Anthology contributor Sandra Sealy receives her copy from Robert Sandiford. Linda M. Deane (left) and Donna King-Brathwaite from the Ministry of the Environment look on.
The annual event and the publication are the result of partnership between ArtsEtc and the Environment Education Committee in Barbados’ Ministry of the Environment and Drainage. Ministry officials addressed the gathering (see BGIS story for more) and Environment officers have since taken copies of the anthology to the Earth Summit in Rio environmental conference currently happening in Brazil—an amazing opportunity for Barbadian writing and creativity to reach appreciative audiences far beyond our shores. 
Premanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, Gayle Francis-Vaughn 
 The launch was followed by performances from 2012 featured Green Readers Ian Bourne reading in tribute to his late mother Carolle Bourne, Arnold Ward and Dana Gilkes; and anthology contributors reading short excerpts from the book.
GR12 Readers (l-r): Ian Bourne, Arnold Ward and Dana Gilkes

Anthology contributor Dorhonda Smith reads her excerpt from the book

There was also some excellent jazz from James De Lovell & Friends, a lively Boardwalk Talk (open mic) session, plus books on sale, refreshments—in short, the cool lime that is Green Readings.

James De Lovell & Friends

Checking out the green anthology
Good green eats

Writers on the Boardwalk, Hastings 
No fear if you missed it! GR12 Part 2 comes off this weekend at Folkestone Park in Holetown, St. James, where gracious co-host will be John Nicholls, manager of the  Folkestone Marine Reserve. Featured readers will be Keoma Mallett, Norma Meek and Indrani Santiago. Click here for more on them. There will also be opportunity to obtain copies of the Green Readings anthology.

Green Readings: Barbados, The First Five Years [2008-2012] is also available from ArtsEtc and from the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage. See our website for more about other publications from ArtsEtc.

ArtsEtc editors Robert Edison Sandiford and Linda M. Deane

• Photographs (with exception of book close-ups) by June Stoute, GR12 photo/rapporteur.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What Heritage also means... more GR12 Green Statements

Jewels, progress, and the wind...

Every year, ArtsEtc asks its Green Readers for a statement, a snippet of work and a little about themselves—a sneaky preview of what to expect on the Green Readings stage. The responses are often unexpected, always fascinating. Sometimes the artists even stick to theme! This year’s theme is Heritage, and below are the responses from this year's readers, Keoma Mallett, Norma Meek and Indrani.

KEOMA MALLETT (aka Rhy Minister)
The Best Jewels
Heritage, to me, is a mixture of what was, with good intention, imparted to me as a guideline to live my life, what I gleaned and what was physically bestowed—whether biologically or as gift or inheritance.

I would like my work to encourage people to dig deep for the best jewels they could ever discover—those within themselves—and through this, to increase their appreciation for themselves and their surroundings.

from “Dichotomy”

“I’d smile in my pillow after each session of backwords and fourth,
Slept on the wave of your awe,
Such delightful discourse,
Dreamt of holding you close,
Of filling your post with letters of thesis of you as my missis.
You feeling me?
How the zeal in these words interlock like passionate kisses,
Remission, de mission was hunting you as a dear in open field,
Hoping feelings would lead you to see the true scope I feel,
’Cause I’ve delved and dabbled in reasonings and ramblings long,
Contemplated dark arts I considered as wrong,
Wished to have you without a care in this whirled,
You find yourself simple; I find you a most beautiful girl.
You see yourself as a million pieces; I see a million creases that mark you with character and make you adept,
And was trapped, at great length, by your volume ’cause you took all my breadth.”
Copyright © 2012 by Keoma Mallett

Keoma is 1) Rye minute star essay freestyle artisan in throw verse; 3) Rhy Minister, an introvert and freestyle poet and rapper; 2) Rhy Minister, who loves playing with words and listening to music.


Price of Progress
My art invites Barbadian society to look objectively at itself in an effort to change it for the better. Gardening is necessary but is not easy.  The minibus culture is unsettling. Society’s youth need firm handling.  What is the price of our progress since 1962?

from “Come in the Garden, Man!”
Don’t mind the trials you go through,
The exercise is good for you.                       

from “Cradle Rock and Milkshake”
They’re trying to subvert your balance, too,
By shaking and by rocking.                             
Copyright © 2012 by Norma Meek

Norma is the author of Minibus Muse and In My Small Corner (both 1993); Pick Sense Outta Dat (2001); Every Skin Teet Ent A Laf (2002); and Watching Out For Mummy (2003).  She is a founding member of Writers Outreach and a member of Voices: Barbados Writers’ Collective.


The Wind’s Embrace
We live in paradise, so to pull oneself out of the wind’s embrace or the ocean’s cradle or from the face of a beckoning canvas...is a bit tough sometimes.

2 guest passes
3 bottles of Zephyrhills water
Homegrown seasonal fruits
Copyright © 2012 by Indra Rudder

iNDRANi is a Barbadian artist who is increasingly gaining a name in the recording industry across the Caribbean and Europe with her folk-inspired, acoustic sound and original, earthy lyrics. A protégée of Eddy Grant’s, she is also a poet, author, dancer, and actress. The title of her most recent EP is Goddess Wild.

• Keoma, Norma and Indrani will be joined by visual artist Sheena Rose and jazz combo James De Lovell and Friends for Green Readings 2012 Pt. 2, this Saturday, June 23, at Folkestone Park from 3:30 p.m.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What heritage means to GR12 readers

Every year, ArtsEtc asks its Green Readers to make a statement about their art, their environment and the Green Readings theme for that year.

This year, the theme is Heritage.

Here are the "green statements" of the first set of GR12 readers—Arnold Ward, Dana Gilkes, and Carolle Bourne.


Well-known Barbadian actor and writer Arnold F. Ward has won several prizes for his writing at the national and international level. His publications include Dear AuntBajan Love, and Knock and Wait.

Nation builders
I met an old  man recently who liked to talk.

“I used to head dung,” he said, and I recoiled in polite disgust as he described the process of transporting cow manure in leaking dung baskets on his head from a large heap to the cane holes and vegetable patches. “The one on the top wasn’t so bad,” he recalled, “but when you get down to the middle …” and he smiled.  “It would get all ‘pon your shirt, all ‘pon your hands .. even ‘pon your food if you not careful.”

And that is our heritage.  The suffering and sacrifice of people like him who, in striving to survive, helped to build a beautiful nation.  A nation where we can read and write (perhaps some of it suited for his basket), and enjoy a fairly comfortable standard of living.  Let us salute our wonderful fore-parents.

Ian Bourne, former journalist and news anchor (above), will be reading in tribute to his mother Carolle Bourne.

Carolle Bourne, journalist, poet and art critic, who died in May, was the winner of the Kamau Brathwaite prize for poetry and a recipient of the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment. She was the author of the poetry collection Saraband: The Incomplete Works of Caroline Ravenspeare.

Living Art
After all, it usually is what grabs us emotionally that wins us over—seeing a painting or sculpture as something we can live with or rather not.


Dana Gilkes is an award-winning poet and visual artist. She teaches creative writing at the Barbados Community College and won the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Award for the poetry collectionAnatomy of A Scream.

World Without End?
To think the very nature that sustains us could be at our mercy: we dishonour our beginnings, motion our end.


• Ian, Arnold and Dana will be reading on the Boardwalk at Hastings on Saturday, June 9, 2012, from 3:30 p.m. as part of ArtsEtc’s and the Ministry of the Environment’s Green Readings 2012. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Green Guide to make debut on the Boardwalk this Saturday

ArtsEtc marks the fifth anniversary of its annual Green Readings Saturday, June 9, with an extra special event that sees the official launch of its environmental anthology and a programme packed with open-air readings and music.

The publication, entitled Green Readings: Barbados, The First Five Years [2008-2012], is essentially a guide to the sessions that began back in 2008 at the Cloister Bookstore when the Ministry of the Environment first approached ArtsEtc to stage an event to help raise environmental awareness in an alternative way.

Over 24 literary and other artists have taken part in the annual event since—and the resulting anthology records their performances and green contributions. Some of those artists will be on the Boardwalk in Hastings on Saturday, together with officials from the Ministry of the Environment for the launch of the book.

The ceremony starts at 3:30 p.m. and will be followed by the first Green Reading for 2012. This will feature poet Dana Gilkes, fiction writer Arnold Ward, and former broadcaster Ian Bourne, who will be reading in tribute to his mother, late art critic, poet and journalist Carolle Bourne.

Then, on June 23 at Folkestone Park and Marine Reserve in Holetown, St James, the second Green Reading takes place with a varied bill of visual and spoken word artists, musicians and award-winning writers. These will include Norma Meek, Sheena Rose, Keoma Mallett, and Indrani. There will be performances as usual by a school choir, while poet and novelist Nailah Folami Imoja is MC for both sessions.

ArtsEtc’s founding editors and producers of the event, Linda M. Deane and Robert Edison Sandiford, are encouraged by the direction Green Readings has taken.

“We are increasingly seeing a marriage of artists from different genres on the Green Readings’ platform,” says Deane. “We strongly believe that the arts and artists should be utilized more in getting certain ideas across to the public, and every year we enjoy seeing how the artists we invite complement each other and the exciting ways in which they interpret the various environmental themes. GR12 should be no different.”

The theme for Green Readings 2012 is heritage. This is the theme for the whole of Environment Month, of which the readings are part, and is in keeping with the current activities for the inscription of Historic Bridgetown and her Garrison, also taking place in June.

Sandiford praised the Ministry of the Environment, particularly officers Donna King-Brathwaite and Travis Sinckler, for their continued commitment to working with Barbadian artists.

“Not only is this ArtsEtc’s fifth year straight working with the ministry on Green Readings, the collaboration has led to the production of a stylish 48-page anthology.

“This is a prime example of private/public sector partnering,” he said, “and of the cultural industries in action; of artists being acknowledged and rewarded for their creativity and productivity.”

Green Readings: Barbados, The First Five Years [2008-2012] was designed, produced and printed in Barbados, and is the latest anthology from ArtsEtc under its AE Books imprint. Copies are available from the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ArtsEtc shares the sweets—and the shirts—with Lodge School athletes

ARTSETC is known mainly for its involvement in the arts in Barbados but we love it when we also get to explore the “et cetera” side of what we do.

When the Lodge School announced it was sending two teams to the Penn Relays 2012 in the United States as reward for their performance at inter-school sports in Barbados, and for learning experience, we reckoned it was the perfect scope for such an adventure and jumped at the opportunity to help send the athletes on their way.

ArtsEtc donated long-sleeved T-shirts for the athletes, coaches and accompanying parents to wear in Pennsylvania. The shirts were presented at full school assembly on Monday, the day before the teams travelled. Also at the presentation were fellow sponsors Williams Industries, who sponsored the squad’s polo shirts. (Interestingly, Williams Industries, through its subsidiary Williams Metals, is a former advertising sponsor of ArtsEtc—just one of many supporters that have enabled us, in turn, to extend a helping hand to a worthwhile venture.

And that is exactly how ArtsEtc views the achievements of the Lodge School relay teams. “We were keen to support the boys’—not because they were doing well but because they were working hard, doing something positive and that effort deserves to be encouraged and developed,” said ArtsEtc co-founding editor Linda M. Deane, who presented the shirts to the school.

“Sport has played such a significant role in Barbados’ recent social history. It is part of our cultural heritage and a vibrant and vital part of our contemporary cultural environment, especially at the schools’ level. It is something we, as an arts and cultural company, continue to address artistically. But also, through support of the Lodge School’s track programme, is something we are addressing in a hands-on way, too.”

Penn Relays, an annual event, is the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States, attracting teams from all over the world. This year it runs from April 27-29. The Lodge School’s nine-man squad left for Pennsylvania on Tuesday, accompanied by coaches Mr. Jamal Grosvenor and Mrs. Anne Hinds-Butcher, and will return May 1.

ArtsEtc wishes them well. Kick it out, boys—and thanks!

Above and below:
Mr. John Francis of Williams Industries and Linda M. Deane of ArtsEtc Inc.
 presenting shirts to the teams.

GO LODGE! Back row; l-r: U20 4 x4 squad: Anderson Devonish, Tramaine Maloney, Justin Nicholls, John Haynes. Front row; l-r: John Francis of Williams Industries; U17 4 x 100m squad—Kyle Farrel, Shaquille Nurse, Tamal Atwell, Akeem McCollin, Shaquille Hollingsworth; and Linda M. Deane of ArtsEtc.

 THANKS! Track team captain and Lodge School deputy head-boy Tramaine Maloney receiving his shirt from Mr. John Francis of Williams Industries. Later, he thanked sponsors, including Robert Sandiford and Linda M. Deane of ArtsEtc, on behalf of the team and the school. Acting principal Mr. Vasco Dash and Linda Deane look on. (ArtsEtc would also like to thank the family at MPact/MGrafix
for their kind and timely assistance.)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

10 Great Ways to Celebrate World Book Day

TODAY, Thursday, March 1st, 2012 is World Book Day. Here are 10 great ways to celebrate where you are and to show words you love them, too!

1. Curl up with that brand new book, the one you got for Christmas that you haven’t had time to read yet.

2. Read poetry to your loved one in an intimate setting.

3. Donate books to a school or reading programme.

4. Volunteer to read at a school, in your community or on a hospital ward.

5. Get started on the 12 Barbadian titles in ArtsEtc’s recommended reading list. It’s a great place to begin. (See image below.)

6. Start—or finish—writing that book of your own.

7. Support your local author—buy Bajan!

8. Join, or start, a book club.

9. Make a pledge to find 30 minutes in your day, every day (OK, then, at least a couple of days a week!) to read to your child.

10. Join in Days Books’ World Book Day event TODAY from 2 p.m. at their store in Independence Square or catch the celebration live on Starcom VOB.

What are you doing for World Book Day?

Do you plan to curl up with a great book? The new one by Glenville Lovell, perhaps. Are you reading to a loved one or maybe others at a school, in your community or on a hospital ward? Or are you heading on over to Days Books? (Click here for more ideas.)

Today, Thursday, March 1, is World Book Day, and ArtsEtc is very happy to be supporting the bookstore in its first ever event to locally mark the 15-year-old worldwide celebration.

The theme of Days Books’ event is “Read a book, Share a story”, and there is plenty going on at the store in Independence Square tomorrow from about 2 p.m.—storytelling, book signings, the launch of a Days’ new website, and a discussion on the joys and importance of reading to be broadcast live on Starcom VOB radio.

Some of the award-winning Barbadian authors taking part are children’s publisher June Stoute, poets Esther Phillips and Kerry Belgrave, and fantasy novelist Karen Lord.

Karen Austin of Days Books says she is keen to make the event an annual occurrence in Barbados as a way of helping to sensitise Bajans about reading.

“There are events taking place all over the world, in England, Ireland, in the United States. WBD has been going on for 15 years so I thought it was about time Barbados joined in. I have emailed the World Book Day people to let them know about our event and what we’re doing to promote the cause this side of the Atlantic.”

In addition to the in-store activities, Karen promises exciting discounts and giveaways for eager readers and booklovers. Schools and literacy professionals have also been invited.

Sounds like a place to be. Happy WBD!

For more information please check out:



Poet Kerry

Children’s author
and publisher
June Stoute

Poet and educator
Esther Phillips

Karen Lord