Month: February 2013

An innovative approach to literature and landscapes – Stabroek News – Georgetown, Guyana

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An innovative approach to literature and landscapes – Stabroek News – Georgetown, Guyana

Professor Al Creighton presents LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago by Kris Rampersad in Stabroek News ….

An innovative approach to literature and landscapes

Arts on Sunday

(Kris Rampersad, Littscapes: Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago, St Augustine, Trinidad, 2012 : 200 p.)
20110807artsonsundayIn reading this work we find a neat kind of confluence.  Guyana at this time is in the middle of celebrating nationhood – the peak of it was Republic Day yesterday. The publication which was launched in Guyana a week ago is a celebration of nationhood as it is captured through photography, an explanatory text and the literature of Trinidad and Tobago.  The easiest way to begin an analysis of this book Littscapes by Kris Rampersad is to describe it – give an idea so that the audience gets a clear picture of exactly what it is.  But that is not the easiest way, because it is a text that defies easy description.  There are more types that it is, than things that it is not.
Kris Rampersad

Kris Rampersad
The publication is Littscapes: Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago by Kris Rampersad, published in St Augustine, Trinidad, in 2012.  The bibliographical details describe it as “First Edition 2012”, which is not surprising, given its multi-tasking nature and its wide reach, and this suggests also, that considering the several things that it seems to set out to cover, there is more to come in future editions.
It is 200 pages of written and visual text, presenting the landscape of Trinidad and Tobago in passages of descriptions, explanations and quotations, very impressively supported and complemented by hundreds of colour photographs and excerpts from the literature of the country.  Rampersad always interweaves into her own descriptions, the pieces taken from the literature, so that one gets pictures of the several varied subjects from the point of view of the writers and of their fictional characters. These are taken predominantly from works of fiction covering a range of short stories and novels, but to a lesser extent, there is reference to poetry and drama.
The idea of “littscapes” comes from drawing from the literature to give scenes, views and visions of landscape and life in clear, colourful, illustrative pictures as well as snippets of how they are treated in the literature.  It is a quite thorough artistic concept.  It is a portrait and biography of the nation of Trinidad and Tobago which actually pays tribute to the Repub-lic in 2012, the year of its 50th anniversary of Independence.  The book is attractively, neatly and effectively designed, using a recurring motif of the double-T – “TT”, which, of course, is “Trinidad and Tobago”, but is also “literature” so that there is not only the visual impact but the tribute to nationhood as reflected in the various works of literature.
Littscapes is a work of art; but also it is a documentary, a travelogue, a critical work with visual and literary power.  It takes us on a tour of the country, giving some exposure to almost every aspect of life.  It may be too heavy and too academic to be called a tourist guide, but no tourist guide can give a better, more comprehensive introduction to Trinidad. It entices and attracts just as the other glossy tourist literature does; it looks like a weighty volume, but an important factor is that it is very easy to read.  Neither is this link to tourism accidental, because one of the objectives of the book is that it must show the value that literature has in promoting and presenting and selling the nation. It must show different uses of literature, encourage new approaches to it and make it more attractive and interesting.  The book does for literature, what literature does for the country.
Rampersad tours the countryside and highlights features of it, at the same time exploring the literature to indicate how the writers treat the subjects, what they or their fictional characters say, and how they are used in the plots.  Photographs of several sections of Port of Spain are accompanied by the descriptions and literary excerpts; this treatment is given to the capital city, other towns, streets, urban communities, villages, historic buildings and places, vegetation, animals, institutions, culture and landscape.  There is considerable visual beauty, what Derek Walcott calls “visual surprise” in his Nobel Lecture (1992); an impressive coverage of social history, geography, and politics, but also a strong literary experience.  It is a survey of Trinidad’s landscape and of its literature.
The publication reflects a considerable volume of reading, drawing from as early as Walter Ralegh at the dawn of Caribbean literature, which adds historical character and depth to the landscape and culture.  The references include early fiction such as ARF Webber’s Those That Be In Bondage. The connectedness of nationhood becomes relevant again here, since both Webber and Ralegh have ties to Guyana as strong, if not stronger than those with Trinidad.  The relevance of this literature to the building of Guyanese nationhood is similar to the case of Trinidad here. Just as the historical development of the country is reflected in the places and monuments, so it is in the rise of social realism through the fiction of the 1930s in Port of Spain. Rampersad presents her subjects through the eyes of CLR James and writers from the Beacon group such as Alfred Mendes, and has done the painstaking work analogous to that of a lexicographer, of sorting out their several hundred references to her subjects.
This account includes some memorable passages of real literary criticism, although these are very brief. They include the entries on The Humming Bird Tree by Ian McDonald, another writer that is more Guyanese than Trinidadian, with instructive insights into the novel’s title and its meaning.  Others are the references to Lion House in Chaguanas and the Capildeo family which hold great interest for background to VS Naipaul.  Naipaul immortalises his mother’s family in Hanuman House and the Tulsis, and Rampersad provides additional information about Naipaul’s use of his migratory existence in her discussions of various parts of Port of Spain. There is also similar enlightenment in the way such locations as San Fernando, Mayaro and Princes Town accumulate greater meaning when used to treat the work of novelist Michael Anthony.  Yet another passage of deep criticism is the brief reference to “girl victims” as they are treated in the fiction.
The other side of that has to do with omissions and reductions.  There are many topics that appear undersubscribed.  There was not much information or there were hardly any literary references, even in places where it is known that the subjects were well treated in the literature.  Examples of these are the entries on politicians, calypsonians and superstitions, all of which abound in the fiction but are not sufficiently handled in Littscapes.  However, while that is noticeable, it could never be a requirement that the book must cover everything – as indeed, it cannot.  Were it a dictionary, one would fault the lexicographer on important omissions, but this work does so much already that it might be unfair to judge it on its omissions or reduced treatments.
Then there are the odd segments in which the publication does in fact behave like a tourist guide without the usual strength of literary material.  Added to this are the errors which are typographical as well as where some details of literary texts are concerned, such as characters, names and titles.  One or two authors are claimed as Trinidadian who might well be claimed by other islands.  Walcott has produced quite a lot of Trinidadian literature, but many references to his work in this book really belong to St Lucia, and not Trinidad.  Then there is the Tobago question.  Trinidad is in all respects the major and dominant island, and this is overwhelmingly reflected in Rampersad’s treatment.  She says in her text that Trinidadian writers on the whole neglect Tobago, treat it as the lesser of two sisters or do not treat it at all.  In this book, therefore, the imbalance is noted.
In the end, Rampersad’s Littscapes does achieve an innovative approach to literature in bringing it alive in the description of landscape, life, culture and people.  It encourages people to take ownership of it, see themselves, their home or familiar places in it and accept it as a definer of identity.  But the book is as much photography by Rampersad and others as it is literature, and the pictures help to illustrate, highlight and make the fiction real.
Above all Littscapes: Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago has an extremely powerful sense of place and reinforces what in Rampersad’s words is “the pull of place on authors”.  It may claim to be an accessory to what she calls “the body of fiction inspired by Trinidad and Tobago”.  It communicates the character of the country.
No one book can be everything; no one book can set out to achieve everything that a literature and a visual text can do for its people and its nation; but whatever you say one book can’t do, this one almost does it.
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Finding a Place gets renewed critical attention

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….As Kris Rampersad has suggested in her assessment of early Indo-Trinidadian

publications in Finding a Place (2002), the emergence of Indian voices onto the political
and literary landscapes of the Caribbean often coincided with anxiety about the effects of
creolization and modernism on Indian women. Seepersad Naipaul’s representation ..
From Indo-Caribbean Feminisms: Charting Crossings in Geography, Discourse, and PoliticsGabrielle Jamela Hosein and Lisa Outar

Redirect Notice

ShameofSlaveryLettersToLizzie

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Dear Lizzie,
Yeah, the shame runs deep and so too the damage done, so how do u begin to repair? more in Letters To Lizzie see https://sites.google.com/site/krisrampersadglobal

See also:

Britain’s colonial shame: Slave-owners given huge payouts after abolition

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/britains-colonial-shame-slaveowners-given-huge-payouts-after-abolition-8508358.html

The true scale of Britain’s involvement in the slave trade has been laid bare in documents revealing how the country’s wealthiest families received the modern equivalent of billions of pounds in compensation after slavery was abolished.

The previously unseen records show exactly who received what in payouts from the Government when slave ownership was abolished by Britain – much to the potential embarrassment of their descendants. Dr Nick Draper from University College London, who has studied the compensation papers, says as many as one-fifth of wealthy Victorian Britons derived all or part of their fortunes from the slave economy.
As a result, there are now wealthy families all around the UK still indirectly enjoying the proceeds of slavery where it has been passed on to them. Dr Draper said: “There was a feeding frenzy around the compensation.” A John Austin, for instance, owned 415 slaves, and got compensation of £20,511, a sum worth nearly £17m today. And there were many who received far more.
Academics from UCL, led by Dr Draper, spent three years drawing together 46,000 records of compensation given to British slave-owners into an internet database to be launched for public use on Wednesday. But he emphasised that the claims set to be unveiled were not just from rich families but included many “very ordinary men and women” and covered the entire spectrum of society.
Dr Draper added that the database’s findings may have implications for the “reparations debate”. Barbados is currently leading the way in calling for reparations from former colonial powers for the injustices suffered by slaves and their families.
Among those revealed to have benefited from slavery are ancestors of the Prime Minister, David Cameron, former minister Douglas Hogg, authors Graham Greene and George Orwell, poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and the new chairman of the Arts Council, Peter Bazalgette. Other prominent names which feature in the records include scions of one of the nation’s oldest banking families, the Barings, and the second Earl of Harewood, Henry Lascelles, an ancestor of the Queen’s cousin. Some families used the money to invest in the railways and other aspects of the industrial revolution; others bought or maintained their country houses, and some used the money for philanthropy. George Orwell’s great-grandfather, Charles Blair, received £4,442, equal to £3m today, for the 218 slaves he owned.
The British government paid out £20m to compensate some 3,000 families that owned slaves for the loss of their “property” when slave-ownership was abolished in Britain’s colonies in 1833. This figure represented a staggering 40 per cent of the Treasury’s annual spending budget and, in today’s terms, calculated as wage values, equates to around £16.5bn.
A total of £10m went to slave-owning families in the Caribbean and Africa, while the other half went to absentee owners living in Britain. The biggest single payout went to James Blair (no relation to Orwell), an MP who had homes in Marylebone, central London, and Scotland. He was awarded £83,530, the equivalent of £65m today, for 1,598 slaves he owned on the plantation he had inherited in British Guyana.
But this amount was dwarfed by the amount paid to John Gladstone, the father of 19th-century prime minister William Gladstone. He received £106,769 (modern equivalent £83m) for the 2,508 slaves he owned across nine plantations. His son, who served as prime minister four times during his 60-year career, was heavily involved in his father’s claim.
Mr Cameron, too, is revealed to have slave owners in his family background on his father’s side. The compensation records show that General Sir James Duff, an army officer and MP for Banffshire in Scotland during the late 1700s, was Mr Cameron’s first cousin six times removed. Sir James, who was the son of one of Mr Cameron’s great-grand-uncle’s, the second Earl of Fife, was awarded £4,101, equal to more than £3m today, to compensate him for the 202 slaves he forfeited on the Grange Sugar Estate in Jamaica.
Another illustrious political family that it appears still carries the name of a major slave owner is the Hogg dynasty, which includes the former cabinet minister Douglas Hogg. They are the descendants of Charles McGarel, a merchant who made a fortune from slave ownership. Between 1835 and 1837 he received £129,464, about £101m in today’s terms, for the 2,489 slaves he owned. McGarel later went on to bring his younger brother-in-law Quintin Hogg into his hugely successful sugar firm, which still used indentured labour on plantations in British Guyana established under slavery. And it was Quintin’s descendants that continued to keep the family name in the limelight, with both his son, Douglas McGarel Hogg, and his grandson, Quintin McGarel Hogg, becoming Lord Chancellor.
Dr Draper said: “Seeing the names of the slave-owners repeated in 20th‑century family naming practices is a very stark reminder about where those families saw their origins being from. In this case I’m thinking about the Hogg family. To have two Lord Chancellors in Britain in the 20th century bearing the name of a slave-owner from British Guyana, who went penniless to British Guyana, came back a very wealthy man and contributed to the formation of this political dynasty, which incorporated his name into their children in recognition – it seems to me to be an illuminating story and a potent example.”
Mr Hogg refused to comment yesterday, saying he “didn’t know anything about it”. Mr Cameron declined to comment after a request was made to the No 10 press office.
Another demonstration of the extent to which slavery links stretch into modern Britain is Evelyn Bazalgette, the uncle of one of the giants of Victorian engineering, Sir Joseph Bazalgette and ancestor of Arts Council boss Sir Peter Bazalgette. He was paid £7,352 (£5.7m in today’s money) for 420 slaves from two estates in Jamaica. Sir Peter said yesterday: “It had always been rumoured that his father had some interests in the Caribbean and I suspect Evelyn inherited that. So I heard rumours but this confirms it, and guess it’s the sort of thing wealthy people on the make did in the 1800s. He could have put his money elsewhere but regrettably he put it in the Caribbean.”
The TV chef Ainsley Harriott, who had slave-owners in his family on his grandfather’s side, said yesterday he was shocked by the amount paid out by the government to the slave-owners. “You would think the government would have given at least some money to the freed slaves who need to find homes and start new lives,” he said. “It seems a bit barbaric. It’s like the rich protecting the rich.”
The database is available from Wednesday at: ucl.ac.uk/lbs.
Cruel trade
Slavery on an industrial scale was a major source of the wealth of the British empire, being the exploitation upon which the West Indies sugar trade and cotton crop in North America was based. Those who made money from it were not only the slave-owners, but also the investors in those who transported Africans to enslavement. In the century to 1810, British ships carried about three million to a life of forced labour.
Campaigning against slavery began in the late 18th century as revulsion against the trade spread. This led, first, to the abolition of the trade in slaves, which came into law in 1808, and then, some 26 years later, to the Act of Parliament that would emancipate slaves. This legislation made provision for the staggering levels of compensation for slave-owners, but gave the former slaves not a penny in reparation.
More than that, it said that only children under six would be immediately free; the rest being regarded as “apprentices” who would, in exchange for free board and lodging, have to work for their “owners” 40 and a half hours for nothing until 1840. Several large disturbances meant that the deadline was brought forward and so, in 1838, 700,000 slaves in the West Indies, 40,000 in South Africa and 20,000 in Mauritius were finally liberated.
David Randall

DR NICK DRAPER Sunday 24 February 2013
We must be honest about our role in slavery
Britain’s view of its involvement in slavery is that we abolished the slave trade and we abolished slavery, and that we were the first nation to do either of these things.If you ask almost anybody for free association around the words Britain and slavery, they’ll tell you: “Wilberforce”, “abolition” and then perhaps something about the Caribbean or Africa, and it will be in that order because that’s what we’ve been brought up to think about. So what our work is doing is trying to re-inscribe slavery into Britain’s history, rather than leaving the only connection between the two as abolition.We’re not saying that Britain as a whole was created by slavery – that is not tenable as an argument. But we are saying that slavery had a material part to play in the formation of modern Britain.We are arguing that a significant minority of the aristocracy and business drew its wealth reasonably directly from slavery and slave ownership, but the objective of this work is not to point fingers at families or firms. It is instead to establish an empirical basis of knowledge common to all. Public perceptions will change only if pieces of work such as ours are done and then injected into the public domain.We’re not going to transform people’s view of British history, but we might contribute to a transformation that could take place over 10 or 15 years. It would be to move to a new consensus, which is that Britain was a major slave-trading and slave-owning power for more than 200 years and that that period significantly contributed, through industrialisation driven in part by the transfer of wealth from expropriation of enslaved people’s labour, to the emergence of modern Britain.
Dr Nick Draper is research associate on the ‘Legacies of British Slavery Ownership Project’ at University College London

Rome Confluence of civilisations in art and water

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Piazza Navona,  one of my favourite spots in Rome. The artwork of the confluence of civilisations in its riverways represented in art – the fountain’s sculpture which depicts the convergence of the four rivers made an indelible impression when I visited, maybe too because Rome has been one of my faviourite sites in it’s conversation with the past ….
The Trevi Fountain, itself, warms the heart as it conjures up the movie Three Coins in Fountain and the music of the movie too … as indeed that movie has influenced the way we view fountains wherever they are ….see https://sites.google.com/site/krisrampersadglobal 

Heritage Convention workshop ends on positive note – stakeholders meet President

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A plan of action to preserve Guyana’s loyalty upon ratifying the 2003 Convention on Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage was advanced at the end of a two-day workshop hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
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Programme Specialist in Culture at the UNESCO Cluster Officer in Jamaica Himalchuli Gurung presents a book to President Donald Ramotar, in the presence of Minister of Culture Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony, Director of Culture Dr James Rose and Secretary General for the Guyana National Commission for UNESCO Inge Nathoo

With Consultant Dr. Kris Rampersad facilitating, stakeholders at the workshop were able to map out a step-by-step process by which Guyana can safeguard its intangible cultural heritage. A key element will include involvement of community stakeholders where it is believed the wealth of knowledge about things cultural is guarded and the holders of that culture can be easily identified.
Dr. Rampersad, a media cultural and literary consultant, researcher and writer, who brought the good news to President Donald Ramotar, yesterday,  said the community component is a principal element.
“We are all on board with what these conventions can do for Guyana… in terms of activating the communities to take charge of their cultures, knowing how in Guyana some of the communities are so remote and the fact that some of the cultures are disappearing so quickly, not just with erosion from outside influences, but just from the mere fact that the young people are no longer interested,” Dr. Rampersaud said.
The workshop was deemed a success as it was well attended, lively and informative, according to Director of Culture Dr James Rose, who joined Minister of Culture Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony in yesterday’s courtesy call on President Ramotar.
The visiting team, which also included Programme Specialist in Culture at the UNESCO Cluster Officer in Jamaica Himalchuli Gurung, and Secretary General for the Guyana National Commission for UNESCO Inge Nathoo, engaged in meaningful dialogue with President Ramotar on the importance of preserving Guyana’s cultural heritage and the procedures and implications of ratifying the Convention.
In 2006, the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage came into force, with 149 member states as of January 2013 adopting.
It is based on the goals of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, ensuring respect for the intangible cultural heritage of communities, groups and individuals concerned, raising awareness of and appreciation for the importance of the intangible cultural heritage at local, national and international levels, and providing international cooperation and assistance. 
http://www.guyanachronicleonline.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=55504:heritage-convention-workshop-ends-on-positive-note–stakeholders-meet-president&catid=2:news&Itemid=3

Intangible cultural heritage workshop very successful

Intangible cultural heritage workshop very successful-Minister Anthony
Georgetown, GINA, February 15, 2013
The Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO’s) two-day stakeholders’ workshop to raise public awareness of intangible cultural heritage has been deemed very successful by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony.
The ministry with support from UNESCO’s Kingston office launched the workshop at the Umana Yana on February 12, as part of this year’s Mashramani activities with the objective of creating public awareness of Guyana ratifying the 2003 Convention for safeguarding of the country’s cultural heritage.
Minister Anthony, Director of Culture Dr. James Rose, UNESCO, Programme Specialist in Culture, Himalchuli Gurung and Media/Literary/Cultural Consultant and Facilitator of the Workshop Dr. Kris Rampersaud this afternoon briefed the press on the result of the initiative.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony, Director of Culture Dr. James Rose, UNESCO, Programme Specialist in Culture, Himalchuli Gurung and Media/Literary/Cultural Consultant and Facilitator of the Workshop Dr. Kris Rampersaud. The workshop sought to raise public awareness of intangible cultural heritage

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony, Director of Culture Dr. James Rose, UNESCO, Programme Specialist in Culture, Himalchuli Gurung and Media/Literary/Cultural Consultant and Facilitator of the Workshop Dr. Kris Rampersaud. The workshop sought to raise public awareness of intangible cultural heritage
Minister Anthony said it was an important workshop that helped the participants to understand and better appreciate what the convention is about, and its role in protecting intangible heritage.
“Now we are better able to appreciate the value of the convention to a country like ours,” Minister Anthony said. “We thought that it was important to bring various stakeholders in, because by making people a little more aware of what is taking place in the world and what can be done locally, will help us to move this forward.”
Minister Anthony said that the dialogue that took place during the workshop would have caused Guyana to seriously consider ratifying the convention.
He also expressed gratitude for the UNESCO partnership and said that the ministry looks forward to other such joint ventures including one towards making Georgetown a Heritage site.
As a result of the workshop the participants committed and formed themselves into a National Stakeholder Awareness group towards promoting the convention across Guyana. A National Action Plan towards this objective was also reached.
Dr. Rose described the workshop as “two days of excellent interchange. The workshop helped us to better appreciate all the implications of the ratification. It helped us to become more conscious of the value, variety, diversity of Guyana’s intangible cultural heritage and the workshop gave us an opportunity to recommit ourselves to safeguarding that rich legacy which we hope to pass on to generations to come,” he said.
He said, the ministry was pleased with the participants’ commitment to working steadfastly towards seeing that Guyana ratifies the convention and doing everything possible locally and where necessary networking with regional and international bodies to ensure that Guyana’s intangible culture heritage is protected, promoted, studied and valued.
Dr. Rampersaud, in going through what took place in those two-days said that it was very commendable of the Guyana Government to first seek to bring public awareness of the convention before signing on.
“Often times we find in the region that countries go into things, ratify and then the public hears about it,” she said.
“Kudos for your country and Government that it needed to bring this before the public and lay out what are the terms and conditions of it, the implications,” Dr. Rampersaud added.
Gurung said that as of January 2013, the 2003 convention has been ratified by 149 countries around the world. “It is really gaining popularity because of its significance for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage,” she said.
Gurung said that UNESCO defines intangible heritage culture as living heritage and intangible culture is culture manifested through various forms including rituals, practices, and performing arts.

Stakeholders’ workshop seeks to raise awareness of intangible cultural heritage

Stakeholders’ workshop seeks to raise awareness of intangible cultural heritage
Georgetown, GINA, February 12, 2013
The Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport in collaboration with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO’s) Kingston office for the Caribbean, Jamaica and the National Commission for UNESCO Guyana, today launched a two-day stakeholders’ workshop to raise awareness on the 2003 convention for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage.
This workshop which is being held at the Umana Yana is part of this year’s Mashramani activities held under the theme, “Reflecting Creativity, Embracing Diversity”.
Books on display about Guyana’s history at the stakeholders’ workshop at the Umana Yana

Books on display about Guyana’s history at the stakeholders’ workshop at the Umana Yana
The convention is one of seven held in the field of culture and is intended to ensure respect for intangible cultural heritage of communities, groups and individuals, to raise awareness and appreciation of the importance of such heritage and to provide for international cooperation and assistance.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds who declared the workshop open said that intangible things are of great importance in today’s society, and that the world today is truly coming together rapidly as one. “This is a good thing, this is something that many have been calling for all along, but there is the realisation that different cultures and languages may be dropped as the world becomes one,” the Prime Minister said.
The Caribbean with its four to five hundred years of turbulent history around slavery and indentured labourers has created a small area where the world has been coming together.
Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds delivering remarks at the launch of the stakeholders’ workshop at the Umana Yana

Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds delivering remarks at the launch of the stakeholders’ workshop at the Umana Yana
PM Hinds highlighted that Government realises that culture is an important aspect of nation building, and lauded the Culture Ministry for its effort to make cultural activities relevant to the country.
Facilitator Dr. Kris Rampersad said that the workshop will explore the interrelation between and among the conventions, particularly, what these conventions have in store for the people of Guyana, and work towards implementing them.
She explained that participants will have a chance to learn how these conventions could strengthen policies, infrastructure, legislations, and the policy framework.
“We have the knowledge and the experiences that we can share with the rest of the world and we can use these mechanisms that UNESCO offers to do that,” she said.
Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds receives a copy of a book on intangible culture

Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds receives a copy of a book on intangible culture
This programme started in 2006, and the domains covered by the convention include, oral expression and tradition, performing arts, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe and traditional craftsmanship. At present, 149 countries have ratified this convention and 65 persons have been trained as facilitators.
“If you know what tangible culture is and how important it is, then you become more committed to it,” said Director of Culture Dr. James Rose. He encouraged persons to participate in this edifying workshop which will be of great benefit to them.
The work shop is being held under the theme, “Safeguarding our human treasure from generation to generation”.

LiTTribute 11 – LiTTurgy to the Mainland” with readings and performances inspired by Rampersaud’s book LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago

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Moray House

20130216ALLiTTscapes: Moray House Trust in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture and the Theatre Guild and in association with Trinidadian Dr Kris Rampersaud yesterday presented “LiTTribute 11 – LiTTurgy to the Mainland” with readings and performances inspired by Rampersaud’s book LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago. The coffee-table style book contains photos and writings from T&T. In photo: Rampersaud (right) hands over a copy of her book to UG’s Al Creighton. It will be available in the University of Guyana library. (Photo by Arian Browne)http://www.stabroeknews.com/2013/media/photos/02/16/moray-house/

See video: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=littscapes+

Reflections on inTTrinsic connecTTions
By The AuTThor: Kris Rampersad
at LiTTribute II – LiTTurgy to the Mainland:
Readings and Performances inspired by
LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction From Trinidad and Tobago
Moray House Trust, Georgetown, Guyana
February 15, 2013
Mistress of Ceremonies: Paloma Mohammed and longtime friend; Professor Al Creighton: Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana and Head of the Guyana Prise for Literature; Distinguished guests all, Friends
Students of the Guyana Theatre Guild – brilliant, brilliant interpretation of the introduction to LiTTscapes.
I salute you, thank you for making the work your own, because that is what it was meant to be – to be claimed and owned and rendered by the generations next and those to come.
If I might begin by drawing attention to the title of this event – a LiTTribute – first of all – a title with which I took obvious authorial licence – as a combination of a literary tribute that has Trinidad and Tobago at its centre and which also celebrates other creative disciplines of music, song, dance, art and architecture, fashion and cuisine.
 A confession – this is really not just the second such – if one were to count the launch of LiTTscapes itself during the jubilee of Independence month in August last year which set the tone for the LiTTribute (To the Republic) – hosted by Trinidad and Tobago’s First Lady in celebration of the 36thanniversary of Trinidad and Tobago’s Republican status. That in itself was followed by the inaugural LiTTour – which is literary journeys evoking tribute to the landscapes of fiction from Trinidad and Tobago and took on a life of its own – as on that fateful journey we stumbled upon the defaced tombs of some of the earliest European settlers in South Trinidad – a French family shipwrecked enroute from Martinque to Venezuela in the mid 17th century.
Yep – that is our Caribbean story. Inescapably, our stories are tied up and entangled and intermingled with each other’s and that goes back into our prehistory.
As now, the unfolding story of LiTTscapes – post-publication – unfolds with these LiTTributes, the LiTTours, but also the expanding knowledge that will be reflected in the next publication on my table – Letters to Lizzie – an engagement with Queen Elizabeth in the context of her 60th jubilee celebrations and our 50thanniversary of Independence (the celebration of which I have found particularly problematic to identify with – given that my whole orientation, the whole vision and world view of LiTTscapes is that we ought not to be defining our age in terms of the time of recent self governance but as the sum total of all our history and experiences; the sum total of all the peoples who came and those whom they met there; and the yet nebulous truth of from whence they came and how our islands and this our continent began).
What the story of these LiTTributes unfolds, is that it is clearer and clearer that as islands, we are not just islands. We are part of that continent at the beginning of the world, as Lawrence Scott in his novel, featured in LiTTscapes articulates.
So it brings me to beginnings. I have never been able to contemplate the history of my islands as the isolated story of Independence or colonialisation or even migration, not the recent migrations that brought most of us here, nor even the prehistoric ones.
I have poured over maps and drew the invisible line that connects South American rivers and topography with our islands; and looked at biological studies of our flora and fauna and geological and anthropological and archeological reports, and even without that, know, there are primordial linkages which we have been taught to forget.
Within the whole context of debates and discussions about globalisation are those other debates and discussions – those on globe-forming – in which we have not really seen ourselves, but in which our writers – our writers of fiction position us.
A couple months ago when an anaconda crawled up the Caroni River, Trinidad’s attention was jerked awake to the realities of such primordial connections to the ecology of South America. It is part of our knowledge we have buried somewhere in the dark recesses of our heads.
Until about four years ago, I had never been to Guyana – the land just a stone’s throw away – and then only for a day so all I saw was the route to the airport and back, and immediately it recreated for me the landscape around the Gangetic plains from which some of our ancestors originated.
Last year I was back and this time for a couple more days and saw a little more, something of what lay behind the mystique of the Demerara River.
This time around, my third tryst here, I braved the potholed roads and on a return boat that is a little more than canoe more and ventured further into what Joseph Conrad might call the heart of darkness.
For me, it was the heart of light; the niggling inside my head that is getting more insistent of late as I research and get ready to release Letters to Lizzie (that is if I can get the time and headspace to finish writing it!); the niggling that there is so much more beyond our immediate geographic space; beyond the waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean that washes upon us that we often view as waters that divide us but which to me contain our shared experiences and heritage and cultures.
But I have not had only three visits to Guyana – so as our master calypsonian would say, I lied! You see I had already visited Guyana a hundred times through my imagination, through research and through the stories and poems of your authors like Wilson Harris, Roy Heath, Edgar Mittelholtzer, Jan Carew and Martin Carter. (And Al Creighton in his comrephensive and incisive and generous review mentioned Raleigh and Ian MacDonald whom we share along with Lakshmi Seetaram-Persaud who is married to a Guyanese Al – they do not belong to Guyana alone (and there is only one Derek Walcott citation in LiTTscapes that refers to St Lucia, the other citations are all based on his comments on Trinidad).
Even before last week when I went to the native people’s habitats in Berbice, I had already sailed with Wilson Harris’ Donne hundreds of times to the Palace of the Peacock a conqueror and captor; and participated in the density of history and the condensation of time he saw, as a surveyor, mirrored in the Guyana hinterland that he has been able to infuse in his novels;
I had numerous hilarious private moments laughing at Lizzie, through John Agard’s mashing up the Queen’s English – so now she had to take note and made him the UK’s poet laureate – hats off and congrats!
And I had, with Martin Carter and Walter Rodney danced on the walls of prison and shared an insistent that although a prison, it was my wall and hence mines to cry or dance on. And that is why I requested the Dance interpretation of Martin Carter’s poem The Knife of Dawn. And I have never seized to marvel at this one, written in 1927 with the lines “We who are sweepers of an ancient sky; discoverers of new planet, sudden stars… “ Yes, you heard me, written in 1927, before space travel, before mega thrusts to the moon” Our writers have been our visionaries though we have remained blind to the enormous possibilities and potentials of ourselves that they have been presenting us with.
So that’s why I asked and was immediately granted my wish for a dance interpretation of Carter’s poem which will be done by the Guyana National School of Dance – thank you for that, Paloma, for so readily agreeing without even knowing what a tremendous source of inspiration that poem has been in its notes of defiance, of empowerment, of envisioning – and which still is to me in all of what I try to do!
That item will close tonight’s LiTTribute: and indeed the LiTTurgy to the Mainland: thought they may think they may be paying tribute to LiTT scapes, the work before us today; it is also my tribute to a source of inspiration and which I present to those who follow and hope they to will take what might have seemed to be a ridiculous and petulant decision to make my dance right here; to remain in the Caribbean and continue the exploration of the nuts and bolts that make it this place we love so well and so love to hate as well. And that despite the tremendous force that is constantly in operation to insist that there is a better world out there to make someone of ourselves – forcing and pushing our young people out to discover new planets and sudden stars elsewhere – not the ones hanging over their heads.
It is this kind of reawakening that I am hoping of LiTTscapes and its ambitions and intentions – what I called at its launch last year a revolution – a revolution in reading! A revolution to re-envisioning ourselves; at how we look at our world in the first and foremost instance, and how we look at the rest of the world and our place in it – as centres, not on the periphery – as sweepers of an ancient sky; not as offsprings in a new world; and as DISCOVERERS – of new planets and sudden star; not stargazers.
 That is our challenge: to lift ourselves above and beyond the self derision and self negation we have been hinged.
What brought me to Guyana this time was my own exploratory urge.
LiTTscapes, I hope is a stimulant to curiosity – to be curious about ourselves in the first instance, our immediate locale and to discover and explore and rediscover ourselves and those around us an those who have been exploring and discovering those around us – our writers – who have probed and can stimulate us to probe deeper, beneath ourselves – to move beyond the self-derision and self deprecation and the discover our ugliness too, and too, our beauty.
That’s what I found in the Guyana hinterland this week – what I began to find as I traced the imaginary line that connects us – island and continent.
This is a LiTTurgy – a praise song: to all those who came before, and on whose enormous shoulders we stand and are dwarfed.
I thank you for this opportunity.

Introduces nation as no tourist guide can – Innovative Approach to Literature in LiTTscapes – Littscapes Part2 – YouTube

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Littscapes Part2 – YouTube

No tourist guide can give more comprehensive intro to nation as LiTTscapes
 Review  & Appraisal of LiTTscapes  by Professor Al Creighton,  Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana and of the Guyana Prize for Literature at LiTTribute II – LiTTurgy to the Mainland at Moray House Trust, Georgetown
We are in the presence this afternoon of a neat kind of confluence.  Guyana at this time is in the middle of celebrating nationhood – the peak of it is Republic Day one week from now.  The publication being launched in Guyana today is a celebration of nationhood as it is captured through photography, an explanatory text and the literature of Trinidad and Tobago.  The easiest way to begin an analysis of this book Littscapes by Kris Rampersad is to describe it – give an idea so that the audience gets a clear picture of exactly what it is.  But that is not the easiest way, because it is a text that defies easy description.  There are more types that it is than things that it is not.
The publication is Littscapes : Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago by Kris Rampersad, published in St Augustine, Trinidad, in 2012.  The bibliographical details describe it as “First Edition 2012”, which is not surprising, given its multi-tasking nature and its wide reach, and this suggests that, also considering the several things that it seems to set out to cover, there is more to come in future editions. 
It is 200 pages of written and visual text, presenting the landscape of Trinidad and Tobago in passages of descriptions, explanations and quotations, very impressively supported and complemented by hundreds of colour photographs and excerpts from the literature of the country.  Rampersad always interweaves into her own descriptions, the pieces taken from the literature, so that one gets pictures of the several varied subjects from the point of view of the writers and of their fictional characters.  These are taken predominantly from works of fiction covering a range of short stories and novels, but to a lesser extent, there is reference to poetry and drama. 
The idea of “littscapes” comes from this drawing from the literature to give scenes, views and visions of landscape and life in clear, colourful, illustrative pictures as well as snippets of how they are treated in the literature.  It is a quite thorough artistic concept.  It is a portrait and biography of the nation of Trinidad and Tobago which actually pays tribute to the Republic in 2012, the year of its 50th anniversary of Independence.  The book is attractively, neatly and effectively designed, using a recurring motif of the double-T – “TT”, which, of course, is “Trinidad and Tobago”, but is also “literature” so that there is not only the visual impact but the tribute to nationhood as reflected in the various works of literature.
Littscapes is a work of art; but also it is a documentary, a travelogue, a critical work with visual and literary power.  It takes us on a tour of the country, giving some exposure to almost every aspect of life.  It may be too heavy and too academic to be called a tourist guide, but no tourist guide can give a better, more comprehensive introduction to Trinidad.  It entices and attracts just as the glossy tourist literature;  it looks a weighty volume, but an important factor is that it is very easy to read.  Neither is this link to tourism accidental, because one of the objectives of the book is that it must show the value that literature has in promoting and presenting the nation.  It must show different uses of literature, encourage new approaches to it and make it more attractive and interesting.  The book does for literature, what literature does for the country.
 Rampersad tours the countryside and highlights features of it, at the same time exploring the literature to indicate how the writers treat the subjects, what they or their fictional characters say, and how they are used in the plots.  Photographs of several sections of Port-of-Spain are accompanied by the descriptions and literary excerpts: this treatment is given to the capital city, other towns, streets, urban communities, villages, historic buildings and places, vegetation, animals, institutions, culture and landscape.  There is considerable visual beauty, what Derek Walcott calls “visual surprise” in his Nobel Lecture; an impressive coverage of social history, geography, and politics, but also a strong literary experience.  It is a survey of Trinidad’s landscape and of its literature.
The publication reflects a considerable volume of reading, drawing from as early as Walter Raleigh at the dawn of Caribbean literature, which adds historical character and depth to the landscape and culture.  The references include early fiction such as ARF Webber’s Those That Be In Bondage.  The connectedness of nationhood becomes relevant again here, since both Webber and Raleigh have ties to Guyana as strong if not stronger than those with Trinidad.  Just as the historical development of the country is reflected in the places and monuments, so it is in the rise of social realism through the fiction of the 1930s in Port-of-Spain.  Rampersad presents her subjects through the eyes of CLR James and writers from the Beacon group such as Alfred Mendes, and has done the painstaking work analogous to that of a lexicographer, of sorting out their several hundred references to her subjects. 
This account includes some memorable passages of real literary criticism, although these are brief.  They include the entries on The Humming Bird Tree by Ian McDonald, another writer that is more Guyanese than Trinidadian, with instructive insights into the novel’s title and its meaning.  Others are the references to Lion House in Chaguanas and the Capildeo family which hold great interest for background to VS Naipaul.  He immortalises his mother’s family in Hanuman House and the Tulsis, and Rampersad provides additional information about Naipaul’s use of his migratory existence in her discussions of various parts of Port-of-Spain.  There is also similar enlightenment in the way such locations as San Fernando, Mayaro and Princes Town accumulate greater meaning when used to treat the work of novelist Michael Anthony.  Yet another passage of deep criticism is the reference to “girl victims” as they are treated in the fiction.
The other side of that has to do with omissions and reductions.  There are many topics that appear undersubscribed.  There was not much information or there were hardly any literary references, even in places where it is known that the subjects were well treated in the literature.  Examples of these are the entries on politicians, calypsonians and superstitions, all of which abound in the fiction but not in Littscapes.  However, while that is noticeable, it could never be a requirement that the book must cover everything – as indeed, it cannot.  Were it a dictionary, one would fault the lexicography on important omissions, but this work does so much already that it might be unfair to judge it on its omissions or reduced treatments. 
Then there are the odd segments in which the publication does behave like a tourist guide without the usual strength of literary material.  Added to this are the errors which are typographical as well as where some small details of literary texts are concerned, such as characters, names and titles.  One or two authors are claimed as Trinidadian who might well be claimed by other islands.  Walcott has produced quite a lot of Trinidadian literature, but many references to his work in this book really belong to St Lucia, and not Trinidad.  Then there is the Tobago question.  Trinidad is in all respects the major and dominant island, and this is overwhelmingly reflected in Rampersad’s treatment.  She says in her text that Trinidadian writers on the whole neglect Tobago, treat it as the lesser of two sisters or do not treat it at all.  In this book, therefore, the imbalance is noted.  
In the end, Rampersad’s Littscapes does achieve an innovative approach to literature in bringing it alive in the description of landscape, life, culture and people.  It encourages people to take ownership of it, see themselves, their home or familiar places in it and accept it as a definer of identity.  But the book is as much photography by Rampersad and others as it is literature, and the pictures help to illustrate, highlight and make the fiction real.
Above all Littscapes: Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago  has an extremely powerful sense of place and reinforces what in Rampersad’s words is “the pull of place on authors”.  It may claim to be an accessory to what she calls “the body of fiction inspired by Trinidad and Tobago”.  It communicates the character of the country. 
No one book can be everything; no one book can set out to achieve everything that a literature and a visual text can do for its people and its nation; but whatever you say one book can’t do, this one almost does it.
                                                                                                Al Creighton

                                                                                                University of Guyana