Premier regional artiste and academic Professor Rex Nettleford of Jamaica will launch the CARIFESTA IX Symposia at 10 am on Saturday September 23

September 21, 2006 — Premier regional artiste and academic Professor Rex Nettleford of Jamaica will launch the CARIFESTA IX Symposia at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 23. In a keynote address celebrating the life and work of renowned Caribbean poet Louise Bennett who died earlier this year, Professor Nettleford, under CARIFESTA’s thematic umbrella of Celebrating our people, contesting the world stage,” will speak on the topic: “The Caribbean Writer and Language: The contribution of Louise Bennett to establishing we own voice.”

The Symposia Committee is chaired by award winner, writer, poet and academic professor Funso Aiyejina, who is presently deputy chair of the Faculty of Humanities at the University Of The West Indies at St Augustin.

The Symposia promises a week of intellectual feasting on insightful and thought-provoking round table discussions of regional concern and featuring leading Caribbean thinkers, writers and artistes. Among those scheduled to participate are: Trinidadians Earl Lovelace, award winning novelist and Carifesta’s artistic director, Eintou Springer, Merle Hodge, Patricia Mohammed, LeRoy Clarke, Michael Anthony, Pat Bishop; Bahamian writers, Nicolette Bethel and Eric Rose; Barbara Lalla and Sydney Bartley from Jamaica; Alwyn Bully from Dominica. Lennox Caneterbury and Gordon Rohlehr from Guyana, Ijahyna Christian, Davon Carty and Veronica Hodge of Anguilla, Cuba will be represented by Marlen Ruiz Fonseca and Rigoberto Lopez; and Barbados by Harclyde Walcott, Janice Whittle, Annette Nias and Ashanti Trotman.

Symposia topics will explore Caribbean concerns about the visual and performing arts; Theater in Education, described as Alter/Natïve Voices; Conversation between Creators and Critics; and The Obligations of Caribbean Artists and Writers to the Development of the Region. The perspectives of young Caribbeans represent an important contribution and will be heard through the voices of Attillah Springer, Muhammad Muwakil and Nadella Riley, while Brother Resistance and Wendell Manwarren will stress the importance of Caribbean Rapso.

The Symposia concludes on Saturday 30th September by refocusing on the responsibilities of the artists through an intense “Dialogue between Artists, Media, and Cultural Policy Makers on the obligations of the region to its artists and writers.

All Symposia sessions will be held in the V.I.P. Lounge of the National Stadium from 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. each day from September

23– 30. The public is invited.