WELCOME TO THE 2016 GUYANA FOLK FESTIVAL SEASON
Celebrating GCA’s 15th Anniversary & Guyana’s 50th Anniversary of Independence!
This year the Guyana Cultural Association of New York Inc. will celebrate its 15th anniversary. We are pleased to associate this moment with Guyana’s Golden Jubilee. This note is to introduce you to our plans for 2016.
The theme for GCA’s 2013 annual symposium was “Who Are We? Or…Imagining Guyana beyond Indian and African Politics of Race.” That focus was influenced by an editorial in the Sunday Stabroek of August 11, 2013. That editorial spoke to the persistence of ethnic mistrust in Guyanese society and its retarding effect on all aspects of Guyanese life.
The 2013 symposium attracted participants from Guyana and its diaspora. The participants concluded that the pervasive ignorance of Guyana’s collective multi-ethnic history and heritage is contributing to the perpetuation of the racist myths and stereotypes. These nourish and reinforce ethnic mistrust and undermine the development of a just and caring society.
One recommendation was a three year program of events to address these problems. The process anticipated the development of partnerships among stakeholders in Guyana and the diaspora.
This was the background to the “We Bridgin …” initiative, which has informed and guided our work since 2014. As with our work plan in 2014, all of the events on the 2015 Folk Festival calendar served as bridges to strengthen relationships between diaspora and homeland, to connect generations, and to continue to provide a family-friendly space for enjoying Guyana’s creativity.
The improvement of GCA’s communications infrastructure and establishment of the Guyana Arts and Cultural Center in December 2015 are facilitating GCA’s “Bridgin” work in 2016. ”
Our calendar starts earlier in 2016. Through our ongoing partnership with Guyana’s Department of Culture, Youth, and Sport, GCA is involved in the following 50th anniversary programs in May 2016:
National Symposium series
The symposium series scheduled for Guyana and New York, will reflect on four interrelated questions: Who are we? How has been the journey [since independence]? What can we become? How can we get there? The symposium in Guyana will be held on May 23 and 24 at the Arthur Chung International Conference Center. The New York leg will be held at York College, on June 5, 2016.
The Literary Festival
We are proud to be associated with Guyana’s inaugural literary festival. The inaugural literary festival is envisaged as a multi-day, multi-program event. The objectives of the festival are to:
- Increase the competencies of emerging creative writers in Guyana
- Improve Guyana’s standing as a destination with a distinctive cultural product
- Raise awareness of Guyana’s literary heritage
- Encourage reading and support literacy
- Establish an organization to ensure sustainability of the literary festival
As you will expect, all of our events in 2016 will be special. Here are some of the emerging highlights of the upcoming season:
Caribbean Heritage Workshop Series
The Caribbean Heritage Workshops, which are open to all children of Caribbean heritage in New York, will provide opportunities to study and celebrate Caribbean culture through the creative arts. The workshops will take place July 5 to August 14. This program is supported by New York City Council Member Mathieu Eugene, New York City Council Member Jumaane Williams, Materials for the Arts, the New York City Department of Children and Youth, community groups: New York Tutorial Support Group, Guyana Tri-State Alliance and Caribbean American Social Workers Organization.
The Awards ceremony will be held on August 31, 2016 at Brooklyn Borough Hall.
Come to My Kwe Kwe
This year’s Kwe Kwe will be held on Friday, September 2 at St. Stephens Church Auditorium, Brooklyn, New York.
The date and venue for the 2016 Literary Hang will be announced.
Family Fun Day
The annual Family Fun Day will be held on Sunday, September 4 at Old Boys High School Grounds, Brooklyn.
The date, venue, and theme for our annual symposium will be announced soon.
In addition to our annual events, we are developing other Brooklyn-based events. These include:
- The GCA 15th Anniversary Church Service – July 17, 2016 – St. Stephens Church
- An International Photographic Exhibition – Date and Venue to be announced
- 15th Anniversary Gala – Date and Venue to be announced
- Food & Wine Festival – Date & Venue to be announced
Since 2012, GCA and the Department of Culture, Youth, and Sport have been partners in an initiative to reinvigorate the art form. Masquerade Jamboree, scheduled for Guyana in December 2016, will be the high point in this partnership. One element in the jamboree will be the “International Flounce Off.”
We look forward to staying in touch and sharing further details. Your ongoing support during our 15th anniversary will be appreciated.
Vibert C. Cambridge, Ph.D., President
Guyana Cultural Association of New York, Inc.