Looking for genuine Vincentian gifts this Christmas, then this book should definitely be on your list; whether as a well-earned present to yourself, or for that special someone.
Nigel Morgan’s 401 Vincy Caribbean Proverbs will definitely have you laughing out loud, whether relaxing alone, or as you share a moment with family and friends.
Here are a few samples:
Proverb: Keep on yo head. **
English: Keep on your head.
Meaning: Be sober, vigilant, and wise at all times.
Usage: “You must fight peer pressure and keep on yo head.”
Proverb: Bless me eyesight. **
English: Bless my eyesight.
Meaning: When one is surprised to see something or someone.
Usage: Seeing us on television, he yelled, “Bless me eyesight!”
Proverb: Every day bucket gwine ah well, ‘e bottom go drop out.
English: Daily, bucket goes to the well; its bottom will fall out.
Meaning: Amend your ways before things end in tragedy.
Usage: “Every day bucket gwine ah well, ‘e bottom go drop out.”
Proverb: Goat head nar go pan wedding table.
English: Goat head doesn’t go on the wedding table.
Meaning: You don’t go to events where you are not invited.
Usage: “I can’t go there; goat head nar go pan wedding table.”
Proverb: Yo style monkey till yo style um out a fashan. **
English: Style monkey till you style him out of fashion.
Meaning: Too many details will spoil the presentation.
Usage: “Yo style monkey till yo style um out a fashan.”
Proverb: Someting ‘een ah de martar besides de pistle. **
English: There is more in the mortar besides the pestle.
Meaning: There is a hidden plan or secret motive in a matter.
Usage: “Surely, someting ‘een ah de martar besides de pistle.”
Proverb: Yo ha mo tricks dan monkey.
English: You have more tricks than a monkey.
Meaning: You are very clever.
Usage: “Yo ha mo tricks dan monkey,” she told the old thief.
Proverb: De younger de couple de tighter de squeeze. **
English: The younger the couple, the tighter the squeeze.
Meaning: New couples are more intimate than older couples.
Usage: “Surely, de younger the couple de tighter de squeeze.”
Proverb: Every moley bread ha ‘e moley cheese.
English: Every moldy bread has its moldy cheese.
Meaning: Even the strangest person is sure to find a soulmate.
Usage: “I’ll find a mate. Every moley bread ha ‘e moley cheese.”
Mr Morgan stated, “This book captures that unique way of communication inherited from past Vincentian generations for future generations. It uncovers this precious legacy to guide people into maximizing their current existence and future.”
Express Vinci® congratulates Mr. Morgan on the publication of his creative and insightful book; an excellent celebration of Vincentian culture!
© 2017. All rights reserved.
In the words of Mr Carlton ‘CP’ Hall, the sweetest Christmas is around the corner! What are you anticipating the most? Is it time with family, gifts, food or nine morning fun? Your Christmas experience these days may be a little different to the way it was when you were younger but we cannot let life’s troubles and our responsibilities drown out our fond memories of Christmas past.
I’m sure you remember the days when you had to do Christmas cleaning, against your will as a child, while listening to parang only to find yourself singing and dancing to the sweet sounds of Scrunter or the great Baron. You knew exactly what was coming when your mother would turn on the radio and gather cleaning supplies; you’d be wiping down furniture, cleaning windows, and scrubbing and sweeping floors until you were too tired to lift a finger. But it was okay because your reward would be a piece of freshly baked bread or cake or maybe a cold Vita Malt (What is Christmas without Vita Malt?).
Do you recall struggling to wake up early for Nine Mornings? Just thinking about all the activities would give you a surge of excitement. You’d be so enthusiastic knowing you could be up on stage partaking in one of the many games being hosted by CP and when the joke segment came around you’d laugh your belly full. All the while you’re surrounded by the food and drinks of the season. Leaving the festivities behind was always bittersweet as you always wished it was never-ending but the need for sleep or important obligations would eventually set in. So you’d do a little window shopping walking to the bus stop or car on your way home.
One of the most memorable parts of a Vincy Christmas is the lighting up in our communities. This tradition along with house to house serenading, seems to be dwindling but I hope we can keep them alive as they give us an opportunity to come together in peace and love and harmony.
“Me aunty send down barrel!” You know you’re in the thick of the season when you hear these words and you couldn’t wait to see what’s inside. In the last few days before Christmas day, Kingstown is filled to capacity. The supermarket lines are long as people make last minute purchases to ensure that everything is perfect on the big day. As a child, these are the days you would dread as you walk for hours with your parents through Town. Your only consolation is the possibility that they would buy you a toy so you continuously beg in hopes that they’ll give in to your request.
Whether you’re 5 or 50 there is always a certain sense of elation waking up on Christmas morning, a feeling of magic in the air while you look around at your well-decorated home and the delicious scents wafting from the kitchen throughout the day make your mouth water. This is the day of the great feast! Baked pork and chicken, stewed beef, macaroni pie, shepherd’s pie, lasagna, potato salad, stewed, pigeon peas, you name it! Can you almost feel the burning now as Ginger beer hits the back of your throat and you shudder in delight of the taste? Or the fizz you feel in your chest as you quickly gulp down one of our locally made soft drinks? What about the Sorrel? Most of us enjoy a cold glass with our Christmas lunch. Several ham sandwiches will be eaten on this day and you can’t forget the black or fruit cake and of course there’s Black Wine.
Our traditions are unique and important. I hope they will be passed on from generation to generation so we can keep Christmas in SVG alive. Merry Vincy Christmas!
Photo credit: The St.Vincent & The Grenadines Tourist Office, Calvert Jones and Ricky Hill.
Article submitted by: Rashida Munroe.
Arts, Business Buzz, Buzz, Community Buzz, Culture, Entertainment, Events, Fashion & Beauty, LifeStyles, Main Blog, Vinci Foods
We’re all about our blue, yellow and green throughout the month of October. We anticipate the days when we can come out in our colours and proudly wave the national flag and declare that St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the piece of rock in the Caribbean Sea that we are glad to call home. This year after the annual Independence Day parade we had even more activities through which we could express our Vincy pride thanks to Invest SVG. The Everything Vincy Exhibition held at the E.T Joshua Airport over a three day period (October 27th-29th), was the place to be during the independence weekend. This new initiative is aimed at highlighting the products and services that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has to offer and encouraging entrepreneurial spirit as we continue on in nation building. Training workshops were also offered to the business owners who took part in the exhibition to gain knowledge on topics such as customer service and marketing which equips the business owners with tools that would help them take their businesses to the next level. This initiative is one that we are happy to see so well executed and the patrons are excited to attend in the coming years as it gets bigger and better. This is part 2 of the article where we bring you a little insight on some of the exhibitors and their products. If you haven’t read part 1 as yet, click here to view it!
Brio Ché is the brainchild of Bernadette Warren (pictured above) who many may know as Camille. They provide a line of luxury health and beauty products which inlude virgin coconut oil, body scrubs, lotions, lips balms, foot soaks, soy scented candles and massage oils. After looking at the list of products offered by Brio Ché, you’ll notice that just about everything has coconut in it and here’s why. Bernadette was raised primarily by her grandmother and coconut was a huge part of how she earned a living. Along with selling vegetables, she would make and sell coconut snacks and coconut oil and the profits allowed her to provide for Bernadette. She also credits coconut oil as the reason she’s able to stay in good health as she would consume it and use in her hair and on her skin. When Bernadette started out making concoctions to soothe her own and her husband’s skin conditions, she did some research and she knew coconut oil had to be a part of it. The end products were all natural, organic and infused with herbs and healing plants. After they experienced how well the products worked for them and received great reviews from family and friends, she officially registered the Brio Ché business in 2013. The effort that goes into producing such a health conscious yet aesthetically appealing line of products is apparent even in the packaging (which Bernadette shares she plans to make even more eco-friendly). Very soon, you might be able to watch your purchases being made from start to finish; Ms. Warren has high hopes for the next phase of her business which could include a storefront with designated production and retail areas.
Since 1985, Nzimbu Browne has created art that thoroughly reflects the rhythm of Vincentian living. Our history, culture, traditions and landscapes are so eloquently expressed through collages made from what some would consider to be waste. “I take it up and add some intelligence into it” he said as he explained that dried banana leaves and coconut shells are his choice of medium. In addition to his beautiful collages, he also does tie-dye and makes drums. He refers to his creativity as his survival kit as this has been his way of earning a living for over 30 years and his passion and determination shines through in his work ethic. Browne expressed a desire to be on an international market to have his work appreciated and purchased by millions of people and says he’s ready and willing to put in the hard work that this will take.
Melissa Ashton’s Jewelry making talent is actually the gift she prayed for and she’s passionate about putting her blessing to good use. When she made her first pair of earrings she used her teeth to do what her hands couldn’t. Fortunately, her sister saw her need and bought her a pair of pliers which she still uses to this day. She attributes her success thus far to the fact that her aim is to make her customers happy which in turn gives her the greatest feeling of fulfillment. At the moment she makes earrings, necklaces, bracelets, anklets, beaded key-chains and has just started dabbling in the production of scented candles. She hopes to eventually have a storefront where she sells not only her jewelry but glass beads and the findings and components that are involved in the craft. She’s eager to continue building her business and see her small beginnings blossom into great achievements.
If you’re an avid snacker, chances are you’ve seen and probably buy several Cyrus Snacks. After retiring from her day job, in 2008 proud owner Betty Cyrus started making plantain chips for sale. Since then, sweet potato, breadfruit, spicy banana, eddoe and sweet cassava chips have been added to the line of snacks offered. It started out as her way of making use of the food items that she saw would go to waste. It has now blossomed into a substantial business that makes the snacks many Vincentians love to munch on. Betty’s products can be found in almost all of our major supermarkets but she hopes to eventually develop the demand necessary to export her snacks.
Michelle Bacchus Barbour the talent behind tasty creations of Me-Shelli Unique started out as a seamstress. Over ten years ago, she learnt the basics of baking from a friend and went on to try out new things to create cakes and cookies as requested by friends and family. She incorporated these two skills as well as her crafting abilities into a venture that would provide a one of a kind wedding package. This package included custom clothing for the bridal party, handmade bouquets and of course, she could provide the wedding cake. Over time, she became more renowned for her baking than her sewing and so she has decided to stick with it.
The Richmond Vale Academy’s attendance was a timely reminder of the role we play in global warming and climate change. This organization has researched and taught lessons on climate change and initiated projects that include beach cleanups, tree planting and setting up model gardens. They also produce informative radio and television programs and hold open days to help spread their message. The team was eager to share flyers and have insightful conversations with the attendees in hopes that more of us will become Climate Activists and fight to make our country more energy, food and disaster secure. Climate change is real and we have to work together to build a nation that can withstand and overcome its effects.
The exhbitors mentioned are only a sample of what the Everything Vincy Exhibtion had to offer. Some of the other businesses that attended the event included Immense Bags, Link Up, Erica’s Country Style, Escape Health and Day Spa, Fanfare Events, Searles Agro Products, Mudulla Propagation, East Caribbean Group of Companies (ECGC) and so much more. We can’t wait for next year’s Exhibition!
If you haven’t read part 1 as yet, click here to view it!
Photos by Ricky Hill, exclusively for Express Vinci®
© 2016. All rights reserved
Arts, Buzz, Community Buzz, Culture, Entertainment, Events, Fashion & Beauty, History, LifeStyles, Main Blog
We’re all about our blue, yellow and green throughout the month of October. We anticipate the days when we can come out in our colours and proudly wave the national flag and declare that St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the piece of rock in the Caribbean Sea that we are glad to call home. This year after the annual Independence Day parade we had even more activities through which we could express our Vincy pride thanks to Invest SVG. The Everything Vincy Exhibition held at the E.T Joshua Airport over a three day period (October 27th-29th), was the place to be during the independence weekend. This new initiative is aimed at highlighting the products and services that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has to offer and encouraging entrepreneurial spirit as we continue on in nation building. Training workshops were also offered to the business owners who took part in the exhibition to gain knowledge on topics such as customer service and marketing which equips the business owners with tools that would help them take their businesses to the next level. This initiative is one that we are happy to see so well executed and the patrons are excited to attend in the coming years as it gets bigger and better. Here’s a little insight on some of the exhibitors and their products.
Eight years ago, Christal Oliver the founder of Olive art Designs, was a lab technician at the St. Vincent Girls’ High school with some free time and a hobby. This was the beginning of her journey to business owner. She hand-sewed bags at the time as a way to overcome boredom but her peers had such a positive response to the items she made that is wasn’t too long until she saw the opportunity to make her pastime into something greater.She decided to invest in a sewing machine to experiment. Experimentation led to new creations and opportunities and Olive Art designs is the end result of a young lady following her passion, believing in her vision and striving to give her very best to her customers. She credits her success thus far to patience, practice and persistence, and she’s always reading and learning so as to execute new ideas that could help her improve her business. She makes high quality custom handbags for every occasion and hopes that her creations will allow her to put St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the map, as she endeavors to cross boundaries regionally and internationally showcasing and gaining appreciation for her handiwork.
About six months ago, Rene Benn had a literal dream. A dream that one day, she went ‘dumpster-diving’! In the dream, she was accompanied by her husband and they were taking some huge bottles out of the trash. She then proceeded to decorate the bottles and they turned out beautifully. She awoke from her dream and realized what a great idea it was and Rene’s Ornamentations was born. She collected bottles and jars from her friends and family and any shops that were willing to give them to her. The artistic ability came naturally and she transforms trash to treasure creating vases and candle holders by hand. Her desire is to have a storefront for this venture as currently she only makes her items by order and uses social media to showcase them.
The Kalinago Tribe Essential Oils were definitely one of the standout items. There was basil, lemongrass, ginger, peppermint and many more to choose from. Each essential oil has its list of health benefits and the potency is unmistakable. The business was founded over 15 years ago by Augustine Sutherland and he’s proud to say that every ingredient is tested and harvested here from our rugged rocky mountains and undergoes a steam distillation process to produce these pure organic essential oils. In the beginning as a trained hair and scalp specialist, he would make small batches of the oils to combat problems his clients were experiencing and it has grown since then into a business that offers also eucalyptus inhalers and infused massage oils. His hope is to have the oils certified as organic by the agricultural department so that the world would know that the products are of the highest quality and are prepared with our health in mind.
Grow In Time is a creative social enterprise that seeks to bring together rehabilitation, land conservation and poverty alleviation in one project. Over the past two years a sustainable livelihood project has been implemented in our two correctional institutions that is coordinated by Vonnie Roudette. Through this initiative inmates are being taught and certified in their training to make mats, baskets and other products from Vetiver grass and Grow in time its marketing arm. This venture gives the individuals the skills they need to create an alternative way of earning a living. One of the best benefits of this project is that it takes much less money to start a business making the grass products than to start a business involving other skills that one may learn while incarcerated. The individuals are given a feeling of empowerment and this causes a huge positive change in their self image as they are given an opportunity to take care of their loved ones and contribute to their communities. The conservation aspect is in regards to the grass that is used. The grass is an excellent solution for soil erosion and great for slope stabilization, so this will tie into the next phase of the project which will be the planting initiative that will be executed by the former inmates. It is still early in the game but the results so far have show that all the individuals who have received the training have not committed any further offences and they report a more positive outlook on life. The products are simply exquisite and the initiative is a life-changing one.
From a very young age Anita Garraway knew she wanted to be her own boss and have her own business. As a child she would make and sell crochet crafts, cupcakes and fudge. In 1997 she got the opportunity to do an agro-processing course that laid the foundation for Aurora’s. She learned the skills necessary to produce and bottle her green seasoning, pepper sauces and pepper relish, as well as processing fish and chicken ham. She also produces gluten free breadfruit cakes, beetroot and Black cakes without egg. Her products can be found in supermarkets throughout St. Vincent. After so many years of hard work and sacrifices, she can now say that she is living her dream.
Natalie Cato of Kato’s Katering invited the patrons to ‘Feel the fun’ with samples of her premium rum punch, Red bikini. The Red Bikini is a rich and smooth concoction of fruit juice, spices and local rum and the premium taste is unmistakable. Ms Cato has perfected the recipe over the past few years and has now started promoting the product. Her hope is to get the product on the shelves in our supermarkets. Currently it is only produced by order and sourced directly from her.
Click here to read part 2 and find out more about the exhibitors and their products and services from the event!
Photos by Ricky Hill, exclusively for Express Vinci®
© 2017. All rights reserved
When was the last time you visited our botanical gardens? Do you have fond memories of a fun school or Sunday-School trip that brought you there? Maybe it was that time your mom spontaneously decided “Today is a good day to go to the gardens.” Surely you have photos of yourself posing on the lawn or the walkway sprinkled with colourful petals, and it’s likely that they’re wedding photos. If it’s one thing we love to do at the gardens, it’s taking pictures!
Have you ever gotten lost in your own thoughts, faintly hearing the voice of a tour guide explaining that “A descendant of one of Captain Bligh’s original breadfruit trees thrives in the gardens”? Or perhaps he was telling his audience how “This particular plant is great for asthma.” What about trying to hold a coherent conversation with our beloved Amazona guildingii? How did that work out? Have you ever seen the way kids are filled with awe as they peer into the ponds filled with a variety of fish and tadpoles meandering around water lilies? Do you know how easy it is to lose track of time when you sit on one of the benches breezing through the pages of a good book? Or how refreshing it feels to have the cool breeze wash over you after a light yoga session or morning cardio in the gardens? Sometimes it’s simply a nice getaway, a place where you can flee from all the noise and just… be … be present, be calm, be anxious for nothing, take a break and just BE.
In a world where deforestation and all forms of pollution are so prevalent, preservation of this 250 year old haven is a must. So if you decide to take a stroll down memory lane and revisit this old favorite, remember to ‘take only pictures and leave only footprints’.
© 2016. All rights reserved
The 2017 Calypso semi-finals held on Friday night, 30th June, at the Victoria Park was indeed a fantastic musical experience. As the first show on the official ten day Vincy Mas festival, it featured twenty two of the nations outstanding calypsonians, ranging from the youthful but experienced Kristianna Christopher to seasoned veterans like, Patches, Fya Empress, Vibrating Scakes , Sulle and Brother Ebony.
The show started on time and flowed well; except for one or two small glitches it was well executed. Free of the on-stage props that will form part of the calypso finals; this show was a lyrical interaction between the calypsonians as social commentators and the expectant audience.
In this time of potentially intense political interactions, most of the singers focused their attention elsewhere: youth and crime, infidelity, emotional and physical abuse, and other real social matters that are important to our lives as Vincentians every day. The songs were informative,melodious, and some satirical and humorous. A combination that resulted in an excellent experience.
Of course I have my favourites, but will refrain from mentioning at this time.
My feelings are numerous and can’t all be articulated in this post. It serves to say though that we are a superbly talented nation and even though the carnival/summer festival season has been extended well beyond the ten days of Vincy Mas, the range of activities are such that calypso in particular and Vincy music in particular are not given the kind of exposure they deserve.
Our musicians and singers should be able to practise their craft effectively all year round; and to make a living as artists is a right they have earned but is yet to be realised. Lance Chapman, Friday night’s guest-artist alluded to this in his melodious and well articulated rendition.
The time seems to be right for a Vincentian Music Festival that will be independent and separate from Carnival and Vincy Mas. This could be a collaboration between private promoters and the department of culture: a week of concerts to showcase Vincentian Music of all genres, perhaps in October, when we celebrate our nation’s independence. No competition needed.
The ten calypsonians moving on to the Calypso Finals scheduled for Sunday 9th July 2017 are :
Glenroy “Sulle” Caesar, Robert “Patches” King, Shernelle “Skarpyon” Williams, Shaunelle Mc Kenzie, Sheena Collis, Lornette “Fya Empress” Nedd, Glenford “Azarah” Charles, Cecile “Lil Bit” Murray, Joanna Christopher, and Kenneth”Vibrating Scakes” Alleyne.
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© 2017. All rights reserved.
On Wednesday May 10th , 2017 , Vasita “Sita The Lyrical Diva” Caine endeavours to launch St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ first reality series. The show is entitled Split Personality: Life of a Female Lyricist, and will highlight her talent and more so her versatility as she makes her contribution to the upcoming 2017 “Vincy Mas” festival.
Sita, known for her energetic stage performances and provocative lyrics, made her entrance on the stage of the local music industry some seven years ago with a Dance-hall song called “Kitchen Dunce”. She is respected as SVG’s premier Dance-hall act and remains a force to be reckoned with when she performs live. She has since made some notable strides in the industry, some of which include:
- The first person to receive an award from SVG’s Association of Music Professionals (AM P) for her involvement in Dance-hall music
- The first person to receive an award from Association of Music Professionals (AMP) for her involvement in Dance-hall music twice.
- The first Vincentian Dance-hall artiste to travel and perform internationally.
- The first Vincentian Dance-hall artiste to be featured on a rhythm produced and distributed by an international recording artiste and record label.
- The first Vincentian Dance-hall artiste to film a music video in Jamaica.
- The first Vincentian Dance-hall artiste to participate in the Barbados Reggae festival.
According to Sita, the show is going to be very entertaining and unique. It is being filmed by Mr. Rasheid Sutherland of Boss Raw media and will feature a number of appearances from local and regional artistes, producers, and other persons involved in the music industry.
“I tried as much as possible to endorse mainly businesses that are one hundred percent (100%) Vincentian. I am pleased to be associated with the Paragon Modeling Agency and Invest SVG who are extremely excited about the project. The show is indeed reality and will hence, showcase everything that comes with it [reality!]: the good, the bad, my shortcomings, my strengths, likes, dislikes, including the difficulties I encounter in the music industry; everything.”
The series will be distributed via Social Media including the following Facebook and Instagram pages :
- Vasita Caine
- Sita Di Lyrical Diva
- Rasheid (Boss Raw)
- Austin “ZJ Powa” Cain
- @Austin Cain
The show is also scheduled to be distributed via the following Jamaican YouTube pages:
- AKAM Entertainment
Article and Photos submitted by: Vasita ” Sita Di Lyrical Diva” Caine.
We at Express Vinci extend best wishes to Vasita on her new venture!
© 2017. All rights reserved.
The recently opened Youlou Art Centre in Villa is proud to announce its second exhibition. This time the work of a single artist is being featured: the veteran Vincentian Artist and Mas-man, Owen Ralph.
Ralph, who hails from Sion Hill, has been a huge force in cultural events in St. Vincent and the Grenadines over the past 60 years, by providing creative inspiration and entertainment to the people of this nation. He is known for organizing carnival activities in that community: he has played steel pan, sang calypso, and became well known for designing and building carnival costumes with his cousin, the late Roy Ralph.
Owen has been the ‘man’ behind the Carnival band ‘Owen Ralph and the Professionals’ for over 30 years, which has brought joy, fun, and entertainment to the Sion Hill community in particular and the nation in general.
In addition to his involvement in Carnival, he has distinguished himself as a true visual artist. He began painting at the age of fifteen, while still in School. After leaving school, he went to Trinidad and Tobago to join his father, who worked for an advertising company, painting signs. While working for his father, he was able to augment his painting skills. He returned to SVG three years later, and began his Carnival career, which continues to this day.
Owen stated that he gets his inspiration from reading, and from his surroundings. He paints nature, people, and buildings. He shared that each year after the Carnival Season, that’s the time he sits down to paint on canvas and make sculptures.
The Owen Ralph’s Retrospective Exhibition opened on Thursday 13th April 2017 and runs until May 15th. A Press Conference will be held on Wednesday April 19th between 10:00 am and 12:00 noon, where Mr. Ralph and up-and-coming visual artist, Miss Sherika Sayers will speak about their work.
Sherika’s work was part of the Youlou Art Centre’s opening Exhibition in March. Her striking painting, The Pond, will be auctioned at a reception for both artists on Saturday 29th April, 2017 at The Youlou Art Centre, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm, when both artists will speak to the public about their work, and a video of Owen’s carnival work will be shown.
The public is invited to view the exhibition Mondays to Fridays 10:30 am to 6:00 pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. The Entrance to the gallery is free but donations are accepted. The reception on Saturday 29th April is free to the public, local foods and drinks will be on sale.
The Youlou Art Centre is owned and operated by the Youlou Art Foundation. A Non-Profit Organisation (NPO), and Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), focused on developing and preserving the arts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Article submitted by Mrs. Camille Musser of The Youlou Arts Foundation. Featured photos from Facebook Group: Owen Ralph and the Professionals, and Facebook: National Public Library of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Click on highlighted words to links for more!
The Youlou Art Centre opened its doors on Saturday 4th March 2017 in a cool and quiet space on the Villa beach front, adjacent to the French Veranda Restaurant.
This timely project, provides an idyllic place for visual artists to display their work, and for the public: locals and visitors, to view, appreciate, and acquire exquisite pieces of art by some of the outstanding talents in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Youlou Art Centre was conceptualised by the Youlou Arts Foundation, a local non-profit organisation headed by Mrs. Camille Musser.
The main goal of the Foundation is to promote the development of the arts in SVG, and to this end, they are hosting a number of events specifically geared towards children and teenagers; thus ensuring that the capacity exists to foster continuity.
The first event, called Ten days of Art will run from this Monday 3rd to Thursday 13th April. A clean, calm, friendly, and secure environment awaits the children, as they are guided to discover their artistic abilities, while meeting new people and making new friends.
Please see the poster above for more details and contact information.
© 2017. All rights reserved.
If you’ve walked past the T shirt Store on Halifax Street in Kingstown within the last year, chances are you’ve seen O’Neil ‘Bongo Joy’ Samuel in the middle of his creative process, completely in his element. His story is a heart-warming one, one of overcoming the odds and playing to one’s strengths.
O’Neil admits that he was heavily influenced during his childhood years by “bad company”. However, he would come to realize that constantly getting into trouble and endangering himself was not the life he wanted to live. He wanted more, he wanted be a better man. It almost comes as no surprise that arts and crafts became O’Neil’s outlet of self expression as there is creative energy flowing through his bloodline.
He would often watch as his mom intricately layered strips of newspaper during a paper mache project, or weave ribbons and use sponge to make extravagant skirts and dresses for dolls. His brother was more of a visual artist, and so it was his drawing and painting skills O’Neil would admire, so much so that it was pencil drawings that were his first creative endeavour. He then added mirror etching to the list and now hand-makes accessories such as bracelets, necklaces, waist beads and his most popular and unique item, bags made from the fruit of the ‘Calabash Tree’ (also known as the Gourd plant).
Samuel shares that he believes he was born with creative talent but it was also his ability to look at others and quickly pick up skills that allowed him to get to where he is now. He recalled the first time he saw someone working with the gourds. He observed keenly for about fifteen minutes and then he was off to making a ‘bowlie’ of his own. He didn’t have any fancy tools or special solutions, he used an old spoon to design and carve out his first piece. These days he has become so dexterous in this art form that it would take him only 25 minutes to carve out, design and decorate a bag from start to finish.
If you are wondering whether or not he has a personal ‘bowlie’, he does! In fact he has several of them. They are the vessels from which he eats and drinks and he even uses the pulp of the gourds that would be removed when he’s making his bags. He expressed great confidence in the health benefits that can be derived from boiling and drinking the pulp.
O’Neil is proud of the work he does, and rightfully so. He enjoys making a living from his handiwork but made it clear that money isn’t his motivation. “It’s not because of money, is the stuff I love to do, is the craft I’m passionate about” and having people who are intrigued by what he does and delight in his creations spurs him on all the more to keep pushing boundaries and allowing his creativity to run wild. He hopes to add a few decorative items for the household to the list of products he offers such as lamp shades and candle burners.
Here’s an individual who has managed to emerge from being besieged by negativity during his younger years, to become an upstanding citizen, a person driven by his artistic abilities and someone who now has a deep understanding about the “bigger picture” in life. There is simplistic beauty in the lifestyle and outlook that Samuel has settled into.
“I’m just a man, a man with love and a man with passion…I want to see more of what I looking at get better, more business, more love, more people trying to help… more of that is better for the world.”
He treats his craft like an act of humanitarianism. His display table is a neutral space, where he makes no distinction about class, colour or creed. His only concern is ensuring that the people who stop by his table leave with exactly what their heart desired, and so his work is a depiction of his genuine love for people.
“Once you’re a human with righteous mind, it doesn’t matter what denomination you stand for.”