This year Guyana is the host country of CARIFESTA X, the most important cultural biennal event for the entire Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
As was the case a few years ago in Paramaribo, when Suriname hosted CARIFESTA VIII in 2003, the Inter-American Development Bank will participate in the event, highlighting the programs and activities of its Cultural Center.
The IDB’s participation in CARIFESTA X was made possible by the efforts of the IDB Country Office in Guyana, the Guyanese Government, and the IDB Office of External Relations. The IDB will be represented in one of the booths with computer terminals connected to the IDB Cultural Center website. An IDB representative will also distribute publications from the Exhibitions Program and Lecture Series free of charge, and will officially deliver a grant from the Cultural Development Program that will benefit the GuyBerNet Training Center. The IDB Country Office in Guyana will also launch a video about the IDB Cultural Center that is focused on activities related to the Caribbean countries.
The video, produced by IDB TV and the IDB Cultural Center (in two versions, English and Dutch), summarizes the role the IDB Cultural Center has played for the last 15 years supporting culture as a component of development. It also highlights specific activities carried out to benefit the Caribbean countries. The video will be distributed widely among TV stations throughout the Caribbean by the respective IDB Representations.
Caribbean countries have benefited directly from the IDB Cultural Center’s activities in many ways. For instance, since 1995 the English-speaking Caribbean countries (Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago) have received 68 cultural grants from the Cultural Development Program to implement a number of micro-cultural projects with social and economic impact. Suriname alone has received 17 grants, and Haiti 13, for a total of 98 to the CARICOM countries. These grants are non-reimbursable funds that have benefited thousands of individuals, including youth at risk, government institutions and private organizations.
In Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States of America, the IDB Cultural Center continues to be the most visible stage for Caribbean artistic talent, through the IDB Art Gallery and IDB Conference Center. As such, the Cultural Center has featured all the Caribbean countries in its Exhibitions Program and Inter-American Concert, Lecture and Film Series, receiving accolades from the local press, including The Washington Post and The Washington Times. Guyana itself was the subject of an exhibition in 2006 entitled, “The Arts of Guyana, a Multicultural Caribbean Adventure,” which was complemented by a presentation by Guyanese intellectual Rupert Roopnaraine via satellite. In the past, the Lecture Series has also presented Guyanese writer Fred D’Aguiar and statesman Sir Shridath Ramphal. In sum, the IDB Cultural Center has presented eight major exhibitions of Caribbean art, featured 15 performing artists, and offered 19 lectures about Caribbean cultural issues, some of which are available in the Encuentros series of publications that are distributed to 600 libraries worldwide, and are also posted on the Center’s website iadb.org/cultural.
Caribbean art is also featured in the IDB Art Collection, which includes Caribbean artists in its traveling exhibitions program; the most recent presentation was at the Freedom Tower in Miami, organized in conjunction with the Miami Dade College, on occasion of the 49th Annual Meeting of Governors of the IDB.
- Christina MacCulloch