New Year times two
Celebrating the new year brings joy, hope, and the magic of new beginnings. If you’re in Suriname, you can do it twice. Its large Chinese community means Suriname is the only country in the Western Hemisphere to observe the Chinese New Year — falling on 1 February this year — as a public holiday. Begins with the new moon, it comes with feasting and fireworks, parades and family reunions. Although 2022 festivities may be scaled down due to the ongoing pandemic, celebrants will still usher in the Year of the Tiger with rituals of welcome. In the Chinese zodiac, the tiger symbolises strength, braveness, independence — solid qualities for the year ahead.
Ready to Wear
Sail in style
January brings the start of the Caribbean regatta season, running through Easter and into late April. Constant trade winds and the island’s fifty-four gorgeous miles of bays and natural harbours make Antigua a yachties’ favourite. Whether you’re on deck or watching from shoreside, and especially at post-race parties, you’ll want to look just as captivating. Easy-breezy and free-flowing are the style you want, and Antiguan designer Miranda Askie’s award-winning Serendipity collection reflects that versatility. Her bold, elegant, and eclectic designs offer ready-to-wear functionality with a wide array of hand-painted fabrics, plus accessories for both women and men. Check out her boutique in St John’s or Miranda Askie Designs on social media, and plan your outfit ahead of the next regatta.
Enormous floats try to outdo each other in a flurry of creativity, showcasing Guyana’s culture at Mashramani. Guyana’s Republic Day Carnival, observed on 23 February, Mash features a unique street parade combining patriotic messages with revelry. And though the COVID-19 pandemic may not allow the traditional festivities this year, that won’t stop Guyanese from celebrating Mash in their memories and imaginations. As in other Caribbean Carnivals, music is at the heart of Mashramani. Singer/songwriter Timeka Marshall, known for her hit singles like “I Won’t Stop”, “Bend Me Ova”, and, most recently, “Anything”, is “proud of how far Guyana has come as a people, and the music that captured the nation’s attention over the years.” Excited to think about the future, and how Guyana and the music industry will continue to evolve, she summons up some sonic nostalgia with her top five Mashramani tunes.
Mash in Guyana, by Eddy Grant (1987)
“This is a classic! It’ll never grow old, and it can never truly be Mashramani if you don’t hear it playing somewhere.”
Umbrella Party and Balloon City, by Compton Hodge (2003 and 2004)
“These were big songs during my high school years. I remember many dance routines to these songs during the Mashramani kids’ competitions.”
I Am a Guyanese, by Adrian Dutchen (2011)
“Another classic, in my book. You can’t help but sing along, as its words ring true to love and a proud representation of being Guyanese.”
Stadium, by Samuel Medas (2021)
“This song was released for Mashramani last year, when there was no parade or road celebrations due to COVID-19. Although it was such an uncertain time, the song brought an uplifting energy and vibes that made us all reminisce about the Mashramani we love, miss, and can’t wait to experience again.”
Life Between Islands at Tate Britain
The Caribbean has shaped British culture for centuries — from the unimaginable wealth generated for the so-called “mother country” by the West Indian colonies, to the music, literature, food, fashion, language, and ideas brought to the United Kingdom by generations of Caribbean migrants. It’s a cultural debt that’s both obvious and still inadequately accounted for. So Life Between Islands: Caribbean-British Art, 1950s–Now — which opened at Tate Britain, the UK’s national museum of British art, in December 2021 — is both timely and highly overdue. And it only scratches the surface. Covering four generations and a timeframe of seventy years, Life Between Islands sets out to explore the impact of Caribbean-born artists on postwar British art, with a detour into UK-born artists who “chose to move in the opposite direction,” relocating temporarily to the Caribbean (in most cases here, to Trinidad).
Life Between Islands opens with Windrush-era artists such as Aubrey Williams, Denis Williams, and Donald Locke — all from British Guiana — and proceeds through the London-based Caribbean Artists Movement of the 1960s and the Black Art Movement of the 70s and 80s. It ends with a handful of younger Caribbean-born artists who have established increasingly transnational art careers from a UK base — such as Bahamas-born Blue Curry, Barbados-born Ada M. Patterson, and Barbadian-British Alberta Whittle, who will represent Scotland at the 2022 Venice Biennale. The show brings together artists long represented in the Tate’s collections — such as Ronald Moody and Frank Bowling — with others whom it might once have been inconceivable to imagine in these galleries dedicated to the British art establishment. Perhaps the Tate’s next breakthrough will be to show some of these Caribbean-born artists without the need for history-lesson labels.
Life Between Islands runs until 3 April, 2022, at Tate Britain in London