Dr. Anita Baksh is Professor of English and Director of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York. Born in Suriname to Guyanese parents, she spent her childhood in Guyana and grew up in various parts of the New York City area. She has published academic articles on Indo-Caribbean culture, literature, and feminism. Anita obtained her BA from St. John’s University and her PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her teaching focuses on gender and social justice. She has been involved in the Indo-Caribbean community in Richmond Hill, New York for over 20 years, which includes serving as a mentor for Indo-Caribbean Alliance (ICA), assisting in curating the Indo-Caribbean media and literature collection at the Lefferts Branch of the Queens Public Library, and her involvement as a member (and former Steering Committee member) of Jahajee Sisters.
Terrence Richard Blackman
Dr. Terrence Richard Blackman, associate professor of mathematics and a founding member of the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics at Medgar Evers College, is a member of the Guyanese diaspora. He is a former Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professor at MIT and a Visitor to The School of Mathematics at The Institute for Advanced Study. Dr. Blackman has previously served as Chair of the Mathematics Department and Dean of the School of Science Health and Technology at Medgar Evers College, where he has worked for almost thirty years. He graduated from Queen's College, Guyana, Brooklyn College, CUNY, and the City University of New York Graduate School. He is the Founder of the Guyana Business Journal & Magazine.
Dr. Dain Borges is Associate Professor of History at the University of Chicago. He works on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Latin American culture and ideas. His current research project, "Races, Crowds, and Souls in Brazilian Social Thought, 1880-1920," centers on the ways in which Brazilian intellectuals used race sociology and social psychology to understand popular religion and politics. He teaches seminars and courses on Latin American history, comparative nineteenth-century transformations, ideologies of national identity, and culture in the African diaspora.
Errol Ross Brewster
Errol Ross Brewster is a Caribbean artist from Guyana, who currently lives in the United States. He was educated at the Ontario College of Art, Toronto Canada, and has served as director of studies at the E.R. Burrowes School of Art, Guyana, S. A. With more than four decades of a Caribbean wide multi-media imaging practice, he has participated in several Carifestas and his works have been exhibited throughout the Caribbean. His imagined portraits of the leaders of the 1823 Demerara uprising have been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery of London for their permanent collection, and are to be on exhibition there in 2023.
Ave Brewster-Haynes is President of the Guyana Cultural Association of New York, Inc.
Dr. Hilary Brown has been active in the field of regional and international development for the past 20 years, and is currently the Programme Manager, Culture and Community Development, at the CARICOM Secretariat. In this position, Dr. Brown is responsible for development, advocacy and integration, with respect to the culture, youth and gender programmes in the CARICOM region. This includes the coordination of several regional activities, including the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA), Reparations for Native Genocide and Slavery, the CARICOM Youth Ambassador Programme and gender mainstreaming in Community projects and programmes. Dr. Brown has provided technical support to the delivery of the past 6 CARIFESTAs held in Trinidad and Tobago (2006 & 2019), Guyana (2008), Suriname (2013), Haiti (2015) and Barbados (2017). Prior to her current assignment, Dr. Brown served as Project Manager for a regional CARIFORUM project in cultural development funded by the European Union (1998-2002), and also held the position of Information Attaché at the Embassy of Jamaica, Washington DC for three years. Dr. Brown also previously taught courses in media, communication and culture at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus and has authored several papers on Caribbean media, music, festivals and creative industries. Dr. Brown has a Ph.D., in International Communication, from Temple University, USA.
At a very early age and right through primary school in Guyana, Derek was already showing his skills as an artist. It was not until he entered Central High School that he began his formal art education, and, upon leaving that school at final exams (GCE “O” Level) he achieved an “A” grade in art. One year later (1978), he was admitted to the Burrowes School Of Art which at that time, was situated at Eccles, East Bank Demerara. There, he spent three years at the art school – not pursuing the full four-year diploma course. In 1981 after leaving Burrowes, Derek submitted a painting titled “Carambola In Season” to the National Exhibition Of Visual Art held at the Umana Yana in Georgetown, where it was chosen as one of two artworks to share the first prize in the category of painting. It featured a few bunches of ripe five-finger fruits with leaves hanging from branches – an image captured from a tree growing in his backyard. The following year at the same exhibition, he was chosen as the sole first prize winner in painting with an entry titled “Market Splendour,” featuring familiar scenes at the markets in Georgetown. Both paintings are part of the National Collection at Castellani House. Several of his artworks were featured in magazines such as Guyana Times Sunday Magazine and Ann Kullberg's Color Magazine for colored pencil artists in the USA. He was invited to mount several of his artworks at the cocktail reception commemorating Guyana’s 50th anniversary as a Republic held at the Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn, New York. Derek emigrated to the United States Of America in 1983 where he continued to refine and develop his skills and techniques in both drawing and painting through principles of aesthetic design. His artwork continues to be inspired from the natural world showing the presence of unity and order within a seemingly chaotic world. Photo from Carifesta IV, Barbados, 1981.
Joan Cambridge was born in British Guiana. She is a former leading member of Guyana’s Press Corps and author of the critically acclaimed novel Clarise Cumberbatch Want to
Go Home. She was transferred from her post as head of the Government Agency for Design and Graphics to serve briefly as Carifesta 72 Public Relations Officer.
Outstanding Guyanese artist Dudley Charles has contributed greatly to the development of recent art in Guyana, both as practitioner and producer. Brought up at a distance from the recognized 'hotbeds' of innovation and activity in contemporary art, Dudley, is a mostly self-taught painter who experienced the world of international modern art (Picasso, Matisse, Wifredo Lam, et al.,) mainly through books. Left to his own devices, as it were, the artist fashioned a mythopoeic art that was responsive to his immediate environment, its folklore, physical, and psychic character. And somewhere along the way, he was able to reconcile his native sensibility with a mastery of those concepts which provide the raison d'etre for contemporary artists working today. His technique is put in service of an honest vision modulated by the artist's specific cultural language. Mr. Charles has shown in the XII Sao Paulo Biennial, and in Africa, Japan, Venezuela and Great Britain. His work is in Guyana's National Collection, and numerous public and private collections around the world. Photo by Carl E Hazlewood.
Sandra Clenem is a Policy Advisor in Suriname's Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. Born in Paramaribo, Suriname, Sandra started working at the Department of Culture at The Division of Culture and Community Centers, immediately after completing her study as a Social-Cultural worker at the Academy of Higher Art & Culture in Suriname (AHKCO). She gradually immersed herself in social, cultural and gender movements where she held several lead positions. A quick overview reveals over 25 years of experience in social cultural work and gender and over 17 years of experience in managerial and directive level.
Dr. Joanne Collins-Gonsalves is a Research Associate with the Gorsebrook Research Institute at the Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She holds a PhD in History from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago and her research interests include the Portuguese in the Caribbean, the Roman Catholic Church in Guyana and the Caribbean, women and voting in Guyana, as well as public history. Her forthcoming publications include a book on the Portuguese in Business in British Guiana, 1830s to 1930s and a book chapter on Public History in Guyana. She is the author of the book From Ashes to Ferro-Concrete: A History of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception 1914-2014 and over twenty-five academic articles. She has served as a Contributing Author with the Oxford University Press for The Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography. Dr. Collins-Gonsalves is the Past President of The History Society (Guyana), and former Vice-President of the Guyana Heritage Society. She is the recipient of the Commonwealth Trust of Guyana Poetry Award, awarded the Rotaract President of the Year for the Caribbean (District 7030) and the Council of the University of Guyana Prize, among other awards. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Journal of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, and the Education Committee of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, among others.
Priya Dadlani (all pronouns) is an Indo-Caribbean, queer cultural worker from Silver Spring, MD. Dedicated to liberation from the oppressive boxes white supremacy, capitalism, and patriarchy work overtime to keep us in, Priya's work is rooted in constantly standing on the edge of transformation, believing in the possibility of a new world. Their toolbox consists of political education, zine making, strategy, and storytelling. Priya currently resides in Brooklyn, NY where she organizes with SPICY, a collective she founded led by and for queer people of color working at the intersection of art, justice, and cultural archival. In addition, they are the Communications Associate at Third Wave Fund, a member of the Jahajee Sisters grassroots action team, and a member of Media Sutra to support the dreams of Black and brown creative entrepreneurs. You can follow her on social media at @priya.florence.
Vivienne Daniel is a secondary school teacher trained in Mathematics and Spanish, who received extended training in music, drama and eventually dance. Her decision to specialize in dance was made because she realized the other art forms would be an asset to her dance exploration. Since 1973, under the Department of Culture, Vivienne became ‘formally’ involved in dance. As an Advanced Class student of the Guyana National School of Dance (GNSD), she graduated with distinction in the first batch of ‘Trained Dance Teachers’ in 1974, and in 1978, represented Guyana at the Ballet Festival in Cuba. Thus, her career began as a dancer, dance teacher, choreographer, and a theatrical director. In 1979, Vivienne became a founding member of the National Dance Company of Guyana where she was trained in planning and conducting auditions, along with specific assessment procedures for selecting prospective students for classical ballet. She has performed nationally and internationally in Cayenne, Suriname, Trinidad, Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Cuba and Canada. Later, she became the Director of the GNDC, where she continues to provide guidance as an artistic leader, mentor and visionary. From 1980, Vivienne has shared her skills through training others in dance, and was appointed coordinator of the One-year Dance Teachers’ Certificate Training Program, and a tutor for courses in modern dance, choreography, the History of Dance, Research and Curriculum. She is also Dance Educator-Resource person for U.A.A.- Ministry of Education, Tutor of Dance and Movement for NSTAD and senior instructor in the GNSD. She conducts posture classes for The Physiotherapy Department, and has done workshops and performances in various regions in Guyana, as well various Carifestas. Over the years, Vivienne received recognition for her work through several awards like Theatre Arts Award, International Dance Day Committee (Guyana), AIDS Service Award, Rehabilitation Services of Guyana, Metro Toronto Caravan (Canada), GCA’s Award, and the prestigious Medal of Service (MS) for her exceptional contribution to dance. She is a Lifetime Fellow of the Guyana Institute of Creative Arts in recognition of her career that has “truly shaped, developed and guided dance in Guyana”.
Isabelle de Caires
Isabelle de Caires has served as Chair of Moray House Trust since the late Andaiye (the inaugural Chair) retired on account of her health. Isabelle has a BA in History, an MA in Anthropology and Development and an abiding interest in and enthusiasm for Guyanese culture in all of its myriad forms.
Miranda Rachel Deebrah
Miranda Rachel Deebrah, LMSW is a Guyanese-born multidisciplinary artist who migrated to New York as a child. Her work combines art and activism in order to increase meaningful representation and visibility for the Indo-Caribbean/Indentured Indian diasporas in the arts, create long-lasting change, and promote healing and hope. She has appeared on stage and screen in various original South Asian/Indo-Caribbean theatrical and short film productions in NYC and in Lissa Deonarain’s 2018 documentary film Double Diaspora: A Portrait of Indo-Caribbeans in New York. Her writing is featured in The Huffington Post, Brown Girl Magazine, Women at Warp, and Avaaz Media. Much of her performance work explores themes of migration from her homeland, Indo-Caribbean identity, and connections to ancestral legacies. Her honors include Ignite Caribbean’s 2019 30 Under 30 Changemakers Awards and the 2021 City Corps Arts Grant from New York Foundation for the Arts. A graduate of Columbia University, Miranda is a licensed mental health therapist and serves as the Direct Services Manager for Jahajee Sisters and Co-Chair of their Grassroots Action Team. Her greatest hope is to return to Guyana and live a life of service to her communities there, using the skills, knowledge and opportunities she has acquired abroad.
Errol Doris, Sr.
I was born in Kitty Village, grew up in East La Penitence and attended Central High School on a Police Scholarship, left there in 1968 to attend Guyana Technical Institute for a year. I worked briefly as an architecture apprentice and joined the ranks of the great artists, Moshett, Bowman, Bowen, Angold Thompson, to name a few, as I secured my first job as an artist apprentice at Guyana Lithographic in 1970. In 1971, I was offered a position at the new Daily Chronicle as an artist to replace Harold Bascom, a great Guyanese artist. I started my first successful business in Guyana, Cariana Publishers Ltd., in 1972 that published an anthology of graphic poetry in collaboration with AJ Seymour, Wordsworth MacAndrew, Henry Josiah, Mitzi Townsend and Martin Carter, that sold 10,000 copies during CARIFESTA 72. Just two months prior to CARIFESTA 72, I had a one-man Art Exhibition at the Guyana Society, "Exhibition of 60 pieces" and sold them all, thanks to Shirley Field-Ridley, then Minister of Information & Culture. In the process I developed friendships with artists, Stanley Greaves, Phillip Moore and Ron Savory. It was Stanley who encouraged the exchange of works among artists and I still have those works in my collection today. I emigrated to the USA in 1972 and settled in Chicago where I attended the Printing Industries Institute and University of Illinois School of Business from where my son Errol Jr and I eventually graduated together in 2000. We operated a Digital High Graphics business and won many Awards of Excellence. The Technology Division pioneered many aspects of Digital Printing garnering several patents along the way.
Ray Funk is a retired Alaskan state court criminal trial judge, a Fulbright US scholar, an honorary fellow of the University of Trinidad and Tobago and has been coming from Alaska to Trinidad for more than two decades. He has written several dozen articles on calypso, steelpan, Trinidad Carnival and other aspects of Trinidad culture for a variety of newspapers, magazines and academic publications. He co-wrote two books on steelpan music: Invaders Steel Orchestra, and Steelpan in Education: Northern Illinois Steel Orchestra and co-wrote and co- produced Calypso Craze, a boxed set, with a coffee table book, six CDs and a DVD. He has co- curated exhibits, and lectured across the US, Canada, England, and Trinidad at schools, universities, and libraries on aspects of Trinidad culture as well as doing several presentations for the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Lloyda Alicia Garrett
Lloyda Alicia Garrett is a doctoral student at Ohio University pursuing a PhD in Interdisciplinary Arts where she is specializing in visual culture, specifically media culture and theatre. At the graduate level she pursued a Master’s in Latin American Studies with a specialization in politics and communication and a Master’s of Arts Administration where she specialized in theatre management. She is a an experienced communications practitioner, arts manager, theatre artist and poet who is committed to marrying her diverse professional skills with her passion for the arts in innovative ways that give agency and voice to the marginalized.
Mrs. Gwyneth George, AA, University Librarian of the University of Guyana Library, has worked at that institution for the past twenty-six (26) years after working at the National Library, Guyana, for nineteen (19) years. She has also lectured on Guyanese History at the University of Guyana for three (3) years on a part-time basis. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree (Hons.) in Library Science from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, where she won the Faculty Prize for year 1. She also obtained a Master’s degree in Guyanese and West Indian history from the University of Guyana and was also awarded a Certificate of Library Studies from a University of Guyana/UNESCO collaborative certificate programme. Other Awards received were the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) Fellowship and the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation (CFTC) Scholarship. Published works include “The impact of modern information technology in the Caribbean : exploring the challenges for the Technical Services Division’ IN Caribbean Libraries in the 21st century : changes, challenges and choices (launched at an ACURIL Conference) and “The Schomburgk bibliography and Schomburgk Literature” IN Essays in honour of an explorer and natural scientist. She was also a frequent contributor to the “History Today Series” in the Stabroek News of Guyana and has made several presentations to local and regional conferences and workshops. She has served on a number of Boards in the Ministry of Culture and other institutions in various capacities and is currently serving on the Advisory Board of the National Library of Guyana. At the National Library of Guyana, she has worked with several literacy programmes which emphasize reading, literacy and numeracy. In May 2017, she was awarded the Golden Arrow of Achievement (AA) by his Excellency President David Granger on behalf of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.
Mwanza Mainza Glenn
Mwanza is synonymous with dance, fashion and youth development. His dedication includes steering the youth to unveil their artistic abilities through the creative and performing arts. His passion for the creative arts started approximately 20 years ago, and he continues to pursue, inspire and fly the Guyanese flag wherever his career takes him. In his earlier years, Mwanza attended the Guyana National School of Dance. His dance ability excelled and gained him membership of the National Dance Company of Guyana where he spent several years. He has toured nationally and internationally. He was a part of Carifesta 2008 in held in Guyana. He has attended dance workshop in Barbados and Jamaica. Currently, he is a dance instructor at the Joro Dance School, where he continues to express his creative ability through this art form, and works with young dancers in several schools across Guyana. Mwanza is also a recognized fashion designer whose dance ability has influenced his creations. His fashion displays have been seen at Mission Catwalk in 2013 - the Caribbean version of Project Runway filmed in Jamaica. He is the winner of countless collections and best gowns’ prizes. Other accolades are his 2015 Youth Award received from the Guyana Cultural Association of New York; the 2020 Ministry of Education - Department of Allied Arts: Best Choreographer 14–17-year-old Category, and the 2021 BrandYouth 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurial Award, and many others. He continues to perfect his crafts as a young entrepreneur of Wanza’s Designs.
Claire Ann Goring
For almost six decades, Claire Ann Goring has unselfishly advanced Guyana’s graphic and festival arts. She has demonstrated a consistently high level of commitment to managing creativity and promoting the celebration of Guyanese creativity. Claire Goring was an early member of Design and Graphics. In the early post-independence years, this public agency was the home for a community of artists and writers who piloted projects to develop a sense of Guyanese identity through the visual identities they created for national institutions. Throughout the 1970s and the 1980s, Claire Goring was the creative engine behind significant innovations in Guyana’s festival arts. Her design and “wire bending” skills revealed an imagination that was inspired by the color, rhythms, and textures of Guyana. Her creativity in this sphere has established the benchmarks—the standards to be emulated in Guyanese festival arts. During the 1970s, 1980s, and the 1990s, Claire Goring demonstrated a commitment to “Niceing Up Guyana” through pioneering work in fashion design, the folk arts, mega-entertainment events, and mentoring a generation of fashion designers, musicians, and chefs. In 1994 Claire Goring was the first Guyanese costume designer to have a costume band as part of the annual Labor Day Carnival on Eastern Parkway. Her Band “Hello Guyana” received significant acclaim from the millions on the Parkway that year. Her work as the Cultural Director of the Guyana Cultural Association of New York since its inception in 2001 can be characterized as tenacious. Claire Goring has been unstinting in her efforts to make the Guyana Cultural Association and the annual Guyana Folk Festival in Brooklyn the premier not-for-profit association in Guyana’s diaspora committed to the preservation and promotion of Guyanese heritage and the celebration of Guyanese creativity. Under her leadership, GCA has earned respect for the work it does to reaffirm and to celebrate the folk heritage of Guyana’s multi-ethnic ancestry. By 2015, Claire Goring had advanced another important element in her unselfish vision—the creation of the Guyana Cultural Association’s Arts and Cultural Center. For this impressive body of sustainable and influential work, Claire Ann Goring received the Guyana Cultural Association Lifetime Achievement Award as well as proclamations from the Brooklyn Borough President and the New York City Council.
Guyanese-born Stanley Greaves is one of the Caribbean's most distinguished artists. A student of E.R. Burrowes' Working Peoples' Art Class and the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he went on to receive his MFA from Howard University as a Fulbright Scholar. Engaging multiple mediums—from painting, printmaking, ceramics, and sculpture to poetry and music—his work has been exhibited throughout the Caribbean as well as in Europe, the UK, and the US. Greaves is also the author of several books of poetry and co-author, with Anne Walmsley and in collaboration with Christopher Cozier, of Art in the Caribbean: An Introduction (New Beacon Books, 2010). A dedicated educator, Greaves has taught at secondary schools, teacher training and adult education classes, and at the University of Guyana, where he was head of the Creative Arts Division for over a decade. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including Guyana's Golden Arrow of Achievement, and his work and art criticism are subjects of the monograph The Primacy of the Eye: The Art of Stanley Greaves by Rupert Roopnaraine (Peepal Tree Press, 2005).
Linda Griffith is a dancer, dance instructor and choreographer. Her dance experience began in 1974, when she trained under Madam Lavinia Williams, and in 1975, received her completion certificate. In 1979, she joined the National Dance Company of Guyana (NDCG), and from 1987 to present, the director of the Guyana National School of Dance (GNSD). She received certificates in Music and Sound and Light from the University of Guyana. Through her dance career, Linda experienced working with children who faced physical challenges at David Rose School and Deaf Community. In 2014, based on a UNESCO project, she produced a DVD and booklet illustrating how to teach Guyana’s Masquerade. For over 12 years, she has directed cultural presentations for Guyana’s Republic and Independence Flag Raising Ceremonies. She has adjudicated at dance festivals in Guyana such as Guyfesta, Mashramani Masquerade and Dance Competitions (covering different dance idioms) at churches, schools, and other event spaces, and dance competitions at the Grenada Arts Festival. Linda is a well-traveled dance artist who has directed international performances at Carifesta, Inter-Guiana, and cultural festival including Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. She has represented as lead dancer/choreographer, and conducted master classes in the USA, Canada, Cuba, Barbados, St. Lucia Dominica, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, French Guiana and Haiti. In addition, she has won International Choreographers’ Award – the American Dance Festival in 1990 (USA), where she also taught Master Classes, and at the Young Dancers Workshop. The community at North Carolina benefitted from her dance instruction. Importantly, she has traveled as the Dance Directors to a few Carifestas as a representative of the Guyanese contingent, and has accompanied dancers from the GNSD and other dance groups to St Kitts/Nevis in 2000, Suriname in 2003, and Haiti in 2015. In 1991, Linda received one of Guyana’s prestigious awards “Medal of Service” (MS) for her contribution to dance.
Malcolm’s career as a dancer started in 1966 as a festival participant for the Independence of Guiana. Thereafter, he continued dancing with Michael Leighton for some memorable events that included the opening of Thirst Park, Gilbey’s Gin Launch and other major events in Guyana. Later, having been awarded the British Council Artiste scholarship to attend the UWI dance program in Trinidad, he worked under the watchful eye of Terrance Mohammed and a Canadian instructor. Upon Malcolm’s return to Guyana in 1970, he began his role as a dance instructor and a member of the Guyana Theatre Guild dance program. He along with other members represented Guyana at several Suriname trade fairs. At the Theatre Guild, he worked under the tutlelage of Patty Anderson, Mrs. Naciemento, Robert Narain and Gora Singh, then came Carifesta ‘72. Malcolm was selected to play the Amerindian dancer in Covade, a Guyana’s entry to the festival. During the Carifesta, he attended several workshops for dancers and was quite pleased with the outcome. Following this, came Madame Lavina Williams who agreed to hold extended dance workshops at the newly established Guyana National School of Dance, after which she returned to her native country, Haiti and he was seconded by National History and Arts Council to continue the dance program that began with a teachers’ program. Malcolm worked along with other dancers/dance teachers such as Philip McClintock, Saskia Luckoo, and Monica Viera until Madame Lavinia’s return to Guyana. He later found the Theatre Dance Art Center at Theatre Guild where he trained choreographers and organized shows locally and internationally.
Guyanese, Doris Harper-Wills exponent of Caribbean poetry, song and dance in schools, was one of the artistic directors of the schoolchildren's Pageant of the People, Carifesta ‘72. She pioneered the integration of folk and creative arts in the national educational system of both the primary and secondary schools. Her scripting and directorship of works like Folk Scenes, Mashramani and Fantasy Sequence emphasize her ability to not only select music but also to choreograph for her productions. In FOLK SCENES she depicted the boatmen on the river with their Vendor Calls, (Eddoes, eddoes, eddoes! Yam hey!). The women on the streets with their Market Cries, (Gailbacka! Bangamary!). The Newspaper Boys (Chronicle, Argosy, Papers! Evening Post! Graphic!). The Choke and Rob (Choking here! Choking there! Choking, choking everywhere!). In MASHRAMANI SEQUENCE there was depiction of various Amerindian tribes celebrating after a successful co-operative venture. There was audience participation. FANTASY SEQUENCE started with Kiskadees calling as the sun touches the hibiscus and other flowers that open to welcome the dawn and ending with the undergrowth chorus of crickets, and six o'clock bees welcoming Ole Higue, Guyana’s lovable, legendary witch. Doris has received awards for her contribution to creative dance in education in New York, and the United Kingdom. She is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from Guyana Cultural Association of New York, Inc.
Syndrene Harris has worked in the University of Guyana Library for over thirty-five years. She is currently the Acting Head of the Caribbean Research Library and is responsible for the collection and curation of Guyanese and Caribbean Materials for posterity. Ms. Harris was involved in the preparation of listing and bibliographies for the Guyana Prize for Literature, the Inter-Guiana Cultural Festival, CARIFESTA among others. She was also a contributor to the published works ‘50 creative Icons of Guyana’ for the Golden Jubilee of Independence 1966-2016 and the ‘National Bibliography of Guyana’ commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (2016). Ms. Harris was awarded a certificate in Digitization Principles from the Florida International University. Over the years of acting as the Head of the Caribbean Research Library, she has developed in-depth knowledge of literature and historical documentation related to the history of Guyana.
Carl E. Hazlewood
Brooklyn based Carl E. Hazlewood, born in Guyana, received a BFA with honors from Pratt, and an MA from Hunter College, CUNY. Also a curator and writer, he co-founded Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art in Newark, NJ. Recent honors include Fellowships and residencies from The Brown Foundation Fellows Program at the Dora Maar House, (administered by MFAH-The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston), Ménerbes, France, Summer & Winter 2018; The Bogliasco Foundation (Fellow) Liguria Study Center for the Arts & Humanities, Village of Bogliasco, Italy, Fall 2018; NARS Foundation; the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; Headlands Center for the Arts; Yaddo; Vermont Studio Center, and MacDowell, among others. A 2017 ‘Tree of Life’ award grantee, his fifty-two feet painting installation, ‘TRAVELER’, was commissioned by the Knockdown Center, Maspeth, Queens, in 2017. Hazlewood’s work has been seen in the EA/B, NADA, PRIZM, Volta, and Scope Art Fairs. BOMB Magazine, Hyperallergic, the NY Times, and The New Yorker Magazine are among publications that have written about the artist.
Simone Devi Jhingoor
Simone Devi Jhingoor is an Indo-Caribbean social justice thought leader working to transform her community in New York City. She dreams of a world where all people across the gender spectrum are joyful, liberated and thriving. In her work as a changemaker, she is driven by the values of love and compassion. She wears many hats in her work—Simone is an organizer, a facilitator, an artist, a healer, an embodied leadership coach and a resource mobilizer. For over a decade, she has supported youth of color to become cultural and community organizers; has led transformational leadership development programs for women of color and gender expansive people to center their healing; and has produced dynamic cultural events to create a platform for artists of color. As a survivor, she witnessed violence and gender injustice in her own family from a young age, and reached a point in her life where she no longer wanted to remain silent. Simone co-founded Jahajee Sisters in 2007 to build the power of her fellow Indo-Caribbean survivors and address the root causes of gender-based violence in her community. She became the organization’s first Co-Executive Director in 2018. At Jahajee Sisters, Simone loves supporting survivors to tap into their inner wisdom, realize their dreams and embody their life’s joy and purpose. She is also a writer and artist. For 20 years Simone has penned and performed spoken word poetry that voices her unique Indo-Caribbean and Boogie-Down-Bronx experiences and commitment to social justice.
Dr. Adanna Jones is an Assistant Professor of Dance and Dance Studies in the Department of Theater and Dance at Bowdoin College. She received her Ph.D. in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside, and her BFA in Dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts—Rutgers University. Currently, her research and scholarship remain focused on Caribbean dance and identity politics within the Diaspora, paying particular focus to the rolling-hip dance known as winin’. Regarding her creative endeavors, she uses dance to both grapple with her research findings, as well as generating critical research questions. In addition to being a member of the Un/Commoning Pedagogies Collective, she is a current Steering Committee Member of the Coalition of Diasporan Scholars Moving. Both organizations aim to tackle, endure, unravel, and combat the pangs of white supremacy within academia and beyond.
Aliyah Khan is Associate Professor of English, and Afroamerican and African Studies, and Director of the Global Islamic Studies Center, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Dr. Khan is the author of Far from Mecca: Globalizing the Muslim Caribbean (Rutgers University Press and University of the West Indies Press 2020), the first academic monograph on the history, literature, and music of enslaved African Muslims and indentured Indian Muslims in the Caribbean. Far from Mecca received honorable mention in the 2021 Modern Language Association Prize for a First Book. Dr. Khan’s creative nonfiction and academic writing work also appears in Pree: Caribbean Writing, I, GLQ, Caribbean Quarterly, the Caribbean Review of Gender Studies, and the Journal of West Indian Literature, among other venues. Her interviews have appeared in and on National Public Radio, the Washington Post, Sapelo Square, and other media.
Vidyaratha Kissoon lives and works in Guyana. He has been involved in the work for gender equality child protection and human rights , including human rights of LBGTIQ+ citizens. In 2008, he helped organise SASOD at CARIFESTA X, a fringe festival around the CARIFESTA in Guyana.
René Johannes Kooiker
René Johannes Kooiker is a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at Yale University. His main interests are 20th-century Caribbean literature in English, Dutch, French, and Spanish. His dissertation-in-progress is a cultural and literary history of the Caribbean 1970s, centered around performance practices and events such as Carifesta.
Russel Lancaster is a Communications and Marketing Professional with over 39 years in Media. He is a Producer, Radio and Television Personality, Choir Conductor, Tenor Soloist and Entrepreneur. He sings with the Woodside Choirs International and conducts the Methodist Circuit Choir. He sits on the Boards of the Theatre Guild and Moray House Trust and is the Voice Training Lecturer at the National School of Theatre Arts and Drama. He has worked extensively in Radio and Television for the past thirty-five years and was most recently the host of the radio programme “DIS IS GUYANA’. He directed a 200 man production “ONE” for Guyana’s 50th Independence Anniversary and served as the Creative Director for the 50th Anniversary of Guyana’s Republic which was celebrated in 2020. Photo courtesy Stabroek News Photo Archive.
David Lanyi is one of Guyana's foremost Festival Designers and built the memorable three-dimensional logo for the first Carifesta in 1972, a hand grasping the sun. David was creative from a young age and would paint, build or create anything that would catch his eye. He spent six years at Fogarty Department Store in the Display Department, after leaving school in 1961. He was then assigned to paint the 12-foot portrait of Prime Minister Forbes Burnham and Cuba’s President, Fidel Castro which was placed at Atkinson Airport for the State Visit of President Castro. David started Festival designing with his first costume production in 1965, titled “Mission from the moon.” He produced costumes for the Guyana Defense Force and the Guyana Police Force with over 1000 revelers and won the coveted “Band of the Year” prize six years in succession at the annual Mashramani competitions. Some of the themes over the years included “El Dorado city of gold: the “Garden City” “Songs of the Caribbean” “Games people play” and “Hello Africa.” David represented Guyana and placed second against a wide field of Caribbean designers from many islands. He now lives in the United States and continues in the design field.
Dr. Michele Luard-Charles is a New York City Department of Education Middle School Principal in Brooklyn, NY. She has a B.S in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from City University of New York, along with an Associate Degree in Microbiology (Medical Science) from the University of Guyana. She has a M.Ed. in Science Education from Pace University of New York. She holds a second master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from Touro College. Additionally, she has earned a doctoral degree at Sage College Esteves School of Education. Prior to becoming an educator Michele has spent several years as a medical research laboratory technologist and a research scientist. Dr. Luard is the daughter of John and Enid Luard. She lived in Festival City from 1995 to 2000 with her mother and two sisters. She has very fond memories of Festival City and is excited to share how those formidable years have contributed to who she is today. Michele is married to Dr. Lyndon Charles and mothers one adult child and one teenager. For hobbies, Michelle enjoys sports especially athletics and dancing
Paloma Mohamed Martin
Prof. Paloma Mohamed, PhD, MS AA, is the eleventh Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana. She is a full Professor of behavior and communications noted as a futurist scholar for her work on change in both humans and human systems. She is the first woman to lead the University in its 58 year history. She is also the first woman to be appointed Vice Chancellor at any University in the Anglo-phone Caribbean. Prof Mohamed had led the University of Guyana’s Transitional Management Committee as its 2nd Chair since Aug 2019. She has also been Deputy Vice Chancellor, Philanthropy, Alumni and Civic Engagement known as PACE, a department which she founded in 2016. Prof. Paloma Mohamed has won the coveted Guyana Prize for Literature on 3 occasions. She been awarded two Presidential Medals in 2012 and in 2015 as well as A City of New York Award for Culture in 2013. In 2014 she was named by the US embassy in Guyana amongst the top 5 most influential women in the country. In 2015, she became the first woman Caribbean Laureate for Excellence in Arts and Letters, considered the Nobel prize of the Caribbean. Her literary and academic work are on two CXC syllabi and is studies in Universities in the USA, Canada and England. Prof. Mohamed has authored over 20 books, and produced 15 films. She was Artistic Director for Carifesta X held in Guyana in 2008. She founded CineGuyana in 2009 and also currently serves as Chair of the Theatre Guild of Guyana. Prof Paloma Mohamed Martin is a beloved teacher and humanist who has been variously referred to as a servant leader and a Titanium butterfly.
Taij Kumarie Moteelall
Taij Kumarie Moteelall is a Principal at Media Sutra Inc, a socially regenerative business that she co-founded to center creativity while fostering wellness, self-determination, and generational wealth building. As a facilitator, intuitive coach and healer, she is supports Creative Entrepreneurs of Color to be FABulous (Fearless. Abundant. Bold). Taij is a visionary and catalyst behind the founding of Jahajee Sisters, and is now serving as the organization’s first Arts & Activism Resident. Honoring a calling from her ancestors and the outcry of women in her community, she organized with her Indo-Caribbean siblings since 2007 to build this gender justice movement. An award-winning poet, playwright, performer and producer, Taij’s poetry collection (Breathe Me In Indo-Caribbean Goddess), thesis (Shakti in the Caribbean: Voices of the Indo-Caribbean woman), recent theatrical production (Jahajees Rising), and forthcoming novel (Conflicting Karma) sheds light on the struggles and triumphs of Indo-Caribbean women and gender non-binary people. Taij cut her teeth in arts and cultural organizing with other Black and Brown creatives as a co-founder of Blackout Arts Collective. She raised millions of dollars to foster youth development as the Director of Development and Communications at East Harlem Tutorial Program. She then organized young people with wealth to move millions of dollars to social movements as the Executive Director of Resource Generation. Taij’s leadership roles led her to found Standing in Our Power (SiOP), a national network women and gender non-binary people of color who are co-creating a new story of holistic transformation, sustainability, and wellness. Most importantly, Taij is a movement mama blessed with three awesome kids-- Shakti (Power), Satya (Truth) and Shiv Nanda (Pure Joy) who will inherit the new systems and “ways of being” Taij works tirelessly to manifest.
Rose is a well-traveled dancer, choreographer/instructor who has her roots in Guyana. This year, she celebrates 50 years in theater arts that began in 1972 as a child dancer with “Teacher Stella” Walcott at St. Angela’s Primary School in Guyana. In 1973-74, it was Teacher Stella who introduced her to the Guyana National School of Dance (GNSD), initially under the tutelage of Madam Lavinia Williams, where she began in the “Beginners’ Class”. She danced at her primary school and the GNSD (all the way through the Advanced Class) and secondary school days. Upon completion of secondary school, Rose became a dance teacher at the GNSD and a member of the National Dance Company of Guyana (NDCG), simultaneously. During her first year, she completed the Dance Teacher’s course. While a Company member, she had the privilege of being instructed by well-known Cuban dance professors who recognized her artistic ability, and became an accomplished soloist. She has toured around Guyana and international spaces until 1989, when she migrated to the US. Since migrating, Rose has continued her commitment to dance and theater in Guyanese and Caribbean spaces. She credits Stella Walcott for her dance career, and brags about being a Maurice Brathwaite – MoBraff-trained actress. Her community work includes being a board member of GCA: the co-chair for the Kweh Kweh committee and an Assistant Cultural Director. She has stage managed, and directed many theatrical productions, and has been recognized through awards and citations for her contribution to the arts.
Jeremy Jacob Peretz
Dr. Jeremy Jacob Peretz teaches cultural and Caribbean studies at the University of Guyana. He holds a PhD in Culture and Performance from the University of California, Los Angeles’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance. His work was recently recognized with the Best Dissertation Award of 2022 from the Caribbean Studies Association.
Nadine Priam is a senior Journalist born in Martinique. She has been involved in the press for the past 28 years permanently with Francetélévisions ( society, economy, and caribbean affaires service), and freelance since 2020 when she specialized in Visual Arts and the international Art market. She is a Barbados Community College Alumni (1990, Associate degree in English and Spanish Literature), and graduated from both Université de Bordeaux 3, and Universidad de Pamplona, Spain, in Journalism (master's degree). She recently pursued a curriculum at Institut des études supérieures des métiers de l’art, IESA in Paris ( 2020-2021). She has interviewed many Caribbean politicians including Fidel Castro (Cuba) and Hugo Chavez (Venezuela) and covered the 2004 coup in Haiti. She is a recipient of « CARIBBIIN 2022 Award - Top ingeniuous Women making the Caribbean great », Antigua, May 18th, 2022. She lives and works in Guadeloupe as an art critic, art curator, and art advisor. She also runs an Instagram account dedicated to History of Art within the French speaking Caribbean ( @trayskreyol).
Dr. Russell Rickford is an associate professor of history at Cornell University. He specializes in African American political culture after World War Two, the Black Radical Tradition, and transnational social movements. His current book, We Are an African People: Independent Education, Black Power, and the Radical Imagination, received the Liberty Legacy Award from the Organization of American Historians. He is currently working on a book about Guyana and African American radical politics in the 1970s. Rickford’s scholarly articles have appeared in Journal of American History, Journal of African American History, Souls, New Labor Review, and other publications. His popular writing has appeared in publications such as In These Times, Truthout, Washington Post, Counterpunch, Black Agenda Report and Africa is a Country. Rickford holds a bachelor’s from Howard University and a doctorate from Columbia University. Born in Guyana, he lives in Ithaca, New York.
Sharda Shakti Singh
Sharda Shakti Singh, granddaughter of Rajkumari Singh, is an award-winning writer and dramatist who teaches theatre and English in NYC. Her dramatic works include Becoming Her, Till I Dance With My People, and Trump Nite.
Born in Georgetown, British Guiana now Guyana, Allison Skeete came to the U.S in 1977.
She then attended Long Island University to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. She also earned her Certification as an Adult Educator from NYACK College and has volunteered with the Brooklyn Tabernacle’s Adult GED program as well as the NYU Literacy Program. She has been a columnist writing about the Energy Industry and its effect on the Caribbean Diaspora for Caribbean Impact. Her feature articles have been published in Caribbean Life and The Network Journal. She enjoys being active within the community and has been a familiar face for over 25 years, often providing resources, contacts, & media exposure applicable to non-profit and small businesses for Caribbean-Americans in publications, Internet & Television or coordinating events and sponsorships which benefit families and youth in New York. Allison Skeete is a member of the Guyana Cultural Association of New York, Inc.
Jocelyn Fenton Stitt
Dr. Jocelyn Fenton Stitt, Division Chair of the Social Sciences and Associate Professor at St. Catherine’s University, is an interdisciplinary scholar trained in women's and critical race studies. Her book Dreams of Archives Unfolded: Absence and Caribbean Life Writing (2021) is part of Rutgers University's Critical Caribbean Studies series. The project examines how the unfulfilled promise of postcolonial historical recovery (in the form of archival absence of narratives and records about women’s lives) itself becomes a generative site for feminist epistemologies in contemporary Caribbean women’s research and life writing. Her work has appeared in journals such as Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, Ariel: A Review of International Literature, and Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism. She edited Mothers Who Deliver: Feminist Interventions in Public and Interpersonal Discourse (2010) and Before Windrush: Recovering an Asian and Black Literary Heritage within Britain (2008).
Meagan Sylvester is a published author which is inclusive of several book chapters and journal articles respectively and is a well-known public academic in her native Trinidad and Tobago where she uses both traditional (television, print and radio) and social media platforms to engage discussions on the Calypso and Soca musical artforms. Her research topics of interest are Music and National Identity in Calypso and Soca, Music of Diasporic Carnivals, Narratives of Resistance in Calypso and Ragga Soca music, Steelpan and kaisoJazz musical identities, Gender and Identity in Calypso and Soca music and Music and Human Rights in the Americas. In pursuit of fulfilling her academic goals, she has presented academic papers and hosted scholarly workshops in several spaces across the globe including Europe, Latin America, South America, the United States and numerous islands in the Caribbean. Locally, she is a board member of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation – TUCO and is the Chair of the Education and Research Committee. As part of her professional development portfolio, she is a Music Sociologist with a consultancy practice in which she provides her clients with insight into the sociological framing of Trinbagonian society using the lens of Calypso and Soca as the main units of analysis. She has recently completed a Ph.D. in the Sociology of Music at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago and is currently waiting to be awarded.
Dr. Carolyn Walcott is a media and communications educator and scholar with a diverse background in journalism education, international communication and media development. She received her undergraduate degree in Communication and Graduate Diploma in International Studies at the University of Guyana. She completed her M.A. in Communication and Development at Ohio University and Ph.D. in Communication at Georgia State University. As a media practitioner who later transitioned to the academy, Carolyn spent thirteen years in mainstream and corporate media in her birthplace, Guyana, South America, before joining the faculty at the University of Guyana in 2007. She served as Director at the U.G. Center for Communication Studies (UGCCS) where she also taught broadcast journalism, communications research and marketing communications, among other courses. As a former Festival City resident, Carolyn has remained close to home although resident abroad. She currently teaches courses remotely for the UGCCS and engages both masters and undergraduate students, which she balances with being Assistant Professor, Communication and Media Studies at Clayton State University in Georgia, United States.
Verna Walcott-White is a passionate and prolific dancer, choreographer and dance educator. She began her dance journey from a very tender age. In 1972, the opportunity for performing at Carifesta arose and she was a part of the renowned Guyanese, Doris Harper Wills's Dance Group that allowed her to perform African and folk dances at the National Park for the opening and closing Carifesta’s ceremonies.Verna was a part of the Guyanese production, “Legend of Kaieteur” that involved a mass choir, dancers and spoken word artists. The scheduled venue was The National Cultural Center, a large tent and not a building, at that time. She witnessed performances by dance companies including Haiti’s, led by Madam Lavinia Williams, a Haitian-American dancer and choreographer. In 1973, Madam later returned to Guyana for a three-month workshop with teachers after which she left, then in 1974, returned, established and directed the Guyana National School of Dance where Verna became a student. In 1979, Verna was a chosen founding member of The National Dance Company of Guyana, and attended Carifesta in Cuba. Then, in 1981, attended Carifesta in Barbados. As a result of her Carifesta involvement, Verna became an instructor at the Guyana National School of Dance and choreographer for the National Dance Company of Guyana. These experiences allowed her opportunities to tour regionally and internationally, while participating in workshops, teaching teachers in the rural areas, and serving as judge for GUYFESTA throughout Guyana. In 1990, she attended dance workshops in Jamaica, and 1992 at Duke University Durham, North Carolina. Since her migration to the United States, Verna has continued her dance profession as an entrepreneur of Impressions Dance Theatre. A recipient of many awards that includes GCA, her contributions to the community are highly recognized.
Born in Georgetown in 1957, Rod is a UK based Guyanese. A Social Historian, writer and Community Support Leader he, along with his wife Dr Juanita Cox-Westmaas, founded Guyana SPEAKS, an initiative that seeks to bring out the best of Guyana and Guyanese throughout the diaspora. Since 2017, Guyana SPEAKS has been providing monthly gatherings at prominent London venues and online. He has co-edited a book entitled (De) Colonisation in the Caribbean and Beyond and will be publishing a historical book on Black Legacies-The Westminster Trail in 2022. He conducts walking tours in London highlighting the many Black Legacies that have left an indelible mark on the city. He enjoys a good action movie, visiting new countries and baking bread.
DR. EFEBO WILKINSON is a Poet and Theatre Artist who has spent more than forty-five years working in the theatre as Playwright, Stage Director, Song-writer, Dramaturge, University Lecturer in the Theatre Arts, and Artistic Director of the celebrated theatre company, Mausica Folk Theatre (1979-1989). He is also a Public Manager with twenty-five years’ experience in Public Policy, Public Management and Diplomacy. As an artist, Dr. Efebo, as he is fondly called, has written eleven plays, three of which were written for children. He has won several awards in Trinidad and Tobago and abroad, for playwriting and directing. His plays include: To Confirm St. Peter (1974); Capital Death (1975); It Have King and King (1978); Bitter Cassava (1979); Same Khaki Pants (1980) and The Bocas (1982). In 2004, he received the National Drama Association of Trinidad and Tobago’s Vanguard Award for his pioneering work in theatre. In 2007, he was named Poet Laureate of the City of Port of Spain and in 2013, he received an Icon of Best Village Award for his sterling contribution to the development of Best Village Theatre. His poems appear in That Man May Live (1971), Voiceprint (1989), Esta Riqueza Abandonada (2006) and 100 Years of Cadets (2013). As a Public Manager he served for thirteen years (beginning in 1993) as Permanent Secretary of several Government Ministries in the Trinidad and Tobago Public Service. He retired in 2006 as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Head of the Trinidad and Tobago Foreign Service, and later served as Trinidad and Tobago’s first Resident Ambassador to the Republic of Cuba. He is a former Director of Culture for Trinidad and Tobago, and former Cultural Officer and Head of Cultural Affairs for CARICOM. He has served as Director-General of the Fifth Caribbean Festival of the Arts (CARIFESTA V) and Chairman of the Advisory Committee for CARIFESTA VI. In 2019, he served as a Sector Advisor on the Host Country Management Committee (HCMC) for CARIFESTA XIV. He has also served as Inaugural Chairman of the CARICOM Regional Cultural Committee, and Chairman of several Cabinet-appointed boards and committees including the Committee to Prepare an Intellectual Property Policy for Trinidad and Tobago, and the Committee to Make Recommendations for the Protection of the Steelpan and the Safeguarding of Trinidad and Tobago’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.