ON March 8, International Women’s Day a call went out for young people 15-25 from eastern Trinidad, with an interest in the creative industry and the belief that violence against women and girls must be addressed.
It came from the Caribbean Fashion and Arts Feature Festival (CFAFF) and was answered by two young men and seven young women.
Last month, after six months of Saturday workshops, courses, seminars and art projects, the group shared their graduation with family, friends, CFAFF supporters and the Mayor of Arima, Lisa Morris-Julien.
Angelica Alleyne, AJ Rogers, Ayoka Jules, Darcelle Lewis, Darnell Mathias-Harewood, Ilori Waithe, Jilleen Matthews-De Verteuil, Khadeen Neptune and Nkosi Cayonne also had their art pieces displayed at East Yard, Scott Street, Arima.
The event, though, was threefold, as it incorporated a street art element, as well as the presentation of awards to recipients of CFAFF’s third annual Fashion-Film awards.
The mayor pledged her support to CFAFF and commended the perseverance of its founder and executive director, Kevon Foderingham. She also said the initiative would be allocated a bigger space in the east, as “what Kevon is doing is exactly what the East and country needs, a stronger focus on culture, positivity and sustainable development.”
Foderingham responded, “Art stands side by side with Fashion-Film at the Festival. In 2018, placed even more emphasis on art as the stars of our festival this year will be the nine participants of our recently concluded six-month CFAFF ILLUSTRATE – Arts Impact Initiative to End Violence. These young artists...will lead the festival with their own exhibition, entitled For Common Good, displaying their pieces that speak directly to ending violence against women and girls.”
Another addition this year is the integration of public art, which took the festival to the streets and saw artistic work displayed on the walls of the Arima Velodrome. This year also included a secondary schools open house, hosted on October 25, which showcased the works of the graduates.
Artists AJ Rogers, Bruce Cayonne, Danielle Boodoo-Fortune, Gary Martin, Kevin Vincent, Sarah Burrows and Turunesh Raymond, along with the graduates, contributed murals that also focused on non-violence.
Foderingham said the mural’s presence will be a reminder for the community that CFAFF stands in solidarity with the rest of the world when it commemorates 16 days of activism against gender-based violence from November 25 to December 10.
CFAFF, he added, is already being recognised among the global Fashion-Film community as a multifaceted festival, which screens and honours fashion-related films from the region and beyond.
This year, the festival screened and awarded local, regional and international fashion-related films in the categories: Best Caribbean Short Film, Best Caribbean Fashion Documentary, Best Caribbean Student Designer Short Fashion Film and Best International Short Fashion Film.
Recipients were adjudicated by Sandra Carr, Tenille Clarke, Angelo Marcelle, Conrad Parris, Aadel Chin-Albert, Roger Swan, Ain Earle and Neigeme Glasgow-Maeda.
Carr noted an overall improvement in the quality of 2018 films and commended Foderingham’s efforts to continue to promote film and fashion in his community and by extension the Caribbean and beyond.
Multi-talented choreographer and artist Jaime Philbert won Best Caribbean Fashion Fashion Film, with her semi-biographical Sankofa: Art on Purpose. Arlene Bartholomew-Singh won the Creative Excellence in Fashion award. Best International Fashion Film was awarded to Versace Valentines by Luca Finotti, Best African Fashion Film went to Picha Marangi by Nathan Collett and the Best Caribbean Student Fashion Film, was copped by Inside the Outside by Argent.
CFAFF also partnered with CulturesOfResistance.org to screen the internationally acclaimed, multi-award-winning documentary Cultures of Resistance, directed by Iara Lee. The documentary is a resistance travelogue on art and creativity as ammunition in the battle for peace and justice.