TT’s ethnic and cultural diversity continues to be brought to the fore by Nalis through its collections, exhibitions and programmes. Staying true to its mandate to promote and preserve the national heritage information, the Heritage Library Division collaborated with the Success Laventille Networking Committee (SLNC) and Ile Egbe Yemoja to mount an exhibition for this year’s Emancipation celebrations at the rotunda of the National Library which started on July 22 and ends on Friday.
In keeping with the international theme International Decade for People of African Descent, is themed Yoruba Village – its cultural impact and retention in TT. It illustrates the different aspects of village life of the Yoruba community in Laventille, East Port of Spain. The exhibition highlights the Yoruba Village, accompanied by literature, artefacts and other items such as wood carvings, pans contributed by San Juan All Stars Steel Orchestra, images of people from the community including icons such as LeRoy Clarke, Makandal Daaga, Leslie "Tiger" Stewart and Bill Trotman.
The design and function of the exhibition is highly interactive. In addition to viewing and reading informative literature, the viewer can participate in scheduled activities on Market Days; talk to the community herbalist about traditional medicine and take away samples; interact with community artists and craftsmen and buy items in leather, copper work, and quality African clothing and African sweets.
Books and audiovisual formats selected for the exhibition can be accessed via Nalis’ diverse collections. Some titles are: The Coming of night: a Yoruba Creation Myth from West Africa, by James Riordan, Emeka's gift: an African Counting Story, by Ifeoma Onyefulu, Orisha: the Gods of Yorubaland, by Judith Illsley Gleason, African Heritage Sites in Trinidad & Tobago by Pearl Eintou Springer, and Trinidad Yoruba: from Mother Tongue to Memory by Maureen Warner Lewis.
Nalis’ public libraries across the country also hosted a number of activities to mark Emancipation Day. The Port of Spain children’s library featured oral history/storytelling sessions, dance and craft showcasing African heritage pieces which coincided with its vacation reading camp and the adult library focused on African drum-making and video presentations on African art, music, fashion, dance and other cultural aspects.