Caribbean Ties: A people connected, then and now

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Local Artist Darcy recent painting of the Anglican School Annex

By AHS & HTC

CASTRIES, St Lucia – Caribbean Ties, a people connected then and now, is expected to be hosted mid July and the month of August 2021.

The joint committee of the Saint Lucia Archeological and Historical Society and the Parish of Holy Trinity Anglican Church and St Mary the Virgin will host Caribbean Ties at the Anglican School Annex – a building more than hundred years old.

The event will be commemorating an area rich in heritage with (i) a Church being constructed since 1820-30, (ii) its own cemetery 1828, – and (iii) the Annex being more than 100-years old (1916) – all in the heart of the city of Castries and (iv) the centenary celebrations of the Anglican church St Mary the Virgin at La Caye.

It is being revealed ever since the idea of hosting the exhibition, that several Saint Lucia personalities remain alumni of that school … inclusive of Sir Arthur Lewis and family members and many prominent citizens including the first native Governor – Sir Frederick Clarke and the first Governor-General Sir Allen Montgomery Lewis; other passed and/or living persons as the pupils of that primary school.

The School Annex which has been neglected for some time will be rehabilitated to host the exhibition in the first instance and may explore further how it can be brought back into usage. The building has been in debate for demolition and or rehabilitation for several years by the Anglican Community.

The joint committee (AHS and HTC) met with some of the like-minded interest groups on June 1. The groups included  Iyanola Committee for Rastafari (ICAR ), The Saint Lucia National Trust, Folk Research Centre, Saint Lucia National Trust, UWI Open Campus all of whom have a role to play in such an event. The representatives attending the meeting were invited to a tour of the existing building during their deliberations.

A site visit at the Annex, Courtesy HTC

However, other governmental agencies like the Cultural Development Foundation, ministry of tourism and ministry of equity were also invited and the other groups representing Indian heritage and indigenous people will complete the full contingent groups being targeted and are expected to complement the efforts at this level. 

The Caribbean Ties exhibition is being conducted under the theme “A connected People Then and Now” is a sponsored event by the Leiden University.

This exhibition is part of the work related to “Project NEXUS 1492: Caribbean encounters in a Globalizing World” of Leiden University, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and Konstanz University in collaboration with the Saint Lucia Archaeological and Historical Society, and presents part of the scientific results generated by the research project.

Caribbean Ties is a unique exhibition that presents the diversity and complexity that existed in the Caribbean before the arrival of Europeans, and that is still present today. The exhibition provides an opportunity to support the heritage and share in the cultural awareness of school children, local communities and visitors.

Moreover, the donation contains the Caribbean Ties exhibition magazine in English and in French, educational booklets developed by NEXUS-1492 in English and French, and a box of NEXUS-1492 scientific publications. Finally, it contains archaeological materials from the site of Giraudy, which were on loan to Leiden University for research purposes.

Leiden University is pleased to send the archaeological specimens in this package for the purpose of repatriation.

A meeting at the Rectory, Courtesy HTC

The exhibition includes several sub-themes viz:

Theme 1: Multicultural Caribbean (multicultural landscape)

Theme 2: Travel, migration and exchange

Theme 3: Life in the Caribbean (eating and believing)

Theme 4: Looking towards the future: research and sustainability.

The Joint Committee expects local themed input from the local agencies to leverage their archival work to complement the exhibition, which was originally scheduled to be hosted for three months.

The launch is scheduled for August 1, 2021, or two weeks before. However, there are challenges surrounding the event including COVID-19 and the joint committee of both organisations are working closely to overcome the challenges and meet the desired objective of the exhibition.

The Joint Committee is counting on the support from the public sector, private sector and social groups to ensure the success of the exhibition. Any comments can be forwarded to Saint Lucia Archaeological Society and The parish of Holy Trinity Church.

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