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Coloquio Internacional 8/00

Centro de Estudios del Caribe

Their 8/00 conference had a good impact.

Myths of the Caribbean: guarantee of identity, 9/5/00

Myths of the Caribbean: guarantee of identity
BY ISIDRO ESTRADA (Prensa Latina)

HAVANA.- From Mackandal to Bob Marley, from La Lupe to Afro-Caribbean orishas, the myths of the Caribbean are an essential part of a way of life only possible in this region, where magic and reality come together in the presence of all the world’s races.

In this context, over a period of five days researchers and artists from about 10 countries explored the Caribbean essence through the discussion of interesting papers and diverse art forms, all part of the Myths of the Caribbean colloquium held at Casa de las Américas [but organized by the Centro de Estudios del Caribe - AfroCubaWeb].

The participants, from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, the United Kingdom, Colombia, France, the United States and Cuba, examined the Caribbean character forged over five centuries through the most intense racial mixture known, and involving peoples from almost every region on earth.

Even many of the most rigorous academic papers explored the carnival spirit linked to this region’s culture, in which popular manifestations have entered into the highest artistic expressions, although many have tried to deny this fact.

"We must assume myths with a creative, or rather Caribbean spirit," stated Cuban researcher Rogelio Martínez Furé, a respected scholar of Afro-Cuban culture, who gave the closing speech at the event, with some rather unexpected features.

Amidst invocations chanted to Afro-Caribbean deities, rhythms beat out on a table and even an Arabic prayer to Allah, Martínez Furé insisted, "Myth moves through all our universes, revealing itself only to the initiated minds. They are the source of a unique identity."

But the same orator conceded the elusive nature of myths, recognizing that "they always elude us, like puffs of smoke from a Caribbean cigar."

Nonetheless, the colloquium did try to contain them momentarily, in an effort to "determine how myths are created, modified and sustained," covering subjects such as the creation and destruction of myths in literature, the visual arts and contemporary theater. To reinforce these concepts, installations featuring Yoruba painting and engraving were displayed, reflecting the legends propagated by native Caribbean peoples and African slaves, as well as the frankly kitsch visions of the Caribbean reality which have become an artistic category in the best tradition of Pedro Almodovar.

José Castillo, a Dominican visual artist who presented a series of paintings on reality and fantasy, told Prensa Latina that in the Caribbean "myths are even utilized to defeat other myths. That is what some of us artists are trying to do when we recreate visions stemming from racial mixture, refuting the false myth of a whitened version of society, which they are trying to sell us in countries like mine."

Cuban dramatist Gerardo Fulleda León, also in conversation with this agency, praised the capacity of popular myth to transcend epochs and circumstances in his description of the central character of his play Remolino en Las Aguas (Whirlpool), presented within the framework of the event. The play deals with the presence over time of La Lupe, the controversial Cuban singer.

La Lupe, to whom Spanish director Pedro Almodovar furnished a cinematic comeback after her early death, is the center of Fulleda’s work, based on the Racine’s Phèdre, in which death falls in love with the protagonist.

Gloria Rolando’s El alacrán, dealing with one of the oldest Cuban carnival dance groups, was presented on videotape. The books launched were Raúl Martínez’s Benny Moré, about another mythical figure in Cuban popular music, and Cuban journalist Laciel Zamora’s El culto de San Lázaro en Cuba (The Cult of San Lázaro in Cuba), about Cuba’s most venerated saint.

 

Convocatoria

Coloquio Internacional
Mitos en el Caribe

La Habana, del 7 al 11 de agosto del 2000

Estimado/a colega:

El Centro de Estudios del Caribe le invita a participar en el Coloquio Internacional sobre Mitos en el Caribe, que se desarrollará en la Casa de las Américas, dedicado a estudiar la manera en que se gestan, perviven y se transforman los mitos en nuestra región. El diálogo cultural, con la participación de creadores y académicos, propone un intercambio de ideas sobre los procesos de simbolización y mitificación que tienen lugar en diversas zonas de la realidad sociocultural del Caribe, y su trascendencia como expresión de la conciencia colectiva. Mito e historia, mito y arte, mito y literatura, mito y cultura de masas, mito y poder, mito y ritualidad, entre otros, serán espacios a explorar en este Coloquio.

Se aceptan ponencias con una duración máxima de 20 minutos, que aborden los temas arriba mencionados. Los interesados en participar como ponentes o presentar materiales audiovisuales deberán enviar una sinopsis de 20 líneas sobre su trabajo, acompañada de su curriculum vitae, al Comité de Admisión antes del 21 de junio del año 2000.

La cuota de admisión es de $100,00 USD y será abonada personalmente en la Casa de las Américas. Los interesados deberán confirmar su asistencia antes del 21 de julio del 2000.

Paralelamente, se inaugurará una exposición de arte caribeño en torno al tema. Se realizarán, además, otras actividades, como representaciones artísticas y proyección de videos.

A fin de facilitar su traslado y estancia en Cuba, diríjase a las agencias de viajes o contacte directamente con nosotros. La Casa de las Américas posee una residencia académica con precios económicos que ponemos a su disposición. Dada la capacidad limitada debe solicitar su reservación 30 días antes de su arribo a La Habana.

Le esperamos,

Vivian Martínez Tabares
Directora
Centro de Estudios del Caribe

 

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