Puerto Rico Honors Obama Visits with a Bronze Sculpture

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Last week, Puerto Rican officials marked Presidents Day by unveiling bronze statues of U.S. President Barack Obama and former President Lyndon B. Johnson, along the so-called “Avenue of Heroes” outside the Capitol building, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Every sitting U.S. president who has ever visited Puerto Rico is honored with a statue, dating back to Theodore Roosevelt. Obama became the ninth when he visited in June, said Kenneth McClintock, Puerto Rico’s secretary of state.

Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, who represents Puerto Rico in the U.S. Congress but has limited voting powers, said the Obama administration has been helpful to Puerto Rico, including it in economic stimulus funding and health reform, among other initiatives. But he and other officials who spoke at the ceremony complained about a lack of other basic rights, including representation in the U.S. Senate and the right to vote in the general presidential election.

“The president…

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Jamaican Political Drama “Better Mus Come” Will Have NYC Premiere

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“Better Mus Come” a Jamaican movie that covers the turbulent era of political violence in the late 70s will have its NYC premiere Thursday, February 16th at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade theater at 7pm—Casey Hane-McCalla reports in newsone.com.

The movie tells the story of a gang leader in Jamaica with ties to a political party and his struggle raising a child. It stars American actor Roger Guenveur Smith (“Malcolm X”, “Do The Right Thing)” and Jamaican newcomers Sheldon Sheperd and Nicole ‘Sky’ Grey.

Long time Caribbean radio host from WBLS, Dahved Levy will host and there will be a Q&A with director, Storm Saulter following the movie.

Buy Tickets Here

Watch the Trailer

For the original report go to http://newsone.com/entertainment/casey-gane-mccalla/jamaican-politcal-drama-better-mus-come-will-have-nyc-premiere/

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Photographer Ernesto Fernández Nogueras Receives Cuba’s National Prize for Visual Arts 2011

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Cuban photographer Ernesto Fernández Nogueras received the National Prize for Visual Arts 2011 [Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas 2011] in Havana in honor of the breadth and quality of his work, which combines aesthetic experience and testimonial values.

Fernández Nogueras became the second “master of the lens” be distinguished with this prize, awarded by Cuba’s Ministry of Culture and the National Council of Fine Arts.

Fernández Nogueras initially devoted his talents in photography as a war correspondent in Venezuela (1959), at the battle of Playa Girón (1961), in Angola (1981-1983), and in Nicaragua (1983), publishing his photographs in magazines and journals such as Cuba Internacional y Revolución. As critics indicate, throughout his career, he created a “visual repertoire that breaks down the boundaries between photojournalism and the photo essay.” The award-winning photographer has exhibited his works in galleries in Canada, Cuba, Denmark, France, Italy, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and…

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Haiti’s earthquake and survival in photos

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It’s not at all unusual to find photographer Tequila Minsky in Haiti. The New York resident has faithfully documented Haitian culture here and in the Caribbean for decades, but a fateful chapter was added to her portfolio last year – the devastating January 2010 earthquake, as Jared McCallister writes in New York’s Daily News.

Minsky will share her photographic perspective of the disaster in the exhibition “Haiti = Survival (No Question But)” on display at the Soho Photo Gallery in Manhattan’s Tribeca through Oct. 29.

Her amazing photos were among the first images of the disaster seen in the mainstream media – appearing online in a New York Times blog just three hours after the 7.0-magnitude quake, which ultimately killed 316,000 people, injured 300,000 and left 1.3 million displaced from damaged homes.

The morning following the quake, while international news agencies frantically plotted how to get crews to the disaster scene, Minsky’s photos were appearing around the world in…

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Columbus statue runs aground in Puerto Rico

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It would be the tallest structure in the Caribbean and among the tallest statues in the world, a monument to Christopher Columbus in a region where he has not been regarded highly for many years, the Associated Press reports.

So far, though, the nearly 300-foot (92-meter) bronze likeness of The Great Explorer just seems like a monumental morass or perhaps a colossal joke. Originally intended to grace the skies of a major U.S. city, it has been shuffled from one locale to another and lies in pieces as a businessman and the mayor of the small Puerto Rican town of Arecibo try to finally erect it overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the island’s north coast.

But this still may not be the final chapter in what has so far been a 20-year saga. The statue’s final resting place is far from certain: Its backers must gather a long list of…

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Disaster-proof ‘Antillean Gothic’ reinvents the shotgun shack

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The shotgun shack, or shotgun house, is a linear dwelling common to the Caribbean and southern United States, which has been reinvented by Amonle Studio Workshop to be more sustainable and disaster-proof, as Duncan Geere writes in wired.co.uk.

The shotgun shack gets its name from its design — a linear series of three to five rooms in a row with no hallways, meaning that you can fire a shotgun from the front door and the pellets would fly cleanly out of the back, as all the doors are on the same side. “Double-barrel” shotgun houses share a central wall.

Amonle’s concept, which is called “Antillean Gothic“, keeps the basic design and arrangement of the structure but lifts it off the ground, adds a second floor for privacy and extra ventilation, and builds the whole thing out of materials readily available in the Caribbean — bamboo, metal…

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Tampa Bay Worries about Animal Sacrifice

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In a recent newscast (WTSP News), the  words “headless animals” and “Santería” were consistently thrown together, sprinkling a report that focused on animal sacrifice, its purpose, legality, and effects on the South Florida community. The article asked, “Is this black magic, voodoo, or witchcraft?” (Just quoting, people!) Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below:

Animals sacrificed for the living. The sight can be unnerving and even terrifying for those not familiar with the practice. From Africa to Cuba and even along the shores of a Florida lake, sacrificial rituals continue in modern society. Afro-Caribbean religions like Santeria involve animal sacrifice in their most important cleansing ceremonies.

“[This has been going on] all through history!” says Dr. Mozella Mitchell. She chairs the religious studies department at the University of South Florida and has written books on mystical religions like Santeria. Mitchell points out that…

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EXH: Artists for Haiti: Zwirner Gallery Raises Funds for Haiti Earthquake Relief

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Emily Nathan (Artnet Magazine) writes about a benefit auction— Artists for Haiti—at Christie’s in New York held on September 22, 2011. The works were previously on view at the David Zwirner Gallery. In the spirit of the project, Christie’s waived all fees and commissions, with 100 percent of the proceeds earmarked for NGOs already working in Haiti. Saying that “A little can go a long way in Haiti,” gallery owner David Zwirner offered a walkthrough of “Artists for Haiti” before the special sale.

Conceived in collaboration with actor (and art collector) Ben Stiller and his eponymous philanthropic foundation to bolster relief efforts in the earthquake-ravaged Caribbean country — the poorest in the Western Hemisphere — the sale brings together 26 paintings, drawings and sculptures, most of which were made specifically for the auction and donated by 25 international artists ranging from Neo Rauch and Karin Mamma Andersson to

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Smithsonian accepts costumes from pioneering performer Diosa Costello

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In her heyday Diosa Costello was billed as the “Latin Bombshell” and helped to break the barriers in Hollywood and on Broadway for Latino performers. In recognition of her groundbreaking career, the National Museum of American History accepted 11 costumes from Costello for its entertainment collections, Jacqueline Trescott reports in The Washington Post.
Costello, now 94, was born in Puerto Rico but got her start singing in New York’s Spanish Harlem. In 1939 she appeared in George Abbot’s “Too Many Girls,” a musical. Later she replaced Juanita Hall as Bloody Mary in the landmark Rodgers and Hammerstein play “South Pacific.”

Her career included movies, starting with “They Met in Argentina” in 1941 and Laurel and Hardy’s “The Bullfighters” in 1945. In that film Costello sang a song called “Bim, Bam, Bum.”

The gift was part of the museum’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Costello’s story is one that…

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OBIT: Twins Seven-Seven (1944-2011)

Date: June 16, 2011

Twins Seven-Seven is dead
By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)

A multidimensional artist, singer, musician, actor, writer and poet, Twins Seven-Seven, one of the greatest artists of the Osogbo School, has died at aged 67. He passed on yesterday at  the University College Hospital, Ibadan, where he had been on admission following a stroke.

The artist, real name Olaniyi Osuntoki was one of the most famous products of Ulli Beier’s experimental art workshops, held in Osogbo in the 1960s.

In recognition of his contribution to the promotion of dialogue and understanding among peoples, particularly in Africa and the African Diaspora, he was named a UNESCO Artist for Peace in 200, in the presence of former president Olusegun Obasanjo who was Chairman of the African Union. The ceremony took place on Africa Day.

The Director-General of CBAAC, Prof. Tunde Babawale described the death of Twin Seven Seven as another tragic news to the art and culture community, barely few days after the passing away of the Managing Director of GT Bank, Mr. Tayo Aderinokun, who was a strong arts enthusiast and collector.  According to Babawale, Twin Seven Seven was revered across the world for his art, and recognized by UNESCO as a torch bearer. “Our hearts go to the family hoping that God will grant him eternal rest. I hope many Twin Seven Sevens will strive  our landscape and I wish Osun State government will immortalize his name,” Babawale said.

Seasoned theatre practitioner and former Deputy Editor The Guardian, Mr. Ben Tomoloju, said the late artist was a pioneering prime mover of the Osogbo Arts commune. He noted that he was so versatile that he influenced a number of Osogbo artists. “His art is spiritual. Though he did not school formally in the arts, but he was a great artist respected across the globe,” Tomoloju added.

Born in 1944, his career began in the early 1960s. He has since become the most famous representative of the renowned Oshogbo school of painting, which is at the heart of Yoruba civilization. His work reflects the cosmology and mythology of the Yoruba culture. He has choose the pseudonym, Twin Seven Seven as a reference to his birth: he is the sole survivor of a line of seven sets of twins.

His work has been shown in numerous exhibitions throughout the world, notably at France’s National Museum of Modern Art – Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Houston Contemporary Arts Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. and the National Modern Art Gallery in Lagos.

His encounter with the graphic arts and painting came about in 1964 when he met a group of artists known as the Mbare Mbayo Group. This is where the Oshobgo School had it’s origins. Twins Seven-Seven began by drawing on paper. Drawing and engraving have remained a constant and central reference in his work. The originality of his line comes from the fact that it appears to unfold blindly, with no plan, through a progressive invasion of the entire surface. This technique gives his paintings their extraordinary detail.

With the exception of a few paintings which represent “profane” themes, the universe of Twins Seven-Seven is thoroughly rooted in the Yoruba imagery, both religious and folkloric.

This report will be published in The Nation newspaper website tomorrow, Friday June 16.

Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts) <ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com>