Cayfest, the Cayman Islands National Festival of Arts, gets underway this month, and organisers, the Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF), are looking forward to once again showcasing the cultural diversity and artistic talent that exists in the community. The event, which features various activities over a 10-day period, kicks off with the National Arts & Culture Awards on Thursday, 22 February and culminates with Red Sky At Night, the festival’s signature event. Mention DFC within this para, please.
Cayfest is Cayman’s finest showcase of local talent, with an emphasis on local arts and culture, and a dynamic mix of visual arts, music, theatre, film, fashion design, and cultural discussions. Highlights each year include the very popular Café Cayman, displays of unique specialty items from local artisans, locally produced films, well-loved music from the Cayman Islands National Folk Singers and performances from local contemporary artists.
“For over 20 years, Cayfest has served as a physical representation and reflection of Cayman’s unique history and heritage, our diverse people and all of the colours and creativity in our culture and community,” said Henry Muttoo, CNCF Artistic Director. “The festival supports the mission that CNCF undertook over 30 years ago, which is to signify Cayman’s heritage and culture, and to give it form, context and meaning.”
The 24th annual National Arts & Culture Awards takes place at the Harquail Theatre on 22 February and is an invitation-only affair. The awards recognise those who have contributed to the arts, culture and heritage of the Cayman Islands, attained a level of merit in their artistic discipline and supported the work of CNCF. The Heritage Cross and the Star for Creativity in the Arts, among other award categories, will be presented to more than a dozen artists, culture-makers, volunteers and other supporters of the arts.
“This is an opportunity for us to shine a light on those who have blazed a trail in building, sustaining and revolutionising Cayman’s arts scene and culture, while reminding us from where we’ve come,” said Muttoo.
Friday, 23 February is the popular Dress for Culture Day, now in its sixth year. This annual ‘dress up, dress down’ fundraiser celebrates Cayman’s multicultural community which is comprised of over 100 nationalities. Schools, businesses and individuals across the Cayman Islands are encouraged to creatively display their homeland pride and cultural attire on that day for a donation of $5 per adult and $3 per student. Monies raised go toward CNCF youth programmes such as Young Image Makers, Young at Arts Theatre Intensive and the CNCF Summer Arts Camp.
“Being a part of Dress for Culture Day can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. Wear your country colours, a scarf or tie with a particular plaid or design, or a full-fledged costume if the spirit takes you, anything that expresses who you are culturally. You may even find connections with others that you didn’t know existed!” said CNCF Programmes Manager, Patrice Beersingh.
Cayfest 2018 wraps up with Red Sky At Night which takes place on Saturday, 3 March on the grounds of the Harquail Theatre from 4pm to midnight. The fair features live dance, musical and drama performances as well as displays of visual arts, crafts and featured films. From steel pan, fiddles and drums, to DJs, dance troupe performances, storytelling and theatre, there is no shortage of entertainment at Red Sky. Both established and up-and-coming artistes are welcomed and embraced on the four Red Sky stages. Some of the biggest highlights for the night include the launch of the Cayman Islands National Folksingers new album and the bringing back of the parade of nations, featuring national costumes and dress from around the world!
There will also be dozens of booths with locally made art, crafts, jewellery, clothes and accessories on the Thatch Walk, as well as local vendors in the Café Cayman area offering dishes such as Cayman style beef, fish rundown, stewed conch and lobster and desserts including pepper jelly, coconut treats, heavy cakes, ice cream and doughnuts. In addition, the Creative Kids area will provide supervised activities and specialty food for kids ages three to 12.
Tickets for Red Sky At Night are $15 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under and $10 for seniors (65+) and students ages 13 to 17, and are available for purchase now at all Fosters Food Fair locations, Funky Tangs, HealthCare Pharmacy Grand Harbour and the CNCF office until Friday, 2 March. Ticket sales at the gate begin at 3pm on 3 March.