After a difficult year for the arts and culture community and the creative economy, the Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF), organiser of Cayfest 2021, is looking forward to once again highlighting the cultural diversity and artistic talent that flourishes in Cayman.
Cayfest is Cayman’s finest showcase of talent with an emphasis on local arts and culture, and an eclectic mix of visual arts and crafts, music, theatre, dance, film, fashion design, and cultural discussions. This year’s celebrations will kick off on Thursday, 18 February with the 27th annual National Arts & Culture Awards ceremony, followed by Dress For Culture Day on Friday, 26 February and culminating with the signature Red Sky at Night multi-cultural arts fair on Saturday, 27 February.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the lives of artists and cut off the world from the sustaining nourishment of the creative industries. The lack of a job, limited and dwindling funds, the uncertainty of an end to the pandemic as the virus continues to mutate, and whether the vaccine will be effective, have all played a role in enervating society. Cayfest aims to rekindle the fire of our creativity by offer an exciting platform for artists to share their work in craft, song, dance, painting and sculpture and theatre, and for our community to engage the experience,” said Henry Muttoo, CNCF Artistic Director.
NATIONAL ARTS & CULTURE AWARDS
Thursday, 18 February @ 8pm
The National Arts & Culture Awards gala takes place at the Harquail Theatre and is open to the public. While there is no admission fee, those interested in attending do need to make a reservation by calling the Cultural Foundation office. The ceremony recognises those who have contributed to the arts, culture and heritage of the Cayman Islands, attained a level of merit in their artistic discipline and/or supported the work of CNCF. The award categories are the Gold, Silver and Bronze Heritage Cross, the Gold, Silver and Bronze Stars for Creativity, the Chairman’s Award and the Outstanding Volunteer Award.
“We’re profoundly indebted to those who continue to make art, who define and preserve our heritage and culture and, as well, to those who make voluntary contributions to the development and maintenance of Caymanian society,” said Muttoo.
DRESS FOR CULTURE DAY
Friday, 26 February
Friday, 26 February is Dress for Culture Day, now in its ninth 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’s cultural heritage preservation programmes.
“A person’s or a community’s cultural genealogy is such an inextricable part of their identity that it can be hard to define, especially since it can be a combination of several different influences within their family tree. Culture is really the core of one’s sense of self, and if adrift from it, life can be unsettling. One way to think if it is to imagine what it must be like to have amnesia, to be disconnected from your roots, memories, kinships, or even familiar routines. That’s not to say that we can’t thrive away from our homeland or community; it’s still possible to do so because these cultural influences are woven into our DNA,” said CNCF Managing Director, Marcia Muttoo.
“And with Cayman’s mix of people from virtually every corner of the world, it can be fascinating to learn how much we have in common and what we each bring to the tapestry. Dress for Culture Day offers that opportunity to celebrate yourself, share your heritage and appreciate what others share with you from their own backgrounds. It doesn’t need to be complicated; you can simply dress to reflect where you come from, or tell your co-workers a story about your place, bring a sample refreshment, or a piece of art or music that reflects your home.”
RED SKY AT NIGHT
Saturday, 27 February – Matinee Show, 2pm to 6pm, Prime Time Event, 7pm to 11pm
The following day, the popular Red Sky at Night multicultural arts fair takes place on the grounds of the Harquail Theatre. This year, due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, there will be a Red Sky matinee and then a separate evening session. The matinee will take place from 2pm to 6pm and cater more to families. It will include the Creative Kids area which offers supervised activities and specialty food for kids ages three to 12, along with entertainment for all ages. The later event will start at 7pm and continue until 11pm.
Mrs. Muttoo stressed that both events will include the food, entertainment and artisans which long time patrons of Red Sky have come to love.
“From steel pan, fiddles and drums to DJs, dance troupes, storytelling and theatre, there will be no shortage of entertainment at the two Red Sky events. Both established and up-and-coming artistes are showcased on the various Red Sky stages.”
There will also be dozens of booths with locally made art, crafts, jewellery, clothes and accessories on 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.
PARADE OF NATIONS
Mrs. Muttoo also put out a call for groups to be a part of the Parade of Nations which takes place during Red Sky At Night. The parade is a beautiful and colourful display of all the wonderful cultures represented in Cayman, and every nation is welcome to participate. Prizes will be awarded for the best groups. Anyone who registers a group will receive $5 off each adult Red Sky ticket for the group (conditions apply).
For those artisans, actors, comics, fashion designers, magicians, food vendors, singers, dancers, instrumentalists, musical groups, poets and storytellers who are interested in participating in this special event, there is still time to get involved. Contact Melanie McField on firstname.lastname@example.org or 949-5078/949-5859.
• Artists, Artisans & Food Vendors
Vendor registration for Red Sky at Night is open until Friday, 29 January. Local artists, artisans and food vendors are invited to sign up to promote, sell and display their work and sell their food.
To register, and for more information email email@example.com or call (345) 623-8823.
TICKETS – ON SALE FROM 1 FEBRUARY
Tickets for the matinee session of Red Sky are $10. The night event costs $15. Children under 2-years old can enter for free. The public is strongly encouraged to purchase tickets in advance online at www.eventpro.ky. Limited tickets will be available at the gate, depending on availability.