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Earl Warner Trust Jamaica Hosts Fundraiser To Provide Scholarships

Yrneh Gabon - Earl Warner Trust Jamaica Hosts Fundraiser  To Provide Scholarships
Yrneh Gabon

KINGSTON, Jamaica – A capacity sized crowd gathered recently at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters for “Me an’ Mi Suitcase”, a lecture on the Arts as a Tool for Empowerment by Yrneh Gabon, Visual Artist and Social Activist organized by The Earl Warner Trust (Jamaica).

The evening also featured a pop-up exhibition and art auction which served as a fundraiser for the Trust’s scholarship initiative.

To date, some US$5,000 has been raised with half of the items sold and by way of a donation of US$1,000 from Prime Trust Cambio.

However, the Earl Warner Trust will continue with its fundraising online and will be seeking contributions from other corporate entities to meet its desired target of US$20,000.

A number of eminent persons from the arts and creative industries were on hand for the occasion including special guest CCH Pounder, actress and AFUWI Bob Marley Awardee; O’Neil Lawrence, Chief Curator of the National Gallery of Jamaica; Dr. Carolyn Cooper, Professor Emerita at The University of the West Indies; Pat Ramsay, curator and art icon, Lydia Chang, Prime Trust Cambio & collector and Maxine Walters, filmmaker, just to name a few.

Visual artist Yrneh Gabon (right) along with collectors from left to right: Dr. Carolyn Cooper, Professor Emerita at UWI; Christopher McCalla, Businessman and CCH Pounder, Actress pose with The Healer #4, owned by McCalla

In sharing with the rapt audience Yrneh noted that the title of the exhibit “Me an’ Mi Suitcase” was quite apt and could be seen as a biopic of his journey as an artist. “When I, Yrneh Gabon, think about my artistic journey, it’s near impossible to not think about Human Rights advocacy, social activism, community engagement, and raising awareness. In my process I listen for what I don’t hear to create and look beyond what is before me to the root of the subject, allowing the research findings to inform the aesthetics,” noted Gabon.

He spoke about using the Arts as a tool of empowerment and building communities, providing an example of this, through his own research Road to Tanzania, which looks at albinism. He noted that he wanted to do a piece that would make a difference and aware of the situation with dancehall icon King Yellowman, he chose to focus on this issue not for grades or for accolades. “Through this we’ll plant a seed. Every tree was once a seed,” noted Gabon and encouraged the audience to begin by planting a seed and nurturing it.

According to Gabon, “Me an’ Mi Suitcase” was inspired by the recent Windrush scandal and “British Africa-Caribbean” people. “These suitcases are meant to bring attention to the bitter/sweet joy and lessons in history that are hidden in plain sight. The silence and lack of education, leaving many aborted dreams, still unborn, imposed fear, limitations, the risk of uncertainty and ownership of inherited baggage of the past.”

According to Gabon, this piece explores a number of themes that highlight the strength of the black woman – she represents Africa and the African diaspora in its many forms. “The many kinds of suitcases represent the Caribbean’s diverse culture and history, much like that of Jamaica’s motto “Out of many one people”. It is important to continue the education and awareness about colonization, decolonization and self-colonization.”

The Earl Warner Trust is a charitable, non-profit entity established to honour the memory and work of noted Barbadian director, actor and dramaturge Earl McDonald Warner, and to facilitate the development of theatre arts in the Caribbean through scholarships and endowments, archiving and productions.

Over the years, the Trust has awarded some 20 scholarships and bursaries under the Earl Warner Scholarship Fund to theatre arts students of the Barbados Community College, the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts and the University of the West Indies since its inception in 1999.

The arts continue to serve as an important tool for empowerment and persons in the Caribbean Diaspora are encouraged to invest in the education of young artists.

To find out how you can donate to The Earl Warner Trust, email: [email protected] for details.

South Florida Caribbean News

The Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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