Renowned artist and cultural entrepreneur Danny Simmons is on a mission to highlight, champion and at times participate in events to help artists of African descent get international exposure for their work.
Hosting the 4th Annual Caribbean Fine Art (CaFA) Fair in beautiful Barbados does exactly that. Starting today, March 12th through the 16th, in the heart of historic Bridgetown, attendees will experience five exciting days of art, film, music and performances (including spoken word), featuring over 35 of the Caribbean’s finest artists.
Simmons believes this event is essential for Caribbean artists. “CaFA brings together artists from across the Diaspora to show their work, get together and network. Often artists work and show in a limited geographic area, but art fairs like this allow them to expand their experiences and open them to new forms of expression. CaFA “brings artists and patrons of the arts together, increasing the chances for economic opportunity and future exhibitions all over the Caribbean and beyond.“
Produced by Diaspora Now, CaFA Fine Art Fair was created with the primary mission to increase the awareness and appreciation of Caribbean culture, through distribution of information and works of art. Anderson Pilgrim, Diaspora Now’s director, explains: “CaFA Fair began in 2011 and no one knew who we were. Now entering our 4th year, many of the region's internationally established artists have showcased their work with us, reaching new audiences. We’ve introduced artists who were not well known but are now receiving increasing opportunities to develop their talent and exhibit their work.”
CaFA also continues a dialogue of the African influence on contemporary Diaspora artistic expression and investigates the position of Caribbean art in the broader Diaspora conversation. “CaFA Fair wants to build that bridge with artists across the Diaspora.” says Pilgrim. Simmons agrees, “This festival seeks to help artists of the Caribbean gain greater access to the international arts dialogue.”
With all the scheduled activities, performances, live music and film included in this year’s CaFA was influenced by Art Basel Miami, but has a distinctive island flair. “The overwhelming impression I had on visiting Art Basel Miami was the tremendous energy (of the festival) and you could enjoy yourself whether you were an art lover or not," says Pilgrim. "It also generates a tremendous amount of income in and for the city. CaFA Fair would like to emulate that type of success.”
The year’s CaFA is anticipated to double its attendance. There will be digital coverage, local TV coverage as well as on live tweeting, Facebook and Instagram postings during the festival. Add that CaFA's five sun-filled days take place on the beautiful island of Barbados, and you've got a recipe for a great time, and a surefire way to heal your winter blues jumpstart spring.
--By Crystal Whaley