The National Museum and Art Gallery, in collaboration with the T&T Film Company (TTFC) and the T&T Film Festival (TTFF), hosted the second in the Film Screening Series titled Nationhood and Identity at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port-of-Spain, last Thursday evening. Caribbean Skin, African Identity by Mandisa Pantin, Y’ning? by Emile Upczak, and Chinee Girl by Natalie Wei were the chosen films screened before a small audience at the venue. Curator at the museum Nimah Muwakil-Zakuri, in welcoming the audience, said appreciation should be shown to the three female filmmakers for their timely and relevant contributions. Pantin said her film Caribbean Skin, African Identity was “a personal journey of trying to find out who I was.” The documentary, filmed against a background of Emancipation Day celebrations in Port-of-Spain, allowed for various views to be aired on the topic of identifying with an African heritage.
The film discusses how present-day African descendants in the Caribbean see themselves. Upczak described Y’ning? as an academic music video that explores wining as a dance language with a history and identity born out of the Caribbean experience. In particular, it looks at the body in motion, as well as elements of T&T society that are represented in the way people dance and the various ethnic influences on the dance itself. The film explores the wine as a new language that is not merely a type of sexual expression, but a movement that has historical and social relevance.
Chinee Girl focuses on 15 female subjects from varying social circles. Through their stories, a contemporary portrait of the Caribbean Chinese identity emerges, with views on how gender, ethnicity and identity are defined in a Caribbean, but more particularly T&T, space.
Among the subjects telling their stories are Sally Homer, Jamie Lee Loy, Anya Ayoung-Chee, Donna Chin Lee, Richalene Sui Chong and Shaleen Chan. The third screening in the series is scheduled for July 19, and will feature Joebell and America by Asha Lovelace, and The Smallest River in Almirante by Simon Baptiste. The fourth will take place on August 23, and feature Classical Steel by John Barry, The Audacity of the Creole Imagination by Dr Kim Johnson, and The Saddhu of Couva by Robert Yao Ramesar. The final screening will be on September 20, when Inward Hunger by Mariel Brown will be shown. Admission to all shows is free.