Digging deep for art

Henry Mutto the artistic director of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation has said on perhaps too many occasions, that I will be remembered as a playwright long after I am forgotten as a politician and maybe he is right; however, I have written only one stage play in the last 20 years and that play is composed of bits and pieces written even more years ago.

I have given that play the title; Death of a Dream but when it was read last year at the theatre, the reading in my opinion, was poorly done and I soon got the message that this play is not something for the Caymanian theatre public.

The several plays I have written have with the exception of a handful been unsuited for an audience that refuses to cross examine its ethics and its spiritual and material orientations. My characters are simply too raw and adversarial in a destructive or evolutionary sense to provide our theatre public with the type of entertainment they require at this stage of our contra dictionary search for a national identity is a global village.

And perhaps the majority of us are only materially in the 21st Century anyway and the complex global cultural, spiritual and intellectual issues of western society are of no relevance to us far at the back of beyond.

For me it is difficult if not impossible to write plays, since the essence of my writing is to analyse my different conscious stages by the act of exposing my thoughts, feelings and ideas to the wider society in order to experience a state of intellectual intermittency. I am saying that art in the true sense cannot exist in a society where there is not a desire by some layer of the public to seek some other meaning for existence than that which is fed to us daily by those in control of the institutions that shape and govern our emotional and spiritual existence.

The true artist, if I am allowed to use such an expression, could never feel creative and inspired in an environment that starts with the inferior thought and action that our creative lust is only to demonstrate that we also have a culture and that we too can build theatre buildings and buildings to preserve paintings done my persons painting with the sole intention of duplicating time in ways a camera could do much better.

I said long ago that the building of the Harquail Theatre and the establishment of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation had set Caymanian artistic development back by 50 years if not for ever. And I now know this to be the reality if not the truth. We have now also achieved a National Gallery building but who will this institution serve if not those that continue to narrowly define existence and creativity by sucking up the financial resources that might have been better spent on young Caymanians producing forms of expression outside the mainstream.

Unlike when I began my artistic journey, Cayman now has an abundance of excellent young poets and lyricist many of whom are recidivists and developed their creative talents in Northward prison.

These young men and others performing at sessions inspire me and do more for my soul than any of the plays I have seen on the Caymanian stage in a long time. Our young grass root artists express a collective consciousness that challenges our established perceptions of what is important artistically.

And perhaps my theatre plays are out-dated and are not a vibrant stimulation of consciousness for this new generation that has borrowed entire new forms of consciousness orchestration from their peers in America, Britain, Jamaica and other parts of the world.

Poetry and music are very powerful art forms and if I could make a wish and have it come true I might just wish I could compose modern ghetto music rather than European style theatre plays. This is by no means to disregard or disrespect that tradition; but to strongly suggest that there is also other ways of making people think and rethink and feel a part of an identity.

I have approached the Minister of Youth and Culture as well as the Premier and the Artistic Director of the Cultural Foundation on many occasions suggesting that we need, as a society, to support youth culture that operates outside of what most believe to be acceptable art or music, but they do not seem to believe that it is worth giving support to young people outside their idea of respectability and creativity.

For them like many are too busy trying to prove that they are deserving of an office and a title they have not 
endured for.

Bob Marley and so many American, South African and English musical poets are my heroes and I dig where they came or are coming from because they came out of their soul and their soul was part of our larger much more important struggle to find and share the importance of our identity with everyone.

Comments are closed.