Celebrating Cayman's culture with Cayfest

Cayman artists are combining their talents for a showcase of local culture and heritage at the Cayman Islands National Festivals of the Arts.  

Cayfest, as it is known, includes Dress for Culture Day on Feb. 27, followed by the Red Sky at Night festival on Feb. 28. 

Dress for Culture Day encourages participants from schools, businesses or just individually to showcase their native costume for a suggested $5 donation. Money raised helps support the Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s youth arts programs.  

The Red Sky at Night festival, at the FJ Harquail Cultural Centre’s gardens, from 4 p.m. to midnight, includes performances by dancers, actors and storytellers, in addition to works by local artists and craftspeople. Celebrated films from around the Caribbean will also be shown on a big screen and local foods will be available for purchase. 

The film lineup includes Frank E. Flowers’s “Metro Manila,” Linda Ainouche’s “Dreadlocks Story” and Badir Awe’s “The Devil You Know.” 

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“Metro Manila” won the Sundance Audience Award, 2013, The British Independent Film Award, 2013, the Hamburg Film Festival Critics Award, 2013 and two Amazonas Awards, 2013.  

The drama will be shown in the Harquail Studio Theatre from 5-6:45 p.m. and on Astro Avenue from 10 p.m. to midnight.  

Filmmaker Ainouche will present her film, “Dreadlocks Story,” and speak with viewers. The documentary portrays the bonds of survival of African and Indian culture in Jamaica in view of anti-slavery and anti-imperalist struggles. The film will be shown at 7 p.m. in the Studio Theatre and from 8:45 p.m. on Astro Avenue.  

Written by Badir Awe and Trevor Murphy, “The Devil You Know” is a short crime film shot in Cayman. The film will be screened at 9:45 p.m. in The Studio Theatre.  

According to organizers, in addition to the films, highlights include traditional music by the Cayman Islands Folk Singers and the Swanky Kitchen Band, and the exhibition of local artwork. 

Tracie Watler, CNCF marketing and development specialist, said in a press release that the aim of the festival is to showcase Cayman’s cultural and artistic diversity. “The centre’s theaters, gardens and open spaces will metamorphose in a celebratory display highlighting all reasons we love arts and culture in Cayman,” she said. 

Tickets are available from Funky Tangs, Foster’s Airport, Foster’s Strand and the CNCF offices. Early bird tickets, on sale until Feb. 27, are $10; $5 for those 17 and younger, or those 65 years and over. Gate ticket prices are $15; $10 for youth and those 65 and over.

For more information, or to participate in the Dress for Culture Day, visit artscayman.org/cayfest, or call 949-5477


Storyteller Marc Matthews drums up business for the coconut vendor at last year’s Red Sky event.


Artist Deal Ebanks demonstrates the slingshot at the 2014 festival.


Each year, local artists display their paintings at the festival.


Cayman National Cultural Foundation folk singers performing at last year’s event. – PHOTO: JEWEL LEVY
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