Cayfest celebrates arts and culture

Artist Donovan Sewell proudly stands by his artwork. - Photo: Taneos Ramsay

There is no question that performers and entertainers have been hard hit by the pandemic.
Stage productions, concerts and other shows were postponed or cancelled last year, leaving a void in the arts.

Thankfully, restrictions have now been relaxed significantly, giving beloved events the green light. Therefore, the Cayman National Cultural Foundation has announced that Cayfest 2021 will be happening on the weekend of 26 and 27 Feb., following the National Arts and Culture Awards evening, which was held on Thursday.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the lives of artists and cut off the world from the sustaining nourishment of the creative industries,” said Henry Muttoo, CNCF artistic director. “The lack of a job, limited and dwindling funds, the uncertainty of an end to the pandemic as the virus continues to mutate, and whether the vaccine will be effective, have all played a role in enervating society. Cayfest aims to rekindle the fire of our creativity by offering an exciting platform for artists to share their work in craft, song, dance, painting and sculpture, and theatre, and for our community to engage [in] the experience.”

Cayfest is Cayman’s finest showcase of talent with an emphasis on local arts and culture. Its various events highlight the best that the islands have to offer, while at the same time embracing people from countries around the world that call Cayman home.

Dress for Culture Day
26 Feb.
Island-wide
Whether you hail from Cayman, Ireland, India, the Philippines, Canada, Africa or one of the hundreds of other places on this planet, this is the day to celebrate your culture. Wear the colours of your flag, dress in traditional clothes or don a hat – whatever displays your national pride.

This is the ninth year for the ‘dress up, dress down’ fundraiser, recognising a community comprised of over 100 different nationalities. Schools, offices and individuals are encouraged to join in for a donation of $5 per adult and $3 per student. The money raised goes towards the foundation’s cultural heritage preservation programmes.

“[W]ith Cayman’s mix of people from virtually every corner of the world, it can be fascinating to learn how much we have in common and what we each bring to the tapestry,” said Marcia Muttoo, CNCF managing director. “Dress for Culture Day offers that opportunity to celebrate yourself, share your heritage and appreciate what others share with you from their own backgrounds. It doesn’t need to be complicated; you can simply dress to reflect where you come from, or tell your co-workers a story about your place, bring a sample refreshment, or a piece of art or music that reflects your home.”

Red Sky at Night
27 Feb. 2-6pm/7-11pm
Grounds of the Harquail Theatre
The theatre’s surroundings are transformed every year for Red Sky, where all ages gather to browse stalls, enjoy local food and be entertained.

This year, due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, there will be a Red Sky matinee and then a separate evening session. The matinee will run from 2-6pm and cater more to families. It will include the Creative Kids area, which offers supervised activities and specialty food for kids from 3-12, along with entertainment for all ages.

The later event starts at 7pm, going until 11pm.

“From steel pan, fiddles and drums to DJs, dance troupes, storytelling and theatre, there will be no shortage of entertainment at the two Red Sky events,” said Marcia Muttoo. “Both established and up-and-coming artistes are showcased on the various Red Sky stages.”

Booths will have lots of goodies to choose from. Beyond all the shopping opportunities to snap up locally-made items, there will also be delicious dishes in the Café Cayman area with Cayman-style beef, fish rundown, stewed conch and lobster on the menu. The dessert stations will feature favourites such as coconut treats, heavy cakes, ice cream and doughnuts.

Groups are also welcome to be a part of the Parade of Nations, which takes place during Red Sky. The parade is a beautiful and colourful display of all the wonderful cultures represented in Cayman, and every nation is welcome to participate. Prizes will be awarded for the best groups.

Anyone who registers a group will receive $5 off each adult ticket for the group (conditions apply).

About the Cayman National Cultural Foundation
For more than 30 years, this non-profit foundation has carried out its mission of stimulating, facilitating and preserving Caymanian cultural and artistic expression. It has achieved this through the extensive development of wide-ranging programmes, which include stage productions, creative education for young people, free workshops and financial support of artists, as well as festivals, publications, national recognition of artistic and cultural achievement and the preservation of Caymanian heritage, arts and culture for future generations.

| Tickets for the matinee session of Red Sky are $10. The night event costs $15. Children under 2 are free. The public is strongly encouraged to purchase tickets in advance online at www.eventpro.ky. Limited tickets will be available at the gate, depending on availability. For more information about Cayfest, email [email protected], call 949-5477 or visit www.artscayman.org/cayfest.

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