A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Daniela Fifi’s interest in art, art history and in museums was sparked by her aunt, the late Dr. Claire Broadbridge. A former director of the National Art Gallery and Museum of Trinidad and Tobago, Daniela said it was Dr. Broadbridge who first inculcated in her young and impressionable niece an appreciation for the importance of cultural preservation as a means of understanding human development.
Daniela said her early love of cultural artefacts and museums led to a lifelong determination to use art history and education to positively impact the academic experiences of youth throughout the Diaspora, and to preserve the rich culture of the Caribbean through improvement and maintenance of the region’s historical institutions and art galleries.
Educated at the Holy Name Convent School in Port-of-Spain, the Trinidad and Tobago capital, Daniela proceeded to attain a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from The Pratt Institute-New York, and a Master of Arts in Art Gallery and Museum Studies from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. She is a doctoral candidate in Art and Art Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Daniela has been rewarded with numerous fellowships and awards, including the Whitney Museum’s Education Research Fellowship, the Education and Public Programs Fellowship at the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery and the Columbia University Teachers College International Student Merit Scholarship.
In 2015, she received one of the highest accolades of her scholastic career, when she was chosen from nearly 40 qualified candidates to receive the distinguished Samuel H. Kress Interpretive Fellowship Award, tenable at the Miriam and Ira D Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University. During her tenure she played an integral role in the relocation of the gallery from Columbia’s 116th university campus to the Lenfest Center for the Arts on Broadway and West 125th St.
In 2016, the British Arts Council chose her to be one of only three Caribbean representatives at the historic “Museums — What For?” conference held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in which she played a pivotal role in offering a Caribbean perspective on the role museums should continue to play in the preservation and further development of the region’s people.
Daniela said there are many individuals who have been influential and supportive on her personal and professional journey but would have to reserve very special mention for her late aunt.
She said Dr. Broadbridge, who died under tragic circumstances just a few weeks ago, “ignited what has become my lifelong work and passion.
“It is ironic that I should be getting this recognition now, of which she would have been so proud,” Daniela said. “I dedicate this award to her.”
“It is a tremendous and unexpected honor to be cited as a recipient of the Caribbean Life Impact Award,” she added. “As the name of the award implies, I have tried, in my small way, to impact the lives of as many as people as possible — especially the youth — with the work I have done.
“I accept the award with pride and gratitude, but with even greater humility,” Daniela continued, “because, for me, it serves not so much as an acknowledgement of what I have achieved thus far but as an encouraging reminder of what I have yet to accomplish. For that, I am extremely grateful.”