Vincy cultural exposition in Brooklyn a success

Saeed Bowman plays the steelpan.
R. Marksman and Club St. Vincent

Verna Arthur, the coordinator of a recent Vincentian cultural exposition in Brooklyn, has described as “a success,” her group, Club St. Vincent, Inc.’s, annual event at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn.

“Based on the feedback we have received, our 2018 cultural exposition was a success,” Arthur, a former president of Club St. Vincent, Inc., told Caribbean Life over the weekend.

She said participants also described the exposition as “a fantastic package.”

“Vendors also attested to that, especially those who were able to establish contacts and did some networking,” Arthur said. “With such good news from vendors, we felt we had accomplished what we set out to do this year.”

She said the group’s focus for 2018 was to identify market(s) for artisans, in particular those based in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

In the same vein, Arthur extended “a million thanks” to Nannie Health Food Store, a Vincentian-owned concern at 5218 Church Ave., Brooklyn.

She said the owner, Nannie, “came on board last year and is still committed to our cause — helping us to expose the wonderful products of our artisans.”

Arthur said Nannie Health Food Store has already fostered additional relationships with new St. Vincent and the Grenadines-based artisans.

Nannie also carries products of some New York-based Vincentian artisans, Arthur said, and is “now working with us to help identify other health food establishments to carry Vincy products.”

“This expo (exposition) is a costly venture to the artisans, and the importance of Vincentians rallying around Club St. Vincent, Inc. to help promote our Vincy products is extremely critical in these times,” Arthur said.

She said the purpose of the exposition is to provide exposure and, in particular, to try to secure market(s) for St. Vincent and the Grenadines and New York-based products.

With the operation of the new Argyle International Airport, Arthur said products from St. Vincent and the Grenadines “can now have an ease with which to come to New York in a timely manner.

“Artisans from St. Vincent and the Grenadines continue to thank our organization for reminding Vincentians in New York that they are still around, as we continue to put them in the light at our cultural exposition,” she said.

At the food court, on exposition day, Arthur said patrons “satisfied their pallets with the variety of indigenous dishes,” including dukunah (mostly a sweet potato-based pastry), breadfruit and dumplings, with banana and fish, blackfish and tamarind juice.

But she said the highlight of the event was the live entertainment.

Arthur said entertainers included 11-year-old DJ Young Style, “who had our MC Randy D in awe with his performance;” comedian Jamal; Francesca on spoken word; the Candy Dancers; fashions by Pamala Browne; Denis Bowman; Cultural Ambassador Cyril “Scorcher;” and internationally-acclaimed pannist extraordinaire, Saeed Bowman.

“There is a publication entitled, ‘When Steel Talk’,” she said. “All I will say to that, on Aug. 25, Saeed’s tenor pan spoke, and everyone listened.

“What Saeed demonstrated was a true commitment and dedication to the steel pan arena,” she added. “He is so humble and unassuming; his performance showed just that.”

Saeed’s interest in playing the steel pan began at 7 after he attended the 2008 summer program conducted by former Vincentian panorama champions Starlift Steel Orchestra under the theme “Pan against Crime.”

Saeed, 17, currently plays with Starlift Steel Orchestra, and is a member of both the junior and senior pan side.

He has played at many events, including carnival, party, wedding, church and concert.

In April 2017, Saeed was awarded the Princess Diana Award.

He was honored to play pan at the cocktail reception in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for Prince Harry, Prince of Wales, in November 2016.

Saeed also received an award by “PSPAF,” Primary School Performing Art Festival, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, for the Most Promising Male Performer, and the National Cultural foundation for his outstanding contribution to the development of culture in 2011.

He represented St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Cuba at the 21st Annual International Cuban Book Fair in February 2012.

“On behalf of Club St. Vincent, Inc., Invest SVG, and Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit, thanks again to everyone who have contributed in helping this exposition to be the quality event it was,” Arthur said. “We could not have done it without you.”

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