April 1, 2013 · 1 Comment
Far too often the narratives about women and girls in rural communities whether they be in Asia, or Africa, or South America, are centered on an urgent call for them to look past the proverbial courtyard, to aim for a life beyond the confines of the village, to shed the veil. And we tell them that not doing so would render them invisible, marginalized, or trapped. We’re wrong.
BY GRACE ANEIZA ALI | GIRLS ISSUE | SPRING, 2013
There are no paved roads directly to Chaffe Jenetta — a small Muslim coffee farming community nestled in the remote terrains of Harrar in Eastern Ethiopia. Telephone lines and electric wires are rare in these parts. Women are immersed in their day—fetching water, gathering wood and sticks to stoke fires, and cooking for their families. Among their company, lush mountains and endless blue sky, I felt at home.
April 1, 2013 · Leave a Comment
Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post. Jyotsna Patadia, age 15, walks the salt pans of Little Rann of Kutch, India.
BY GRACE ANEIZA ALI | GIRLS ISSUE | SPRING, 2013
The image above is taken from The Washington Post‘s photojournalism series, “For Impoverished Girls, School Is Just a Dream,” by photojournalist Nikki Kahn, who followed the Patadia family on the salt pans of Little Rann of Kutch in India.
On these desolate salt pans of western India, as in much of the developing world, poverty and long-standing social customs bar many girls from attending school. Above, Jyotsna Patadia, age 15, one of those girls, walks a pot of tea out to her parents and uncle on the salt pans of Little Rann of Kutch. Jyotsna was forced to drop out of school at 10 years old to help her parents during the day as they mine the land for salt. With a $500 annual income, Jyotsna’s parents could not afford to send all three of their children to school. As the girl, she has to forfeit an education. “It’s easier to be a boy,” said Jyotsna. “They get to go to school.”
April 2, 2012 · 4 Comments
"Pretty Angel Baby," Carl Hazlewood. Mixed Media Installation. 2012
BY CARL E. HAZLEWOOD | GUYANA ISSUE | APRIL, 2012
Carl E. Hazlewood is a Guyanese artist, writer and curator, living in Brookiyn, New York. He is co-founder and former curator of ALJIRA, A Centre for Contemporary Art, in New Jersey.
There have been several occasions in recent years where I’ve been accused of being a ‘foreign Guyanese,’ that term being used deliberately to suggest, I felt, that I had no right to be involved with things I assumed was within my cultural sphere of interest as a ‘born’ Guyanese. As one might imagine, such encounters induced moments of extreme psychic dissonance for me. What was I? Who am I? Why do I feel such a responsibility to folks who seem so disinterested in whatever I had to offer? And what is the responsibility of that place and those people to me?
April 1, 2012 · Leave a Comment
"Virtual Exiles: Going for Gold." Roshini Kempadoo. 2000
By Nalini Mohabir
Roshini Kempadoo, Keisha Scarville, and Sandra Brewster are women with roots in Guyana who currently reside outside of the country’s geographical borders, though not its imagined ones. Their images remind us that we are all situated – in relation to particular peoples, places, and histories that walk with us. This is the fact of the diaspora. Taken together, the work of these artists reflects the ghostly presences that linger over the concept of “home” for the Guyanese diaspora. For all (formerly) colonized and racialized diasporas, home remains a very complicated project.
March 15, 2012 · Leave a Comment
Click image to see Grace Ali's feature in the Digital Diaspora documentary film.
“This is my only connection to that place,” confides journalist Grace Aneiza Ali, founder of the Of Note magazine, as she holds images from her family photo album which was first created in her homeland of Guyana. “I’ve become the one who took the role of keeping them safe”
During her conversation with filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris at the Digital Diaspora Family Reunion (DDFR) Roadshow held recently at Harlem Stage, Ms. Ali shares, “The life for an immigrant woman is not an easy one.” Cradling an image of her mother as a young woman, Ms. Ali continues, “I’m really fascinated by her, a hard working woman, committed to her family. She’s the one that has kept us together”. Ms. Ali takes particular pride in the image of her mother at the age of eight, standing next to her grandmother. “I look at it and I see that my mother and I grow parallel to each other”.
Among the many family stories that these photos bare witness to, a constant theme is present, Grace Ali reflects on, “Seeing people go off to the airport and not see them come back”. In fact, some of the photographs that Ms. Ali shared with Thomas Allen Harris take place at the airport, where families congregate, perhaps for the last time, to see their relatives follow their dreams to a new land.
Read more about The Digital Diaspora Family Project at www.ddfr.tv.
Of Note Magazine is a sponsored organization of Artspire, a program of the New York Foundation for the Arts, a 501 (c) (3), tax-exempt organization. All donations are 100% tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.
March 3, 2012 · 5 Comments
November 7, 2011 · Leave a Comment
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Yannick Lebrun. Photo by Andrew Eccles
By Grace Aneiza Ali
Yannick Lebrun’s story, of a twenty-four year old native of French Guiana turned world-traveling Alvin Ailey dancer, is rooted in humble beginnings. His leap from studying dance at the Adaclam School in Cayenne (capital city of French Guiana) to carving out a place for himself in the award-winning Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is not a path frequently travelled. “For those from French Guiana…the possibilities for dance are few and far between,” he says. When he starts talking about his journey, he exudes an admirable and effortless humility. However, that humility belies the success of his still-emerging career. Since officially moving to New York City in 2004, Lebrun’s tenure at Ailey has evolved from aspiring fellowship student, to rising dancer of Ailey II, the company’s ensemble of young talent, to one of the thirty professionals of the current Ailey troupe.
November 6, 2011 · 15 Comments
By Ingrid Griffith
The place I once escaped, the one I had sworn off for good, became the place I most needed to feel whole again.
My family hadn’t been back to Guyana in a long time, some of us for 30 years, some 20, and some 10. A reunion trip was scheduled during Easter because of the unique Easter Monday celebration.
Eight of us arrived at Cheddi Jagan International Airport early one April morning. It had just rained and the showers had washed the warm air clean. Cane fields still lined the road from the airport. As a child, I remember the scent of boiling sugar that made me dizzy whenever I went past the Diamond Estate sugar factory on the East Bank of the Demerara River.
As we headed for Hadfield Street, I couldn’t take my eyes off the moments of daily life. Youngsters on bicycles used sticks to steer goats and cows off the street and toward the pasture. Bare-chested, brown-skinned men leaned out windows. Women in house dresses and headwraps swept their yards with pointer brooms made from coconut tree branches.