Dr Kris Rampersad, author, heritage educator and journalist, has urged the diverse populations of the Americas to build bridges through walls.
Rampersad is on a literary tour dubbed LiTTribute to the Americas 2018 across North America and Canada aimed to promote intercultural dialogue showcase the connections with literary heritage and other experiences of peoples of the Americas inspired by her commemorative book LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction. LiTTscapes has been hailed for its efforts at bridging the gaps among the diverse cultures of the Caribbean.
The Canadian appearances begin as guest of the Zoomers’ Association annual Mothers’ Day celebrations at the Erin View Residence Hall, Mississauga, Ontario from 1 pm May 13, 2018 to autograph works and for interactive engagement on the theme Mothers, Motherlands and MotherCultures and from 3 pm May 20 2018 for A Roti and a Reading at Windies Restaurant, Scarborough Toronto.
Speaking at A Celebration of Arrivals in South Florida USA last week accompanied by steelpan music, calypso, and dances, Dr Rampersad told of how these cultural forms were the bedrock of the literary culture. Creating linkages between the two can encourage appreciation of literature and encourage reading that can foster greater appreciation of other peoples and cultures, she said.[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFgTfMIYDxU&w=320&h=266]A peace advocate, she observed a moment of remembrance for the victims of the recent school shooting that claimed the lives of 17 students in Florida and urged guests to harness their collective energies and knowledge of the strength of community gained from their villages of origin to counter the culture of violence and despair that seems to be crippling communities across the Americas.
Dr Rampersad recalled her early schooling, when “students did not have access to guns” and gave anecdotes of when “chalk was our only weapon!” in the presence of some of her early mentors, now resident in the diaspora including former Deacon of the Anglican Church Reverend Winston Joseph who said he attended as he has followed Dr Rampersad’s achievements since a student, and one of her early childhood teachers, Mrs Marion Karamath, a retired special education teacher of Canada who introduced her to the US audience.
Dr Rampersad said that laying a solid foundation for children through a culture of reading and exchange of experiences can bridge the generation gap and redirect the anxieties that lead to violence, as she shared successes of the children of LiTTscapes who showcased their talent during the initial launch of the book at Whitehall, one of the Magnificent Seven heritage landmarks in Trinidad and Tobago and other LiTTributes held in the Caribbean, UK and Europe.
“We are nurturing and building cultural confidence so they emerge from any sense of marginalization to self-esteem,” she said, noting that “in the land of Walt Disney, that cannot be too lofty an ideal to consider, nor too much an impossibility to recreate!”
She recalled being tasked to recite before her entire school a poem which contained words that were “very bigly” and felt then the power of words to move apart the walls that also served as blackboards, and to build bridges of understanding through knowledge.
“It did leave me with the notion that reading has the capacity to remove walls that divide us,” she said, identifying some of the ‘bigly’ words in the poem as indelibly, phenomenal and unfathomable and challenged herself to put them into a sentence.
“Scaling first the walls of unfathomable words that have remained indelibly imbedded in my mind, I graduated into a phenomenal obsession to see those walls pulled aside so that we can build bridges and all share in a common vision for unity and camaraderie,” she said, to applause. She said she was connecting with people who share this vision to empower youth and to bring diverse communities together, not just those of who migrated from the Caribbean, and who came from other continents but also the indigeneous peoples of the Americas.
She said her research on many communities who have migrated show the journeys have bee
n long and treacherous and “there are still tectonic jostlings in adjusting to the aftershocks that are similar in small islands as continental spaces dealing with diversity – jostling for recognition, for access, for equality of treatment. Sometimes it takes over our young and not so young, and spill over in frustrated and violent and extremist behaviour.
“It is my belief that if we create tracks through the imagination for a journey beyond the weight of that history, beyond the erasures and distortions of historical records, there will be a different tone to our conversations about diversity,” she said. “It was my interest in the village space that grew from my focus on a rural spot on a small island the expanding contours of the global village, and my research grew to encompass a broad range of interests that now is described in those bigly words as sustainable development.”
Many eagerly shared their memories of growing up in villages, such as those represented in LiTTscapes, following the formal presentations of awards to diverse community members, as Gary Persad and Steven & Margaret Chang with an inscription from the Tao Te Ching – an ancient Chinese text – “The Heart that Gives, Gathers.”
Dr Rampersad’s will continue efforts at engagement through heritage in Toronto, Canada in May at the Erin View Residence Hall from 1 pm on May 13 2018 where she will speak on Mothers, Motherlands and MotherCultures, and at Windies Restaurant, Scarborough Toronto from 3 pm on May 20 2018. For details and bookings, partnerships and sponsorships email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are viewing the world through mutlicultural lenses
Global education statistics suggest that boys lag behind in reading in a campaign #Don’tForgetTheBoys. The experiences of the boys of LiTTscapesare different. Our efforts look beyond the statistics and engage boys and girls of all ages to appreciate reading in novel ways through culture-specific forms as we promote inclusive societies. We are redefining multiculturalism to bridge the gaps between generations, between cultures, between genders and scaling walls that create inequity and discrimination through literacy and literary elderly and intergenerational appreciation. Our LiTTribute series re-tailor your events to suit your environment, inspired by LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction by Kris Rampersad, in partnership with global diasporas.
Following our LiTTributes To The Americas, the Republic, To LondonTTown, To the Mainland and To the Antilles, in our next chapter we being our LiTTributes to Toronto, in association with Zoomers Association and the Independent Newspaper of Canada on May 13, 2018 at the Erin View Residence Hall in Mississauga Toronto from 1 pm and at Windies Restaurant from 1 pm on May 20 2018 in association with the Independent Newspaper – voted the best digital newspaper by the Media Council of Canada and the National Ethnic Press. See images this page and contact our partners for bookings. Since our launch many mothers, fathers, guardians and community organisations who have come into contact with our initiative have commended our efforts. Ours is an all encompassing journey of Exploration, Entertainment, Education and Empowerment. …. find out more from our LiTTributes, LiTTscapes and LiTTours. Want to partner or sponsor an event, book a tour or purchase books for your schools or communities? Email email@example.com. Find us on social media: Twitte:r @lolleaves; Facebook: LiTTscapes Sharing some images of our engagement activities for your better understanding.
Join us at LiTTributes 2018 to find out more … Follow our Literary journeys: LiTTribute to the Americas LiTTribute to LondonTTown LiTTribute to the AnTTiles LiTTribute to the Mainland LiTTribute to the Republic…and more
Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago by Kris Rampersad is….
LiTTscapes offer Novel Approach to Sustainable Cultural Heritage Development & Education
LiTTscapes,a full colour compendium of Trinidad and Tobago as represented in its fictional literature against actual photographs of the landscapes, lifestyles and living heritage, has been acclaimed as a groundbreaking initiative to stimulate our nation “to heal our self-schisms”.
“No one book can set out to achieve everything that a text can do for its people and its nation; but whatever you say one book can’t do, this one almost does,” says head of the Guyana Prize for Literature and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana of LiTTscapes. It has also been hailed as a ‘labour of love’ in the Commonwealth Journal and ‘like a good fete” by Soca News UK.
LiTTscapeswas conceived as a mechanism for expanding appreciation of national heritage and engaging and connecting cultures, restoring self appreciation and esteem to peoples of all ages through creative synergies while focusing on sustainable development of the tourism, heritage and education sectors. LiTTscapesis a pictorial, yet encyclopaedic compendium of the lifestyles, landscapes, architecture, cultures, festivals and institutions of Trinidad and Tobago as represented in more than 100 fictional works by some 60 writers from earliest to modern times, including both award winning Nobel laureates as well as lesser known writers.
It has been ‘translated’ and transmitted through interactive interfaces, exposition and performance as LiTTributes and through tours that offer unique insights into public places called LiTTours – Journeys Through the Landscapes of Fiction.
LiTTributes have already been enacted at launches nationally and in the wider Caribbean and our diasporas, LiTTributes to the Republic in Trinidad and Tobago, LiTTributes to the Mainland in Guyana, LiTTribute to the Antilles staged in March in Antigua; LiTTribute to LondonTTown among others. Upcoming LiTTributes2018 will focus on the Americas.
Publication of LiTTscapeswhich is also associated with the LiTTours – Journeys Through the Landscapes of Fiction of Trinidad and Tobago,has been widely endorsed as an effective means of engaging the national and international communities in appreciating our built, natural and cultural heritage towards enhancing social and cultural development and diversification and all to promote literacy and heritage appreciation among youths from ages 3 to 103.
Acclaimed as a groundbreaking encyclopaedic yet coffee-table style compendium of the lifestyles, landscapes, architecture, cultures, festivals and institutions of the Caribbean as represented in more than 100 fictional works by some 60 writers, LiTTscapes is geared to stimulate interest in reading, literacy and connect the Caribbean with other continents through synergies with the creative sectors.
Stating that LiTTscapes, though easy to read, is not easy to describe “given its multi-tasking nature and its wide reach,” Head of the Guyana Prize for Literature Professor Al Creighton has called it “a work of art…a documentary, a travelogue, a critical work with visual and literary power.”
He said, “It is a quite thorough artistic concept…a portrait and biography of the nation of Trinidad and…is attractively, neatly and effectively designed.” He noted that it reflects “a considerable volume of reading ranging from…the dawn of Caribbean literature” in such early writings as of Walter Raleigh, through the 1930s period of literary awakening with the Beacon group, Alfred Mendes, CLR James and others, to present.
“It takes us on a tour of the country, giving some exposure to almost every aspect of life…no tourist guide can give a better, more comprehensive introduction to Trinidad. It entices and attracts just as the glossy tourist literature.
“Photographs of several sections of Port-of-Spain are accompanied by the descriptions and literary excerpts: this treatment is given to the capital city, other towns, streets, urban communities, villages, historic buildings and places, vegetation, animals, institutions, culture and landscape. There is considerable visual beauty, what Derek Walcott calls “visual surprise” in his Nobel Lecture; an impressive coverage of social history, geography, and politics, but also a strong literary experience. It is a survey of Trinidad’s landscape and of its literature.”
Creighton noted Rampersad “has done the painstaking work analogous to that of a lexicographer, of sorting out their several hundred references to her subjects…. with memorable passages of real literary criticism” capturing the writings of VS Naipaul, Ian McDonald, Michael Anthony and others.
He said, “Rampersad’s Littscapes does achieve an innovative approach to literature in bringing it alive in the description of landscape, life, culture and people. It encourages people to take ownership of it, see themselves, their home or familiar places in it and accept it as a definer of identity.”
LiTTscapes is associated with customized LiTTours – Journeys Through the Landscapes of Fiction.
LiTTours – bring these ‘scapes’ to reality through interactive engagement with the national landscape. LiTTours are available on request and along any subject, theme or location route related to user interest as entrepreneours, investors, industrialists or general cultural enthusiasts and have been held for Carifesta and the jubilee year of Independence through the capital and other cities and across the East, West, North, Central and South Trinidad and Tobago.
LiTTributes are events that blend holistic appreciation for Trinidad and Tobago in the many dimensions of built, natural and cultural heritage with literary and creative talents of its people, as well as to connect the Trinidad and Caribbean diasporas with our international communities.
The first LiTTribute to the Republic took place in Trinidad and Tobago in commemoration of the Jubilee year of Independence, hosted by the First Lady of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Jean Ramjohn Richards and the author of LiTTscapesat the 19th century Knowsley Building in Trinidad’s capital and the August 2012 launch of LiTTscapes at White Hall – one of Trinidad and Tobago’s Magnificent Seven buildings.
LiTTribute to the Mainland, Guyana – February 2013: in collaboration with Heritage building, Moray House and Guyana Drama Guild (dances & performances)
LiTTribute to the Antilles/ Antigua March 2013 (young poets, Antigua Museum)
LiTTribute to LondonTTown, 2013 (BBC, Commonwealth Foundation, filmmaker and writers)
LiTTribute to AuTThors, UNESCO, Paris 2015;
LiTTribute to Los Conquistadores, Barcelona Spain 2015
LiTTribute to the Americas, Florida, April 2018
LiTTribute to ToronTTo, Canada, May 2018
Dr Kris Rampersad is an international sustainable development, UNESCO facilitator, journalist and educator in Caribbean literature, culture and heritage. She is a founding member and director of the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, the Arts and Tourism and promotes literacy and literary appreciation through various endeavours as Leaves of Life.
For more than three decades she has been actively involved in interactive futuring, analysing, assessing, critiquing and defining the development agenda for Caribbean societies through its cultural forms, educating communities and leveraging the international community.