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The Caribbean Festival of Creative Arts (CARIFESTA) was conceived out of an appeal from a regional gathering of artists who were at the time participating in a Writers and Artists Convention in Georgetown, Guyana in 1970 and which coincided with Guyana’s move to Republican Status.

The three main considerations with regard to the staging of CARIFESTA were:

    the Festival should be inspirational and should provide artists with the opportunity
    to discuss among themselves techniques and motivations
    it should be educational in that the people of the Caribbean would be exposed to the values emerging from the various art forms
    and it should relate to people and be entertaining on a scale and in a fashion that would commend itself to the Caribbean people

The regional creative festival was first held in Georgetown, Guyana in 1972, attracting creative artistes from over 30 Caribbean and Latin American countries.

It is a celebration of the ethnic and racial diversity which separately and collectively created cultural expressions that are wonderfully unique to the Caribbean.

The cultural village life of CARIFESTA is intended to be a mixture of the States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM); the wider Caribbean, Latin America; and a representation of Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.

It is a vision of the peoples with roots deep in Asia, Europe and Africa, coming together to preform their art forms and embracing literature inspired by the Caribbean’s own peculiar temperament; paintings drawn from the awe inspiring tropical ecology; and the visionary inheritance of our forefathers

The symbol of the first CARIFESTA was a dark hand rising grasping the sun, depicting the skills and aspirations of the tropical man with talent untold.

CARIFESTA aims to:

    depict the life of the people of the Region, their heroes, morale, myth, traditions, beliefs, creativeness, and ways of expression
    show the similarities and differences of the people of the Caribbean generally
    create a climate in which art can flourish so that artists would be encouraged to return to their homeland; and
    awaken a regional identity in Literature

Ten years later, the occasion of CARIFESTA V which was held in Trinidad and Tobago in 1992 was a watershed event in the development and promotion of the arts and culture in the Region.

This exposition took on a new focus with linkages to the overall national programmes for the development of the arts and culture to ensure the complete harmonisation of objectives and effectiveness across the Region.