Painting Pictures With Words - August 22 2005
Painting Pictures With Words
By the way, I do not speak of the abundance of natural beauty that has earned
our island, the title “Helen of the West Indies”. Neither do I speak of our
flora and fauna, our sandy beaches or our abundance of hospitality, nor do I
speak of our World Heritage Site (The Pitons), or the St. Lucia Jazz Festival.
No, it’s not about bananas, coconuts or mangoes. Instead, I speak of our
abundance of literary talent.
First among those I wish to recall today are the trailblazers – those
magazines that set the pace and have stood the test of time.
She Caribbean is a magazine at the top of its class. As a publication
specializing in issues about women and by women, it features articles that offer
interesting angles on social issues. It even explores sensitive subjects such as
masculinity and infidelity. Its features range from marriage to motherhood, from
beauty to body talk and from profiles to portraits. As with Tropical Traveller,
the images in She Caribbean feature the work of some of our best nature and
fashion photographers on the island and in the region. Indeed, “She” over the
years became “She Caribbean”, reflecting more regional images and topics of
interests to our regional community. Both Tropical Traveller and She Caribbean
are published by the Star Publishing Company, a local company which has itself
also expanded in all directions since 1997.
But it is not only in tourism promotion that our writers, photographers and
printers shine. This is also true of the business community, which has for
several years been the focus of a publication entitled Business Focus. Now in
its 30th issue, this magazine is produced six times a year by Advertising and
Marketing Services (AMS), the same company behind Paradise St. Lucia. It offers
features on Finance and Banking, Human Resources, Management, Technology, Trade,
Travel & Tourism, Advertising and Marketing. This magazine for and by the
business community, features who’s doing what, where and how in the private
sector. It also features a section called “Government in Focus”, which
highlights government initiatives of interest to the private sector. But one
popular section of the magazine is that which features New Company Registrations
– a veritable guide to who’s going into what business -- and with whom.
The Home Companion was published by Alwyn St. Omer and edited by Vincent
Lewis and was presented six times a year and was published in collaboration with
the Winmark Group – a subsidiary of the Cimpex Group of Companies -- with the
objective of promoting self-improvement, healthy lifestyles and family values.
It looked at art and culture, history, fashion, cooking, home-making, consumer
interests and national consciousness. Like Living Today, Home Companion also
seems to have been shelved – and hopefully just for a while as well.
Island Where is a relatively new publication published by the local
advertising and public relations firm, Right Angle Imaging. This publication,
which is published by a local company headed by veteran broadcaster Barbara
Jacobs-Small, is aimed at the Eastern Caribbean traveller. It contains articles,
features and photography with a regional appeal. It is circulated not only in
St. Lucia but also in other islands such as Dominica, Barbados, St. Kitts and
Nevis and St. Vincent. It receives rave reviews from regional tourism officials
and travel consultants and its contributors span topics that range from island
happenings to regional realities.
But while some of those I have just mentioned may have gone into hibernation,
there is one interesting publication -- by professionals – that has set the
stage here for professionals of a particular discipline to raise public interest
in what they do and to explain and interact with others about the nature of
their profession. I speak here about Insight, the official publication of the
local Association of Professional Engineers. This publication is glossy and
visually gripping. It is delivered to you in real class. It is individually
addressed in transparent plastic wrapping, and so makes those who receive copies
feel they were personally designated recipients. Edited by Shanta King and
published by the association of local engineers, Insight plays a great part in
getting regular persons to better understand the issues that confront those in
the world of professional engineering.
I want to make special mention here of a publication that is not a periodic
magazine, but which has made and continues to make a great contribution to the
presentation of St. Lucia as a destination worth visiting by tourists in search
of that one place they never discovered. I speak of a special publication
published by an investor group that has certainly dropped anchor in St. Lucia’s
waters. I speak here of a photo magazine simply called “The Land, The People and
The Light.” It was published as a result of a special initiative by Doubloon
International, the developers behind Discovery at Marigot Bay, the project that
aims to change the face of St. Lucia’s most sheltered Hurricane Hole. John and
Judith Verity, with the help of Molly Mac Daniel, secured the services of one of
the best photographers in Britain to come to St. Lucia to photograph images of
St. Lucia and compile them into a single picture portrait – a veritable photo
album – of the people and places in the land they chose to invest in. The
photographs are virtually alive and the characters and places depicted each have
a story that is worth telling – and worth knowing.
But I cannot end this tribute to our writers, photographers and publishers
without highlighting what has been done from, in and of Vieux Fort. I speak here
of the publication called Jako, which is published by Jako Productions, a Vieux
Fort-based company headed by Dr Anderson Reynolds. Now in its second issue, this
is the publication which seeks to capture and present the works of those who
have laboured in the cultural and historic field. A published writer in his own
right, Anderson Reynolds has so far published two books, one of which has won
the M&C Fine Arts Award for literature. His books seek to capture moments of our
history and present them in language that is vivid and touching. The second
issue of Jako is out and, like the first edition, it seeks to paint a picture of
what we do, how we do it and why. The magazine seeks to expand our intellectual
boundaries, sometimes by exploring socio-political issues of emerging
significance. I will not pretend that I like Jako just because it is a Vieux
Fort product. But then, if you get and see the magazine and read and digest its
contents, you will undoubtedly agree with me that it is a renaissance magazine
that has lots of promise in its quest to highlight those aspects of St. Lucia’s
fascinating social and political history.
If I have sounded like I was reviewing some of our best publications so far,
it is not because I wanted to give you a school-based literature lesson. Rather,
it is because I wanted to acknowledge, in a sincere way, the contributions of
our writers, photographers, printers and publishers. Over the past eight years
they have laboured in the vineyards of the contemporary literary world to
produce words and images that feed our intellect and fill us with pride.
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