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Asia Times | McQueen bares his art and soul

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Oscar-winning British director Steve McQueen is returning to his art roots with a series of short films at London’s Tate Modern art gallery, offering a sensory exploration of black identity.

McQueen, who became the first black director to win the best picture Academy Award in 2014 for 12 Years a Slave, is now based between London and Amsterdam and is focused on championing diversity in the film industry.

Visitors to his new exhibition will be greeted by Static, a film of New York’s Statue of Liberty, scrutinizing the iconic symbol from every possible angle at a very close range against a deafening backdrop of the helicopter from where the footage was filmed.at

“What interests Steve is our view of the world, how humans are trying to represent Liberty,” said Fiontan Moran, an assistant curator of the exhibition.

7th Nov, 2001 features a still shot of a body while McQueen’s cousin Marcus tells of how he accidentally killed his brother, a particularly traumatic experience for the artist.

Western Deep is another visceral work, giving a sense through sights and sounds in an interactive installation of the experiences of miners in South Africa, following them to the bottom of the mine.

Ashes, meanwhile, is a tribute to a young fisherman from Grenada, the island where McQueen’s family originated.

The images of beauty and sweetness filmed from his boat are tragically reversed on the other side of the projection screen, which shows a grave commissioned by McQueen for the eponymous young fisherman, who was killed by drug traffickers.

African-American singer, actor and civil rights activist Paul Robeson (1898-1976) is honored in End Credits.

The film shows censored FBI documents detailing the agency’s surveillance of Robeson, read by a voice-over artist, for five hours.

“He is… testing the limits of how people can be documented in an era of mass surveillance,” said Moran.

In a similarly militant vein, the exhibition features the sculpture Weight, which was first shown in the prison cell where the writer and playwright Oscar Wilde was imprisoned.

It depicts a golden mosquito net draped over a metal prison bed frame, addressing the theme of confinement and the power of the imagination to break free.

The show runs alongside an exhibition of McQueen’s giant portraits of London school classes, many of which appeared on the streets of London last year.

“I remember my first school trip to Tate when I was an impressionable eight-year-old, which was really the moment I gained an understanding that anything is possible,” said McQueen, adding it was “where in some ways my journey as an artist first began.”

He recently told the Financial Times newspaper the difference between his art films and his feature films was that the former were poetry, the latter like a novel. “Poetry is condensed, precise, fragmented,” he said. “The novel is the yarn.”

• The exhibition in London opens on February 13 and runs until May 11.

– AFP

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Embassy of Grenada presented tropical seeds to Russia’s Apothecary Garden

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On 25 February 2020, the Apothecary Garden hosted a colourful ceremony where the Embassy of Grenada presented seeds of Grenada’s national flower, which were a part of the display that won the largest flower contest RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The Apothecary Garden, founded in 1706, by decree of Peter the Great, is the oldest botanical garden in Russia. With a history of 314 years, the Apothecary Garden is the most exotic corner of wildlife in the centre of Moscow, on Mir Prospect. Today it is one of the most pleasant places in the city to relax, where at the same time you can find palm trees, Japanese carps, cats of royal blood, sunbathing turtles and blooming sakura.

Grenada’s national flower, the Bougainvillea (Nyctaginaceae) is a genus of woody climbers. Bougainvilleas are widely-grown and are popular tropical vines whose main attractions are very colourful bracts or leaves. These bracts are mistaken by many as the flowers of the plant because of their prominence. The flowers are actually the trumpet-like, small, white and inconspicuous items surrounded by the bracts. Each cluster of three flowers has three to six bracts surrounding them.

The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Grenada to the Russian Federation, His Excellency Oleg Firer, presented the seeds of Grenada’s national flower to the city of Moscow through the Apothecary Garden. This flower was a part of the display that won the largest floral contest, RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2019. Grenada has already won 15 gold medals at this contest. Last year’s theme was called, “Carnival of Exotic Tropical Flowers.” This bougainvillea will be a magnificent addition to the collection of the Apothecary Garden, which contains the most striking examples of the world’s flora.

Actor Steven Seagal, Anna Danilova, the municipal parliamentarian of the Meshchansky district, and Lynessa Griffith, cultural attaché of the Embassy of Grenada, also attended the flower presentation ceremony. The director of the Apothecary Garden, municipal deputy Aleksey Reteyum, hosted the ceremony.

This colourful event opened the new season on a sunny Moscow day.

Embassy of Grenada to Russia

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Letter to Grenada Bar Association re Imminent closure of Supreme Court Registry

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27 February 2020

Ms Lisa Taylor
President
Grenada Bar Association

Dear Mme President,

Re: Imminent Shut Down of Supreme Court Registry

Permit me to extend to you, the Executive and members of the Grenada Bar Association greetings and best wishes. Please be advised that I write this letter in my personal, individual capacity.

Thank you for your above-referenced Press Release which alerted we the people to the “imminent shut down” of the Supreme Court Registry, which “has come about as action is required to immediately address dangerous environmental conditions at the building housing the registry”. Your letter has noted the following:

  • Issues affecting a vital part of Grenada’s legal system had been allowed to escalate to the point of crisis.
  • Those responsible for addressing the problems had failed to give an adequate and timely response.
  • Relocation had now been thrust upon the registry. Such relocation could have been planned and executed in a controlled way. Instead, there was a chaotic and haphazard reaction guaranteed to cause tremendous disruption to lawyers and the public.

What precipitated the “imminent closure” decision? To what location is the Registry being relocated? How can the Registry be closed with such scant notice to the Grenada Bar Association and the general public? And what about the security and accessibility of these precious records now in the Registry? Are our records safe? While relocation must be welcome news to the staff and other stakeholders affected by the environmental and health problems, what is the real reason for this precipitate decision?

It may be useful to recall that about one year ago, we the people became aware of the call for Expressions of Interest to undertake a Build, Own, Lease and Transfer (BOLT) arrangement re York House which was to become a Knowledge Centre and Museum, according to the advertisement. Is the “new owner” ready to take possession and build? And if there is a new owner via BOLT, what is the identity of that owner? By what process was the “new owner” selected? 

Permit me to observe, Mme President of the Bar, that this latest action re the precipitate shut down and relocation of the Supreme Court Registry – the engine of our Judicial System – is just another symptom of the new normal in Grenada with respect to the Judiciary, the third co-equal arm of Grenada’s governance arrangements – a lack of consideration and respect for its proper functioning. This is UNACCEPTABLE. The Judiciary is essential to maintaining the rights and freedoms of our citizens and protecting the rule of law. Members of the legal profession are important guardians of the effective, efficient and honourable functioning of our Judiciary and I urge members of the Grenada Bar to not only be lawyers but to BE CITIZENS.

Thank you once again for bringing the matter of closure of the Supreme Court Registry to the attention of we the people. This is a VERY unsettling matter and we look forward to being kept updated about progress on this matter including the security and safety of our records and the resettling of the Registry staff in an appropriate, secure, safe and comfortable environment.

Kind regards!
Sandra C A Ferguson

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Prime Minister reiterates COVID-19 not present in Grenada

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As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact a growing number of countries around the world, Prime Minister, Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, has reiterated that the disease is not present in Grenada.

Speaking publicly Tuesday, Dr Mitchell said, “We have no coronavirus (COVID-19) in our country at this point in time. God help us that we continue to have none of it.”

Having just attended the 31st Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Caricom Heads of Government where the coronavirus outbreak was a major talking point, Dr Mitchell said, “the entire Caribbean region reported that it is not present in any of the islands. Remember, if there is one incident of the virus in any country, they say the Caribbean and we can all get hurt.”

According to the communique coming out of the recent Caricom meeting, leaders “recognised that the risk of transmission of the virus in the region remains relatively low but that an outbreak could reverse economic gains of Caricom States.”

The continuing spread of the disease remains a concern and Dr Mitchell said, “This is an issue that we have to be prepared for in every respect, not just Grenada, but all countries in the Caribbean. At the recent Inter-Sessional Meeting of Caricom Heads of Government, this was an issue of concern for all leaders, particularly as it relates to misinformation.”

He added, “Sometimes information shared gives the impression that we have the coronavirus (Covid-19) around us already, causing persons to be overly sceptical about people of Chinese origin. When we have issues like that, we do not need propaganda or misinformation because it affects every single one of us. There are some issues that should not divide us. There are enough issues for us to have differences on and to score points one way or the other, but there are others, like health issues that we should all be on one platform.”

The Prime Minister urged persons to desist from spreading false information and he reiterated comments made earlier this month at independence celebrations about working together to face challenges. He said, “We have to be careful, you never know what will meet us tomorrow. Our country has faced problems in the past and we had friends regionally and internationally who supported us.”

The Ministry of Health and the Grenada Airports Authority continue to strictly enforce mandatory screening and other emergency protocols to help mitigate against the potential spread of the disease.

As of 26 February 2020, the World Health Organisation is reporting the presence of COVID-19 in 37 countries, with more than 81,000 cases recorded around the world.

Office of the Prime Minister

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