FRC Celebrates 50th Anniversary

In 2023, the Msgr Patrick Anthony Folk Research Centre celebrated its 50th anniversary in a number of ways. These included the 2023 Kwéyòl Cultural Calendar, a commemorative issue of Lucian Kaiso magazine, a cultural exchange with Caribbean Yard Campus which included a Koudmen at Plas Sesenne, and the honouring of Kwéyòl media personalities through Swawé Nouvèl èk Listwa.

On January 30th, the FRC joins the Nobel Laureate Festival 2024 for one of the final events of its year-long observances. This will take place at the Anglican Annexe, Trinity Church Road. The Annexe is the old schoolroom of many well-known citizens including Nobel laureate Sir William Arthur Lewis.

Minister of Health Hon Moses JnBaptiste, a former member of the FRC’s Board, will address the gathering, putting into context the FRC’s major contributions to the cultural, educational and social life of Saint Lucia. Ms. Rhyesa Joseph the Executive Director and founder Msgr Patrick Anthony are also expected to address the gathering.

While the FRC has always supported the recognition and continuing development of the traditional cultures of Saint Lucia in many areas including traditional performing and celebratory arts, religion, food, koudmen, it has also paid attention to more recent forms of cultural expressions like the Rastafari movement, carnival and calypso. Over the years it has produced several publications and audio-visual programs recording the traditional and contemporary arts and culture. The FRC was the creator of the most popular traditional festival in Saint Lucia today, Mwa Éwitaj Kwéyòl (Creole Heritage month), with its highlight of Jounen Kwéyòl in October.

The contemporary performing, visual and literary arts have consistently received support from the FRC. Major iconic figures like Harold Simmons, Sesenne Descartes, Dunstan St. Omer, Nobel laureate Derek Walcott, Luther Francois, violinist Rameau Poleon and performing groups like Manmay Lakay have been part of FRCs activities from its beginning. In former Nobel laureate festivals, its former venue at Mount Pleasant was a meeting place for lectures and other arts activities, including exhibitions.

At the event on January 30th, FRC will also host the book launch of a new publication by Saint Lucian poet John Robert Lee. The collection of poems titled IKONS is co-published by the FRC and Lee’s Mahanaim imprint. This book is Lee’s contribution to FRCs 50th anniversary. Lee has been a member of the FRC for many years and has worked with the FRC in various capacities including as its librarian, publications editor and education director.

Lee and the FRC have proposed that proceeds from the sale of the new book will go to help needy artists. Details of this will be announced more fully later.

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