Participating embassies and audiences who attended the inaugural Latin Nights hosted by NALIS have called the initiative a huge success and are asking for more, soon.
Held from June 27 to July 03 at the National Library in Port of Spain, Latin Nights, a celebration of Latin American culture, arts, film and cuisine showcased various aspects of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Costa Rica and El Salvador. An exhibition showcasing artefacts of these countries was on display in the main exhibition space at the library.
In addition to the formalities, the opening night featured the documentary film by the Argentine Embassy titled Sintiendo a Piazzolla. The documentary focused on the life and work of the renowned Argentine tango musician and composer of the 20th century, Astor Piazzolla.
On June 28, Otavio Maia Chelotti, counsellor of the Embassy of Brazil in Port of Spain presented on the theme: “Audio Visual Spectacle: The Anthropophagic Urge: A Panorama of Brazilian Poetry.” This provided the audience with an historical panorama of the development of poetry in Brazil from its beginning up to the turn of this century. The presentation featured readings, video clips and recorded songs. The poems were read in Portuguese, with accompanying written translations in English.
Ancestral dances from Rapa Nui Island were performed in front of a packed amphitheatre by the dance group, Heruru o Te Vaikava (Roar of the Sea). The group is led by Ariel Zapata who is originally from a tiny Chilean island of Rapa Nui in the Pacific Ocean. This presentation put on by the Embassy of Chile on June 29 also featured a display of typical handcrafts, books and food from Rapa Nui.
The following evening, not a dry eye was seen after the Cuban Embassy’s showing of the feature drama film, ¨Habanastation.” Although subtitled in English, the audience was totally engrossed in the story which addressed inequalities through the relationship between two children of different social strata. This drama film was selected as the Cuban entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards.
Ambassador Lilly Edgerton of the Costa Rican Embassy in Port of Spain guided the audience through the steps to create decorative lanterns. Armed with paper glue, kite paper and recyclable items like plastic bottles and cups, children and adults crafted unique lanterns which they proudly held during the enactment of the traditional Costa Rican lantern parade at the National Library on July 01. In addition to the parade, both the young and not so young in attendance enjoyed storytelling, and songs and dances performed by students of the Rosewood Girls School.
The curtains came down on Latin Nights on July 03. The Embassy of El Salvador presented a photographic exhibition of Suchitoto, a colonial city of El Salvador famous for its colourful crafts and the movie Romero about the life and work of Archbishop Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero during the hard times of civil war in El Salvador. Popular El Salvadorian food was on sale.
Nalis thanks all the participating embassies, the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs for its support and the all persons who attended the events nightly. All are looking forward to Latin Nights 2018.