In the Leaureate’s Chair – final for 2016

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In the Leaureate’s Chair – final for 2016
Photos by Dawn French
Photos by Dawn French

Review by Jerry George

Last night, Mrs. June KIng Frederick stated she accepted the invitation to be in the Laureates’ Chair with some reservation because, as far as she was concerned, she had only published “a little book on masquerade”.

The Writer’s Forum persuaded her otherwise because, as they know, words have impact and her “little book” and the research that was revealed within were having a profound revival of the masquerade in St. Lucia.

Piti Kon Nou Piti details the historical aspects and cultural significance of the masquerade not only in St. Lucia, but in other parts of the Caribbean. It is also an activity book for children and a resource for parents and teachers, especially.

Mrs Frederick explained at length that masquerade was not a religious practice nor was it in competition with religion.

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She outlined the various characters of masquerade and the role they performed – dancers and street theatre performers – and the commanding role of the central character of masquerade, Papa Jab.

The audience at the final presentation of the Laureate’s Chair for 2016, held at the Castries Central library, were enthralled by this devlving into a cultural practise that many knew of because it has been around for decaded/generations, but many were unable, until now, to appreciate and decipher the true meaning of masquerade as a unique part of our culture.

Mrs. Frederick answered several questions; and the evening ended with a demonstration of music and masquerade dancing.

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