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The December 2017 edition of Miami Art Week had over 100,000 visitors converging on the festivities and also saw Kasseem "Swizz Beatz" Dean's visual and performing arts platform, No Commission, back for the second time, under the theme 'a celebration of Island Might'.

Helmed by Jamaica-born curatorial director Nicola Vassell, the showcase featured 30 artists from the United States and the Caribbean. There were also talks and performances highlighting issues concerning the creative economy and development of young artists in an increasingly diverse marketplace with nuanced systems of inclusion and meritocracy.

Founded by Dean, No Commission was created as a platform to allow visual artists the opportunity to exhibit and sell their art in a global environment directly to an audience of established and new collectors with no commissions or percentages of the sale taken from any sales.

"The Dean Collection and No Commission are two different things: the Dean Collection is my personal collection, a museum I want to create for my kids, so all the works that belong to the Dean Collection we never sell," he said.

Dean added that the concept was something he wished to do himself and only reluctantly accepted corporate sponsorship once the rules of engagement with the artist remaining top priority remained intact.

"I came up with this whole idea, and I was going to build it out myself. Then Bacardi reached out and said they wanted to be a part of it," he said. "Since then, we've given over $3 million dollars directly into artists' pockets and got billions of impressions as we've travelled the world, and Nicola has been my partner laying this thing down."

Dean admits that it was with some scepticism on the part of the existing gallery/artist system that his project came to fruition.

"Coming to Miami, we wanted to focus on that diasporic element with the islands," said Vassell. "Effectively when we travel with No Commission, we try to talk to the city where we are coming to ... we try to identify youth culture there and look at what the artists are communicating themselves and what they are focused on in that city."

In partnership with Bacardi rum, No Commission has travelled to six cities in four countries. eight of the artists featured in Miami were from Jamaica: including RenÈe Cox, Ebony G Patterson, Leasho Johnson, Di Andre Caprice Davis, and Phillip Thomas.

Category Arts and Culture

There is no longer a tsunami threat for the Caribbean and Central America after a magnitude-7.6 earthquake struck 27 miles (43 kilometers) off the coast of Honduras, the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said Wednesday.

Waves reaching 0.3 to 1 meter above the tide level had been possible, but the agency said the threat had passed.

The earthquake struck east of Great Swan Island, Honduras, at the relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometers, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

Juan Jose Reyes, Director of Early Warning Systems of the Honduran disaster prevention agency COPECO, had urged people from low-lying coastal areas, especially the small offshore Islas de la Bahía islands to seek refuge, particularly if the tide suddenly is drawn out -- a telltale sign that a tsunami is imminent. 

"If you notice that the (sea) disappears, you have to go to (a) high place," he said at a briefing with reporters in the capital Tegucigalpa.

"Pay attention to the alerts, to the authorities." He said the warning was not intended to increase panic but rather "to inform (people) objectively so that measures can be taken."

Other residents of the Belizian city were evacuating to inland areas in case the tsunami hit, Silvino Riverol, a resident of the inland town of Orange Walk told CNN. 

"They going to Belmopan City towards the west which is high elevation and inland. I went to try to get video of the sea but the Police stopped me from going farther into the city."

He said that his area was not at risk but others had been advised to evacuate their homes. 

"I live in Orange Walk Town so we are safe and away from the coast. It's mostly the folks from (Belize City) and southern coastal towns that are being told to evacuate by NEMO (the National Emergency Management Organization). 

"My family from the city say the sea seems to be drying up. So I'm guessing that the water will return."

Tsunamis can travel over 800 kilometers per hour (500 miles) at the deepest point of the water, but they slow as they near the shore, eventually hitting the shore at around 30 to 50 kph (20 to 30 mph). The energy of the wave's speed is transferred to height and sheer force as it nears shore.

In recent years, tsunamis have been responsible for significant numbers of deaths and environmental destruction.

Experts have uncovered a vast array of mysterious pre-Columbian rock art in the caves of a remote uninhabited Caribbean island.

Archaeologists explored around 70 cave systems on Puerto Rico’s Mona island. The thousands of designs, created centuries ago, comprise the largest concentration of indigenous pre-Columbian rock art in the Caribbean, according to experts.

A paper, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, describes the incredible art in the labyrinthine cave network, spanning human, animal and “meandering” designs. While some of the designs are painted or drawn, others have been scratched with fingers into the soft walls of the cave, a similar technique to that used in the Palaeolithic rock art of Southern Europe.

“Most of the work we have identified in this scientific study is done during an intense period of indigenous activity in the caves between AD1200 and European arrival after AD1492,” explained Dr. Jago Cooper, curator of the Americas at the British Museum, who worked on the paper.

rock art cave

n an email to Fox News, Cooper explained that the indigenous population in the Caribbean likely numbered in the millions when Europeans arrived. “On Mona they might be described as Taino, a name given to the indigenous population living in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola at this time,” he added.

In addition to the British Museum, the University of Leicester in the U.K., the British Geological Survey and Cambridge University all worked on the cave project. Students from the U.K. and Puerto Rico carrying out dissertations in climate science, archaeology and history also participated.

The rock art offers a fascinating glimpse into Mona’s forgotten Taino population. As a result of European raids, most of the indigenous population on Mona is thought to have died or fled the island by the end of the 16th century.

rock art 2

“Scientific analyses from the team have provided the first dates for rock art in the Caribbean - illustrating that these images are pre-Columbian made by artists exploring and experimenting deep underground,” said Dr. Alice Samson, lecturer in archaeology at the University of Leicester, who co-authored of the paper, in a statement.

Cooper told Fox News that the Taino people snorted a drug called Cohoba, which is the ground seeds of the cojobana tree, as part of their religious rites. While the drug was not necessarily used by the cave artists, it was likely used by their leaders, according to Cooper.

“Cohoba was a powerful hallucinogenic drug taken by Taino caciques (chiefs) or spiritual leaders to help facilitate engagement with the spiritual world,” he said. “We also know that caves are spiritual domains as the Taino have an origin myth that their people emerged from a cave called Cacibajagua.”

The paper published in the Journal of Archaeological Science is the result of research undertaken between 2013 and 2016. The Mona fieldwork was funded by National Geographic.

Category Arts and Culture

Miami Broward Carnival - 2017

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