Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Toronto Caribbean Carnival Media Launch

This afternoon at the Ontario Science Centre, a media launch was held for the 46th Toronto Caribbean Carnival.

A few highlights that were announced included:
  1. A New Parade Route: The normal staging area will be occupied. As such a new route is being determined. The new route was described to be longer and allow for easier viewing
  2. New to Toronto Carnival: The Junior Parade and Soca Show. The Junior parade will have a revised route and will end with a calypso competition for children
  3. Revenues raised at the Toronto Caribbean Carnival events will be donated to four community charities, which include: 
    • Children's Breakfast Club
    • The Caribbean Children's Foundation
    • Prostate Cancer Canada
    • The Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario
  4.  Scotiabank has extended their sponsorship of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival for 3 more years to 2015
  5. A connection between mas and science was highlighted. With respect to the creation of mas, there is underlying principles of engineering and mathematics that goes into executing the designs. The Ontario Science Centre Award for Innovation in Mas will recognize innovation in costume design. It was nice to hear recognition was given to past recipients of this award
  6.  The Festival Management Committee has provided five scholarships to highschool students that will attend Seneca College next year
  7. Curtis Eustace is Toronto Carniva's new Parade Manager 
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Feature- Kente Kreations

By: Chidi Nicole (@BangBangsTheory)

*UPDATED 5/22/2013*

Looking for some accessories to brighten your summer wardrobe? We sat down with custom accessory designer Devonna Munroe to speak about her line Kente Kreations and her hopes to “kentify” Toronto!

TheCollabo Blog (TCB): Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started Kente Kreations?

Kente Kreations (KK):  I am Guyanese-Canadian.  I grew up here in Toronto, but I’ve always had a strong connection to my Guyanese culture.  I recognized early that Toronto has a large African/Caribbean community but it seemed somewhat fragmented. I created Kente Kreations as a means to start a conversation, or rather keep the conversation going about African/Carribbean culture and values in Canada. I want to connect the diaspora with Kente Kreations.

As far the creative spark that began this journey, I would say it was around the time my fiancé brought me back some beautiful kente fabrics from Antigua. I just wanted to wrap it around everything! So I did just that. I started putting the fabrics around old jewelry and it just kind of took on a life of its own.

TCB: What kind of pieces do you make? Where does the inspiration for each piece come from?
KK: I make a wide range of accessories including bangles, buttons earrings, wood chains, rings, bowties, hair accessories.
I name my pieces based on the prominent traits in the fabric. So the name Fire Kente comes from the fact that the red colour is so dominant, and I associate the colour red with fire. In traditional kente fabric each colour has a particular meaning and different patterns have a particular purpose. The fabric I use to make my accessories isn't Kente fabric, but the pattern shares some similarities with traditional Ghanaian Kente. The concept of Kente goes beyond the fabric for me. It represents black creativity and expression. The fact that the fabric is hand woven and so much meaning is inherent in each pattern is amazing to me. I made a pink piece called “Chisandra” inspired by a friend dealing with cancer. 


“fire kente”

TCB: Which is your favourite thus far?

KK: My favourite pieces are my bangles because they were the first pieces I began making and also because they are such a statement piece. They are come in so many different colours. They can be paired for a colourful kind of arrangement or a more monochromatic style—they can be dramatic or dressed down! 

TCB: Now that kente cloth/materials have become somewhat mainstream, do you feel it has lost its cultural/historical significance as material that indicates social prestige and sophistication?

KK: That’s a good question! I think there is a struggle. On one hand you’re happy that people appreciate it (especially living in a Eurocentric society), but at the same time the story can get lost at that level of consumerism.  Often it is labelled as “tribal prints” in North American fashion/media.  That label doesn’t capture the true essence of Africa.  That is why I think it’s nice to be able to incorporate some of my pieces into outfits that might be considered more mainstream or North American styled.  It changes how you view kente fabric and its appropriateness.

TCB: What is your long term goal with Kente Kreations?

KK: I would like it to be a place of community. There are only pockets of this in Toronto. I’d also like to reiterate the education aspect of it. After doing a class on entrepreneurship at Toronto’s Africentric Alternative School, I was encouraged to make Kente Kreations a space that celebrates black creativity. In the future I’d like to do art shows that discuss the black identity.

TCB: How can people contact you to purchase your items?

KK: You can check out some of my items on www.getkentefied.tumblr.com . I also have a page dedicated for my more personal thoughts and reflections at www.datgyaldeh.tumblr.com. And of course, if you are interested in any of my pieces you can contact me directly at kentekreations@gmail.com.