|On Sunday December 13, 2020, the newest CaribbeanReads’ book, Traditional Masquerade of St. Lucia by June Frederick was launched in conjunction with the St. Lucia Folk Research Center. The virtual event highlighted was hosted on Zoom and attendees were treated to a compelling description of the importance of St. Lucia’s masquerades.
The moderator spoke of the dearth of books on the topic. Three Youth in Arts (YIA) masqueraders gave impassioned accounts of their experiences with St. Lucia masquerade and the reasons they loved it. The first YIA member to speak was inspired by the history of the masquerade’s African roots and the fact that the performances were one form of non-violent resistance by enslaved people. Another member spoke of how taking part in the masqueraders helped her to become well-rounded and more open to ideas.
|The author, June Frederick spoke of her passion for championing St. Lucia’s traditional masquerade. She pointed out that the only way to truly appreciate our cultural art forms is to understand them, and that children learn when they enjoy what they are being taught. This means that by publishing a book that explores the traditional masquerades and gives instructions on how it can be performed, she has provided an avenue for teachers to engage their students in the performance of the masquerade and thereby generate excitement and love for the art.|
|Artist, Alwyn St. Omer, whose work is featured in the book and on the cover was present. He spoke of the richness which the traditional masquerade adds to St. Lucia’s Christmas. This tradition has all but disappeared and he joins with Frederick in supporting its revival. Jonathan Gladding’s work is also featured in the resource book.
The event was also attended by Mrs. Frederick’s family and Dr. Didacus Jules, the Director General of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, who spoke about the role of literature in generating national pride.