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Women Highlight Trinidad And Tobago Independence in Washington

September 1, 1998

As Trinidad and Tobago celebrated its 36th independence anniversary on Monday, nationals in the Washington, D.C. area had a chance to join in at an exhibition that opened at the Organization of American States (OAS), showcasing the contributions women from that country have made to development in the hemisphere.

Ambassador Michael A. Arneaud, the permanent representative to the OAS, opened the exhibition to scores of guests at the OAS art gallery who saw art works by three Trinidad and Tobago women--Vera Baney, Nina Squires and Katherine Williams.

In his welcome, the ambassador recalled that Trinidad and Tobago was the first English-speaking Caribbean country to join the OAS and used the independence affair to renew the republic=s commitment to making Athe dream of a unified hemisphere a reality.

Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, in a message presented by the ambassador, hailed the featured artists, saying their works Atell a tale of female creativity and convey the beauty of spirit of our women.

On display were paintings, drawings, ceramic sculptures and others artistic creations--some 62 pieces in all--by the three women. Their works brought vivid image and colour to the week=s events, celebrating diverse aspects of Trinidad and Tobago life.

Along with these, a 136 page photo essay book was also launched: AReturn to Kairi: A Trinidad and Tobago Journey.@ It features things from the world-famous Trinidad Carnival to rural life. AKairi@ was the indigenous name of what Columbus re-baptized as Trinidad. Nigel Campbell, the book=s editor, was on hand for the launch and said he was very encouraged at the upbeat response to the book, which contains photos shot by Trinidad-based Cyan Studios.

The OAS= Trinidad and Tobago-born assistant secretary general, Ambassador Christopher R. Thomas, was presented a copy of the book, for the Columbus Memorial Library. Ambassador Thomas paid his own tribute to the two-island republic: AThe Spanish, French and English influences from its colonial history have combined with the African, Amerindian and East Indian traditions to promote an energetic, colorful and uniquely Caribbean culture.

All this unfolded against a backdrop of live steel pan music compliments of the David Boothman-directed Caje Trio, as guests feasted on delectable Trinidadian hors d=oeuvres. Among Trinidad and Tobago corporations recognized for their assistance in mounting the exhibition were Telecommunication Services of TNT, Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation, ENRON Corporation, and Caribbean ISPAT Ltd.

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