Farewell to CCA

ah cah stop falling
put me out of this town
Someone prop me up before meltdown
Before meltdown
I never Promised you a Clothes Garden, jointpop

The news that CCA7 will soon shut its doors struck me as a lot more significant than the nancy stories being concocted by the our so-called leaders in the face of the Ryder Scott report.
I mean, like duh.
There’s a reason why the rest of the world is getting all hot and sweaty about alternative energy.  And I’d like to believe in my heart of tree-hugging hearts that world leaders are finally heeding the words of what environmentalists and indigenous peoples have been saying for the past fifty or so years of scandalous explosions of industrialization and consumption.  But really it’s about the dollars and they know that the natural resources are running out.   Which is why they’re killing so many people in so many places.  Humans are collateral damage when it comes to
But I digress.   Really I wanted to talk about CCA7.
It’s a loss but it’s not the end.  Meanwhile the underground continues to flourish, in Alice Yard and at Songshine and De Mad Scene.  And hip hop events and dance music and fire spitting poets and graffiti art.
But like oil and gas determine so much of our destiny, how we treat our art stands to determine how another generation will consider us.
But the problem with CCA7 is the problem of Trinidad, in a way.
It never seemed that CCA7 understood who or what it really was.  And maybe it was lack of real funding or maybe it was lack of real vision. Or maybe CCA7 suffered from that same malaise that affects everything else in Trinidad, even the artists.  A gross lack of self-confidence that stops us really from being what we’re supposed to be, whatever that is.  That stops us from daring to say things and daring to do things.
Every time I went to CCA7,  I wondered how an art space survives without engaging the surrounding community.  Not just of artists.
Plenty nights watching films inside of that warehouse and the stench of my own filth filtering into my consciousness
Plenty nights watching art and listening to police cars scream past and helicopter search lights looking and looking.
Plenty nights watching art that reflected what was going on just outside and none of the people there to actually see it.
But I suppose there is community and there is community.
But even the artist community is fragmented, for a place so small.
Artists for all their liberal thinking, are not immune to all the divisions fuelled by race and class and of course huge self-serving artist egos.
And every now and again there are these wank-ish sort of gatherings where lots of people get together and talk about how much they’ve suffered for their art.  Which is neither a good nor a bad thing, except that that’s all that really happens.
And we can all sit around and complain about who validates whom and who has access to the Minister of Culture and which artists have learned to play the teeth skinning, art selling game. Artists who themselves remain paranoid about that space that they fought dirty wars for.
And because there are few if any benevolent and guilty liberals who are willing to pass over their money to a bunch of hippy types to make art then we have a problem.
The only problem with that argument is that the story of our so called folk art is taking nothing and making something.
It makes me wonder what motivated people like Beryl Mc Burnie and she managed to build the Little Carib Theatre.   Without any big grants from foreign.  Or internet access.
It worries me that my generation seems incapable of doing many things that are sustainable.  That have more than a short appeal before fizzling out into nothing.  I guess it’s the time.  Everything is transient and shifting and changing too fast for us to develop attachments or feeling.  Too fast for you to ever feel nostalgic.   Too shallow for it to have a lasting memory.
Who, in fifty years will want to build monuments to what this generation has contributed?  What monuments are we leaving so that somebody will bother to remember us?

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