PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The Department of Culture within the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (MECYS) enthusiastically supports art initiatives that not only serve to entertain, but also aid to educate and bring about awareness. On Tuesday, December 10th, 2019 at the National Institute of Arts (NIA) at the John Larmonie Centre, in Studio 1, the Department of Culture cordially invites the St. Maarten general public to the premier of “The Challenge”, a short film about domestic violence.
The film is directed by Mr. Joel Ayuk of CaniTV, a service he executed upon the request of the Safe Haven Foundation to mark November, Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The film stars only local actors such as Ms. Rita Gumbs and Mr. Earl Duzong. According to Department Head, Ms. Clara Reyes, “the film is a testament and confirmation that there are impeccably talented artists among us on the island and this should be celebrated.” Mr Ayuk also directed two separate music videos for the occasion that also features local talent; 2017 Calypso Queen Empress Z with her single “Enough is Enough” and R&B singer Kevin Lyrics with his song “Revealing”, both addressing the issue of domestic violence.
These two videos will be premiered as well on December 10th. After the film, there will be a short discussion about art and social impact facilitated by anti-violence activist, and former Executive Director of Safe Haven, Cassandra Richardson, which will include feedback from artists involved in working together to address a social cause.
Every year on December 10th Human Rights Day is observed by the international community. It commemorates the day in 1948 when the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Ms. Reyes stated, “Domestic Violence and violence against women is a widespread international human rights violation that many communities around the world experience and many communities also combat. The Department of Culture wishes to show its support of equity, equality and social justice through inviting the St. Maarten public for an art experience where we can learn together as a community.” The event is free. It is requested that you please arrive on time as seating is limited.