As St. Lucia celebrates its 35th anniversary of independence this year, its culture is about to get a big New York closeup. If you’ve ever wondered about the island’s literature, music, or art, this is definitely the moment to check it out. Upcoming festivities around New York commemorating the 35th anniversary of St. Lucia’s independence on Feb. 22 include concerts, lectures, an art exhibit at the St. Lucian embassy, and a black-tie gala.
The anniversary celebrations coincide with a revival of interest in one of the island’s most notable cultural figures, Derek Walcott. One of the most important creative voices to come out of the Caribbean in the 20th century, the 1992 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature has explored island life and post-colonial culture through plays, poetry, essays, and paintings. Walcott’s work is inspired by the natural and cultural beauty around him. In his words, “from the time I was a child I knew it was beautiful. If you go to a peak anywhere in St. Lucia, you feel a simultaneous newness and sense of timelessness at the same time—the presence of where you are. It’s a primal thing and it has always been that way.”