Movers & Shakers- January/ February 2004

Sir George Alleyne takes charge at UWI; Nadz brings rap back to Jamaica; Darrel Brown is the man to beat; Janine Antoni makes high-wire art; Daniel Prendergast does good science; and Nelly Stharre finds her Soul Country

Darrel Brown, Courtesy Trinidad Publishing CompanyDr Franklyn Pendergast. Photo courtesy Dr Franklyn G. PendergastJanine Antoni. Photo courtesy Janine AntoniNadz. Photo courtesy NadzNelly Stharre. Photo courtesy Nelly StharreSir George Alleyne. Photo by Ray Chen

Sir George in charge

47 years ago, Barbadian George Alleyne was one of the first medical graduates
of the University College of the West Indies, forerunner of the University
of the West Indies. He later joined UWI’s faculty, then served as a senior
Pan-American Health Organisation official. In 1995, Alleyne (by now Sir George)
became PAHO director. In 2003, he succeeded Sir Shridath Ramphal as chancellor
of UWI, returning to the institution where he began his career. Last October,
Alleyne reminded recent graduates of their responsibility to “contribute
to the welfare of the society that has made the University possible” — a
responsibility he continues to fulfil with passion. PS

Homegirl

“I rap because I can’t sing,” jokes Kingston-based rapper Nadz. Jamaican
loyalists may question her choice of genre, but there’s no joking about the
buzz Nadirah “Nadz” Seid generates.  She has two European tours behind
her, a single on the Tomb Raider II soundtrack, and two upcoming albums
— just one year after being discovered by the Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart at
the 2002 Caribbean Music Expo. “Jamaicans shouldn’t be limited to reggae
and dancehall,” says Nadz. “Rap started in Jamaica . . . I’m just bringing
it back home.” KM

Catch him if you can

Darrel Brown’s 100-metre performance at the 2003 World Athletic Championships
in Paris was one of those rare events you can truly call jaw-dropping. Just
18 at the time, the young Trinidadian first won his quarter-final heat in
a blistering world junior record time of 10.01 seconds, before capturing
the silver medal in the final, leaving many of the world’s best in his wake.
“It was a very close race,” he said “I’m very proud. If everything goes according
to plan, I will look to be in the [Olympic] final next year.” His rivals
have been warned. DK

High-wire art

Two huge steel reels dominated the gallery, a strand of rope stretched
between them. Janine Antoni climbed out onto the rope, arms extended. She
balanced for ten minutes before falling into a 4,000-pound pile of hemp,
leaving an impression that became part of the sculpture. Born in the Bahamas,
Antoni intrigues the New York art world with works balancing between performance
art and sculpture — from self-portraits carved from chocolate (with her teeth)
to a blanket woven in a pattern recording her own brainwaves. With her new
work To Draw a Line, she makes her clearest statement yet about the
high-wire act involved in every work of art. PS

Medicine man

Chemistry and biophysics of bioluminescence. Spectroscopic determination
of the structure, dynamics, and function of proteins. Mastery of these tongue-twisting
fields has earned Dr Franklyn Prendergast another entry on his already stellar
resume. The veteran Jamaican scientist, director of the prestigious Mayo
Clinic Cancer Centre in Rochester, Minnesota, recently received the Institute
of Jamaica’s Musgrave Gold Medal for his contributions to science. “The Musgrave
clearly is for what I am yet to do,” says the modest doctor. “It’s time for
me to really contribute, to both science and Jamaica.” KM

Shining Stharre

Nelly Stharre’s got something to say, and a haunting voice that commands
your attention as she lilts from English to Creole to French. Stharre’s been
heating up the French and Lesser Antilles since her 1995 debut. With her
new album, Soul Country, she’s taking her unique “kweyol reggae” sound
and her socially conscious lyrics to the rest of the Caribbean and the world.
Soul Country is a place within yourself,” says Stharre. “I make
music to help people look inside and find their inner joy.” KM