Coolie Pink and Green

The system of indentured ‘coolie’ labour which brought several hundred thousands of Indians from the sub-continent to the Caribbean between 1838 - the end of African slavery, and 1917, transformed the society, culture and economy of the region. Many Indians chose settlement over repatriation to India adding another distinctive pattern to the cultural tapestry already being woven by the indigenous Amerindian, European and African populations that pre-dated their existence. Indians today make up roughly half the population of Trinidad society.Yet the Indian ( or Asian) aesthetic in the Caribbean is an unacknowledged and well kept secret. It has not infused itself into the geographical or cultural space as another kind of beauty or art making that has complicated what we consider to be ‘Caribbean’. It is still the “other”, at the same time exoticized and demeaned in the word ‘coolie’. The film attempts to transform this perception of a ‘coolie’ aesthetic by projecting a different way of seeing the patterns, beauty and meanings of the colours generally associated with this population and the rituals rendered primarily through Hinduism on the landscape of Trinidad.In the tradition of the Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita, the script is in the form of poetry and prose, using a narrative sequence of call and response between a young girl who is simultaneously learning and experiencing the beauty of her culture in the rituals and practices of Hinduism as this is now observed in Trinidad – a diasporiic community of Indians, and an elder in her community who attempts to hold her fast in a traditional mould. She is sympathetic to his views that the young are leaving tradition behind but she already lives in a culture that has mixed and exchanged many components. She must inhabit both, she has no choice.Run time : 23 minutesYear of production: 2009Country of origin: Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago, West IndiesLanguage: EnglishGenre: Experimental film - Visual poetry, Aesthetics, Art and Culture, ReligionProducers – Patricia Mohammed and Rex DixonDirector – Patricia Mohammed