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Culture & People


The Turks & Caicos National Trust aims to safeguard the natural, historical and cultural heritage of Turks & Caicos Islands. Legislation allows the Trust to protect any building of historic importance.

A number of examples of British Colonial architecture can be seen on Grand Turk. Some historic houses on the island were built by colonists from Burmuda who ran the salt industry on the island.

Visual Arts

People from Turks & Caicos Islands are proud of their local artists, who have been inspired by the islands' natural beauty and, more recently, by the artistic styles of nearby Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Local artists most often use oils and watercolours to paint incredible waterfront scenes and depictions of the unique islanders. These up-and-coming artists' works are widely displayed throughout Turks & Caicos Islands.
A number of local crafts are extremely popular in Middle Caicos. From basket weaving, plaiting palm leaves for straw hats, and weaving 'fanner' dishes and bowls to binding mosquito brushes and net-making, native crafts are important to the way of life of the people of the islands.

Many of these local crafts once supported fishing and agricultural uses, though some are now made and sold to tourists for their aesthetic qualities. The people of Turks & Caicos Islands are dedicated to maintaining these traditional crafts to pass on to future generations.

Phillip Outten, June Taylor and Ianthe George are three prominent local artists whose works stand out and find their way on to the walls of many homes and businesses on the Islands and abroad. The Bamboo Gallery on Providenciales, offers a wide range of local and Caribbean pieces for sale and both Phillip Outten and Jean Taylor own and run their own art galleries and welcome one and all to visit and view their works.

Performing Arts & Music

Both music and dance are important throughout the Caribbean and have been most strongly influenced by African slaves on these islands. Musical and dance traditions in Turks & Caicos Islands have developed into very specialised and charismatic artistic forms.

"Ripsaw" or "rake 'n scrape" music is the most traditional of the islands' musical styles. This music is made with unusual instruments: saw, goatskin drum, hand accordion or "constentina," hand-made maracas and acoustic guitar. The saw is usually a hand saw, and a metal scraper is used for "ripping the saw." This process is performed by scraping the metal, often a nail, fork, knife, or screwdriver, across the teeth of the saw.

Another style of music is "combina" music. This new music combines the local ripsaw music with international sounds like Jamaican reggae, as well as the popular calypso and soca styles.

Dance is also extremely popular and, though there are several types, the most popular is known as "winin". Also referred to as "wine-up" or "the wine", this hip-gyrating dance is done in time to rip-saw, soca and calypso music. This dance style was brought to widespread international attention with the soca song Dollar Wine, and is now often taught on cruise ships to travelers visiting Turks & Caicos Islands.

Winin however, is a youthful dance. Elder members of the community often prefer waltz-styled dances, such as the "shati" and "the heal" and "toe polka". The conch-style and shay-shay are two other popular styles.

The islands are known for their annual Music and Cultural Festival showcasing many local talents and other dynamic performances by many music celebrities from around the Caribbean and United States.





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