People of the Islands

While there are some 40 plus cays that make up the Turks and Caicos Islands, only eight of them are inhabited by people. The Turks and Caicos natives are called “Belongers” or “Turks and Caicos Islanders”, and are either descendants from African slaves who were originally brought over to grow cotton and work in the salt industry, or have immigrated here from the neighboring countries. The local population mixes harmoniously with a large expatriate community of British, American, French, Canadian, Haitians, Dominicans and Scandinavians, giving the islands an international influence and unique culture.

The people here – both Expats and Belongers –are relaxed and friendly and generally operate on “island time”, resulting in a low-key, slow-paced environment.

Middle Caicos Portraits

An introduction to the exhibition of Portraits of Middle Caicos.

The inspiration for this exhibition came to me after a visit to Middle Caicos in early 2002.

I had traveled to the island to learn about the crafts and the lifestyle there, and I was made very welcome and experienced a rich and interesting day.

Walter Hall had guided me and a friend all the way to the crossing place along the trail, and on the way back I took the photo of him which features on the invitation to this exhibition. It became the inspiration for this portrait exhibition.

As we headed back to Provo on the small Aztec plane after that first visit, I was able to explore from the air the places we had seen and visited that day. I realized that Middle Caicos is an island rich in history. The people there have a strong identity of which they can be proud, and I decided to propose to Daniel Forbes and Sara Kaufman that we should work on a photo project featuring the wonderful people of Middle Caicos.

They liked the idea, and I am very grateful to Danny and Sara for all assistance and advice and for making this exhibition possible.

I would also like to express my deepest gratitude to all the people who have had the patience and willingness to let me take their photographs over the years. It has been a joy and privilege to get to know you all.

I hope you will enjoy this event, and I look forward to seeing you all.

by Siri Tunaal White

The fruit of the sea puts food on the table for this South Caicos native.

Story & Photos By Jody Rathgeb

Alvin Parker is busy conching, so he probably doesn’t hear the music of his day. Nonetheless, it is there: an irregular calypso formed by the tap-tap-tap of his hammer as he knocks the conch, the clatter of heavy shells being thrown into the boat, the steady purr of his 200-horsepower Yamaha outboard, the slap of waves as he keeps the boat close to his divers…

Antoinette Olivia Garland Talbot (“Nettie”)

A reflection of life on Salt Cay “back in the days.” Story & Photos By Michele Belanger-McNair

Few women who were born, raised, married and reared families on Salt Cay remain today. Over the years they have left due to family demands, marriage, economic forces or desire and gone to the United States, Bahamas, Grand Turk or Providenciales to make a new life…

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