The National Cultural Foundation (NCF) is throwing its support behind this year’s rebranded Flow Oistins Festival and specifically the Easter Bonnet Parade scheduled for this weekend.
Part of the foundation’s assistance for the Easter Bonnet Parade came in the form of a workshop, which is an extension of its already well-established school’s costume-making programme in existence for 17 years. So says principal coordinator of the programme, Suzanne Phillips who has been the face of it and its supervisor for the past 11 years.
Last Saturday, at the Queen’s Park Steel Shed, a number of children expected to be participating in the Oistins Easter Bonnet Parade attended a workshop where Phillips and some of the other assigned tutors trained them on decorating their bonnets with a green focus, utilising recyclable materials and incorporating the overall marine theme of the Flow Oistins Festival. The green initiative ties into one of the NCF’s concentrated efforts to promote an environmentally-friendly Crop Over 2019.
“The objective of the Easter Bonnet workshop is to expose our youth to the art form of costume-making not only for Kadooment but as a part of the same knowledge-based, creative development process driven by the NCF’s Cultural Development Department in schools and communities around the island,” Phillips said.
“This school’s costume design initiative was first conceptualised and implemented in 2002 by former NCF board member Beverley Alleyne and supervised by the then Special Projects Officer, Ashanti Trotman. She recognised a need to encourage the art of costume-making among our youth and to make it more widely accessible across the schools with a view to preserving the art form for future generations,” Phillips added.
Phillips explained that the programme attempts to combine creativity with education, marrying the two, so that they not only wear the costume but they feel a part of the entire process from idea to design production and spectacle. It supports the general school syllabus in this regard.
The NCF’s involvement in the Flow Oistins Festival also extends to the Pop Up: Culture, Entertainment and Creativity event on Saturday, April 20 with visual arts only, Sunday, April 21 – visual arts, fashion and music, and Monday, April 22 – visual arts and music.
These pop-ups are an impactful concept adapted and implemented by the NCF’s reinstituted Business Development Department following the recent amalgamation of BCIDA (Barbados Cultural Industries Development Authority) and the NCF.
It is already being used in many developed and developing countries to assist with strengthening the creative sector, as well as to educate the general public on the sector’s importance. The project provides much-needed exposure for the local artistic community, featuring components of the visual arts and craft (home and accent products) mainly, in addition to fashion, music and poetry.