The importance of the visual arts to Barbadian society cannot be overemphasised, especially in light of the role it plays in documenting our history.
This suggestion from Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley as he officially declared the 2014 Crop Over Fine Arts Festival open.
“It is said that art is the soul of a community and that if one looks carefully, one will find recordings of history and cultural traditions hidden in perhaps every brush stroke, every curved line, every sculpted edge, every creative craft piece or through the light and composition captured by the lens.
“Indeed there was period in some ancient civilizations when the only means of documentation was through the arts. The same holds true for today where the stories of our time will be told through the creative expression of our artists.
“The continued inclusion and prominence of the visual arts during Crop Over and the wider Season of Emancipation is confirmation of the commitment of the Government of Barbados to the development of the cultural sector. Exhibitions such as these go a long way towards providing opportunities for our artists to display their talent.
“Indeed, they provide a platform, which reminds us of the importance of the creative sector, in charting a path for future economic growth,” he said.
The event, which was formerly known as the Crop Over Fine Arts and Craft Exhibition, was revamped three years ago.
This year there are over 80 pieces on exhibit in three locations – The Grand Salle of the Tom Adams Financial Centre, The Old Spirit Bond on Wharf Road and The Queen’s Park Gallery at Pelican Village.
Meantime, there has been a commitment by the Central Bank of Barbados to move the arts industry forward.
The pledge from Bank Secretary Elson Gaskin who revealed that the Central Bank was “poised for an expanded role”.
“As you know, the Bank also sponsors the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment for our sisters and brothers of the written word. In addition, [it] owns and maintains the Frank Collymore Hall. This year the Hall is set to undergo a major upgrade in terms of its stage and technical capabilities. Other upgrades are planned for the not too distant future and this would cement that Hall’s position as one of the leading performing arts venues in the region. But that is not all, the Church Village Green and Amphitheatre has opened to much praise. Recently it successfully hosted its first event – a Barbadian Movie Evening under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport.
“We have also finalised the tender award for the fit out of the historic Museum of Bridgetown which will be held at the refurbished Masonic Lodge building. This museum, though not officially named will showcase the history of commerce, currency education and freemasonry in Barbados. These two projects have been scrupulously executed in line with the World Heritage Status of Historic Bridgetown,” he said.
Gaskin also said the Bank anticipates that in less than 12 months, Bridgetown and its environs, which include Queen’s Park and The St. Michael’s Cathedral, will be a hub of cultural activities in the City.