Art enthusiasts gathered at the Grand Salle of the Central Bank on Sunday night to savour the Barbadian aesthetic created by local artists and craftsmen.
The launch of the Central Bank’s 2017 Crop Over Visual Arts Festival showcased the spellbinding talent of the island’s artists. Although the festival saw a drop in participants this year, the works displayed saw no decline in creativity and skill.
This was evident in the night’s winners. Cecil Webb received the Central Bank Governor’s Award for his piece entitled Rhythm and Wood. Following the theme In Search of the Barbadian Aesthetic, Patrick Louis stole the show with his piece Harrison Beauty, winning the award for Best Depiction of Theme.
Jewellery maker, Desiree Mascoll, proudly took to the stage to receive her Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) Incentive Award for her collection, Copper and Brass Necklace.
Speaking to a crowded room, featured speaker Dr Therese Hadchity, reminded the audience that every person, whether art lover, critic or layman, must support the arts and their development.
“Something like this Crop Over show – which is arranged by a government agency and which invites broad participation – this is where the state invites every capable person to enter into dialogue with everyone else,” she said.
“Sometimes the inherently broad scope of such events (and their invariably limited resources) can lead to frustrations and dissidence. But bear in mind, that for cultural institutions to function, they don’t rely on government support only, they especially rely on support from their communities. In a sense, they can only be as representative as we allow them to be.”
The art historian reminded those in attendance that art exhibitions were equivalent to a soap box where the artist was able to address issues in society and engage in conversation with the public. “Exhibitions are more than the fulfillment of an individual process. An exhibition like this is an expression of democracy. This is the public square,” Hadchity stated.
Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Cleviston Haynes, also followed Hadchity’s sentiments, commending the talented Barbadians for their commitment to developing the sector and highlighting the Barbadian identity.
“At a time when the debate about nationalism versus globalism is raging at home and abroad, we are appreciative of the use of your artistic energies to capture our imagination and awaken our consciousness about (what is) truly Barbadian,” said Haynes.
The Crop Over Visual Arts Exhibition will run from June 25 to August 2 at the Grand Salle and the Queen’s Park Gallery in Pelican Village. For the first time, there is also an in-house photography exhibit entitled Visual Healing by the Central Bank’s staff at the Exchange Museum.