The 13th Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA XIII) may be over, but Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley is reminding Barbadians not to forget the event’s significance from a historical perspective.
Following a tour of an exhibition highlighting all the previous editions of CARIFESTA, from its inception in 1972 to the recently concluded 10-day event in Barbados, Minister Lashley said: “This exhibition will remind us of the importance of celebrating our cultural identity, as CARIFESTA not only celebrates our cultural uniqueness and what brings us together as a region, but celebrates the importance of culture to the social and economic fabric of the region, and I would especially like our schoolchildren to come down and view it.”
The exhibition at the Barbados Museum showcases, among other things, basic facts about the festivals, including the dates, number of participants, number of countries represented, and, where available, the costs associated with CARIFESTA over the years. It also features scrapbooks containing newspaper articles from when Barbados first hosted the event in 1981, programmes from the first three festivals held in the 1970s in Guyana, Jamaica and Cuba, as well as video footage of performances dating back to 1981.
The Minister said he was quite pleased at the level of video documentation for this year’s festival.
“This element will be very important in showing future generations what we have today, and I commend the museum for putting together this exhibition.”
Just before the tour, the museum’s director Alissandra Cummins presented Minister Lashley with a copy of Professor Woodville Marshall’s latest work, Of Halls, Hills and Holes – a guide to Place Names in Barbados.
Both Cummins and the Minister stressed the significance of the publication.
Commending Professor Marshall for his diligence in putting the book together, Lashley said it would be very useful, “because it will serve as a guide to us regarding the historical importance of a site if a proposal for a name change comes before Cabinet”.
Meanwhile, the Barbados Museum and Historical Society is making a more determined effort to encourage young people to become members.
“While we always have a lot of children who tour the facility with their schools and summer camps, we would like to see more people between the ages of 25 and 40, so that we have a sense of continuity when the older members pass on,” said finance officer Errol Clarke.
To this end, the Barbados Museum and Historical Society recently opened a theatre facility which can be used both for entertainment and education, and on September 28 it will host the popular Q in the Community.
“On that day, we will be offering tours at discounted rates, and will also showcase artifacts highlighting Barbados’ musical history, including records made by WIRL featuring local performers,” Clarke disclosed.
The CARIFESTA display began during the festival at the end of August, and will continue until the end of this month.