Cultural Industries The Way Forward

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???We shouldn???t underestimate the value of the creative sector???.

This is according to the Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley who was addressing a press conference, yesterday at the Ministry???s Sky Mall headquarters, Haggatt Hall, St. Michael.

It was held to highlight the achievements of Barbadian artists Alberta Whittle and Ewan Atkinson whose works were selected to be a part of the upcoming Venice and Havana Biennials respectively.

While offering congratulations to the artists, the Minister implored Barbadians not to underestimate the value of the creative sector in the diversification of the economy.

Mr. Lashley indicated that Barbados??? participation in these international events was ???critical??? as they presented the opportunity to reach large international groups of potential visitors and buyers.

???The more artists we can get on the international market, the better Barbados will become in terms of earning foreign exchange.??? he said. The Minister expressed the view that lack of appreciation for the works produced by such persons led to the overlooking of major accomplishments made by artists.

According to the Minister, over the years Barbados had been very inconsistent in encouraging artists to enter art exhibitions such as the Venice and Havana Biennials. However, ???you will see a change in that, because it is certainly my intention that every year, Barbados should participate in these international biennials???, he stated.

With many benefits to be gained from entering the regional and international art exhibitions and biennials, the Minister of Culture encouraged members of the private sector to offer assistance through contributions to the Cultural Industries Development Fund.

???It is still available and open for anyone, including private sector interest???to inject funds into the Cultural Industries Development Fund???and then benefit from incentives under the legislation???, he explained.

The Minister revealed that both Ms. Whittle and Mr. Atkinson benefited from government sponsorship through the Arts and Sports Fund and that government would continue to assist artists in the pursuit of the exportation of their work.??

However, the declaration of support came with a strong instruction for artists to ???be more aggressive??? in moving into external markets for export.

He stated that the Cultural Industries Development Authority, the National Cultural Foundation and the Ministry of Culture were ???keen on working very closely with artists who are moving outside of Barbados??? [as] we can reap significant dividends through the work of our artist as they move across the globe???.

jamal.weekes@barbados.gov.bb

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