A Barbados delegation will be part of a cultural blend of talent from the Caribbean heading to China this Sunday, April 27, to take part in the Beijing Arts Festival.

The island???s craft, talent and music are expected to ???whet??? the appetites of the Chinese people ahead of the upcoming Crop Over festival, and bring a new flavour to the Chinese arts festival.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, made this disclosure today as he spoke to the media during a press conference at the Ministry???s Sky Mall office.

He announced that he will lead the delegation, with Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation, Cranston Browne heading the cultural contingent. Other members of the delegation are Anthony ???Gabby??? Carter, in the area of folk and jazz; Nikita Browne, jazz singer; Stefan Walcott, keyboardist; Andre Forde, steel pannist; Gene Carson, dance choreographer; Lisa Harewood, filmmaker, and Angela Went, craft person and jeweler.

Noting the upcoming visit was part of a continuing dialogue between the Ministry of Culture and the Government of China through their embassy, Mr. Lashley said it would also involve high-level discussions about the areas of culture and sports with his counterpart in China.??The visit, which marks the first opportunity for the Barbadian artistes to be exposed to a major international festival in China, will also result in the signing of a Letter of Intent which will complement the existing bilateral agreement in the area of culture.

Mr. Lashley added that during the trip every opportunity would be used to explore the various options to enhance the spirit of cooperation that is available for culture and sports between the two countries.?????We are hoping that out of the discussions we will be able to move further towards the spirit of and enhancing of cooperation which we have enjoyed over the years,??? he said.

The Culture Minister further stated that Barbados was moving steadfastly into the realm of developing its cultural industries and believed now was a good time to explore new opportunities. ???We feel that with the pending proclamation of the Cultural Industries Development Act, this is an opportune time to go to China and forge those relations,??? he noted.

He added that the artistes were also expected to use the opportunity to showcase their talents and represent the various genres of the cultural art form.

Chinese Ambassador, Wang Ke, welcomed the visit and noted that the artistes from Barbados will be among those from 10 Caribbean countries performing before thousands of her countrymen over a three-day holiday in China.?????It will be very well organised and the venue will be a big open park in Beijing. The time coincides with our international Labour Day public holidays ???,??? she stated.

The delegation, which includes Permanent Secretary, Ruth Blackman will return to the island on Monday, May 5.


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