Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley (third from left), unveiling the wax figure of “The Mighty Sparrow”, while artists Art Edwards and Frances Ross, the Most Honourable Anthony “Mighty Gabby” Carter and others, look on. (T. Barker/BGIS)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley is willing to allocate a sizeable amount of money from the existing $150 million Digitisation and Greening Fund to local artists to assist them with creating small replicas of their artwork.

She said the fund was established for hotels, small businesses, agriculture and manufacturing entities but she was willing to include artists in half of the money allocated to the other entities to make their work more available for wider distribution.

Ms. Mottley made the announcement on Friday night during the official unveiling of a life-sized wax figure of renowned calypsonian Slinger “The Mighty Sparrow” Francisco at One Welches, St. Thomas.

She shared: “That fund is $150 million dollars, half of which goes to tourism and the other half goes to the other disciplines, so I hope that persons, like yourselves, would seek to utilise those funds and find ways of being able to create smaller replicas, that can be bought as gifts for people who appreciate a particular artist or sportsman or individuals in the community that we can work with you in a meaningful way.”

Prime Minister Motley also told her audience that a school of excellence should be established to allow the creativity of scores of sportsmen and women to flourish.

Emphasising that artists and sportsmen are global citizens, she cautioned that governments must find ways to let the talents of their people blossom, or run the risk of falling short of their aspirations.

“If we do not find the ways to take the creativity of our people and let it flourish, then we have not just ourselves to blame, but we would never reach the heights that we need to be able to reach.  As much as I may want to speak as the leader of Barbados, we have seen that Rihanna has defined what it is to get into the hearts, as a Bajan. We have seen Gary Sobers, we have seen Gabby…we have seen all of them carry us places and spaces that are not necessarily easy for the rest of us to go,” Ms. Mottley stated.

The Prime Minister reasoned that the introduction of the Associate Degree Programmes in Performing Arts and Fine Arts and then the Bachelor of Arts Programme at the Barbados Community College, when she was Minister of Education, was intended to “bring noble respect to the artform”.

“It is still a journey, and regrettably, we need to do more in order to have people appreciate the time and the space and money, and buy our own. I have said previously, there are still too many households where prints of winter scenes and ducks adorn walls…. There are still too many homes which do not have indigenous art,” Ms. Mottley observed.

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