Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture,??makes a feature address??at last evenings launch of NIFCA 2012. (C.Pitt/BGIS)??

Those Barbadians who have never participated in the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) are being urged to seriously consider doing so.

While delivering the feature address last evening at the launch of NIFCA 2012, at Hilton Barbados, Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, said taking part in this unique festival should not be limited to any one age group or artistic discipline.

He implored: "Parents, encourage your children. But, mothers and fathers, you, too, can find your artistic strength and hone it until it is worthy of entry into NIFCA. Teachers, encourage your students. Churches, social organisations, encourage your members.

"The reality is that the ability to express oneself creatively is not limited to any one group of people.?? It is my hope that, next year, the number of entries to NIFCA would have doubled, even trebled. After all, NIFCA 2012 declares "Let The Arts Speak!"

Mr. Lashley is of the view, however, that in moving to the next step of the festival, all involved must ensure that what is presented is nothing short of excellent. "Excellence requires complete commitment and dedication. Excellence requires sacrifices.?? This is what must be borne in mind as we prepare our entries for this festival.

"Excellence must be what the National Festival is all about. Artists, every time that you think that you have done your best, resolve to do even better.?? It is only in so doing that we will eventually create for ourselves a unique Barbadian brand of excellence.?? And, it is only in the creation of this Barbadian brand of excellence, that we will be able to compete meaningfully and effectively in a global marketplace that is filled with artistic expressions from all corners of the world," he noted.

The Minister acknowledged that while government, through the National Cultural Foundation, could spearhead the continued development of NIFCA by the provision of training workshops, increased prize monies, and perhaps, through the sourcing of scholarships to allow for study and the gaining of experience overseas, artistses must make that commitment to the achievement of excellence.

Mr. Lashley opined that because of modern technology, the world had become the artists’ stage. "Artistes today have the potential to be international, in the true sense of the word. We have seen it happen. We know that it is possible. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we have some of the most incredible talent right here in Barbados. Every year at NIFCA, we see the outpourings," he stated.

He expressed the view that the festival would provide an opportunity for Barbadians to demonstrate their independence to the world, adding that those performances proclaimed the spirit of cultural independence.


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