A child masquerading at Kiddies Kadooment (FP)??

Corporate Barbados is being called on to work with the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), so that more costume-making workshops can be conducted for school children.

Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Division of Culture and Sports, Celia Toppin, made this call last evening while delivering an address on behalf of Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, at the opening of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society’s Crop Over Exhibition at its Garrison, St. Michael headquarters.

Ms. Toppin told her audience: "We have to admit that it is unfortunate that many of the masquerade costumes which we see today are mere copies of those which appear in other countries. That stamp, that characteristic, that would identify them as Barbadian creations, is simply not there.

"Within the Ministry, we are trying to address this problem. For the past 10 years, the National Cultural Foundation has been conducting costume-making workshops in schools across the island. This year, five schools benefitted from these workshops. Clearly more work needs to be done so that our young people will be taught the art of creative costume-making."

She stressed that forging partnerships with the private sector was critical to the success of the cultural development programmes. "The workshops are a costly undertaking and I hope that the NCF will be able to attract adequate sponsorship to enable them to conduct workshops in a wider range of schools," she stated.

The Crop Over Exhibition, which is being staged for the second year, will feature costumes of Barbadian folk characters, such as Mother Sally, Shaggy Bear, Donkey Man and the Stilt Man, as well as original sketches of costume designs from Omowale Stewart, Glen Brathwaite, MADD, Gwyneth Squires and the late Winston Jordan.

Ms. Toppin also urged local visitors to the exhibition to use the occasion to reflect on their history and develop a greater appreciation of their heritage.

According to her, Barbados’ heritage "is even more important now since the inscription of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison as a UNESCO World Heritage Property".

She expressed the view that the Property would contribute to the enhancement of the country’s heritage tourism product. "To have such a prestigious designation will certainly stimulate greater regional and international interest in Barbados as a tourist destination, particularly since there are currently only a handful of World Heritage Properties in the English-speaking Caribbean," she suggested.

The exhibition, Leaves to Beads: 100 Years of Costume Design, will run until Tuesday, August 14. The public may visit Monday to Saturday, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., and on Sundays from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m.


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