Artist Ireka Jelani (right) receives the Governor’s Award from Monica Worrell, wife of the Governor of the Central. (C.??Pitt/BGIS)??

This island’s Cultural Industries Development Bill is expected to be taken to Cabinet shortly and to Parliament before yearend.

Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, made the disclosure last evening while addressing the official opening of the 2011 Central Bank Crop Over Visual Arts Festival at the Grande Salle, Tom Adams Financial Centre, in Bridgetown.

Mr. Lashley noted that consultations would also be held with stakeholders so they could express their views on the draft Bill. According to him, the objectives of the consultations were threefold and he listed them as providing a forum for discussion of the Bill with cultural industry practitioners and obtaining feedback on the adequacy of the provisions contained in it for meeting the needs of the respective sub-sectors.

"[We are also seeking] to identify the essential ???tools of trade’ which should be included in the Schedule to the Bill. These scheduled items will be eligible for the grant of special customs duty and tax concessions," he pointed out.

Copies of the draft Bill are available at all branches of the public library, post offices across the island, the National Cultural Foundation at West Terrace, St. James and the Division of Culture and Sports at the Warrens Office Complex, St. Michael. It can also be accessed electronically at https://www.gisbarbados.gov.bb/.

The Minister told his audience that the proposed Barbados National Art Gallery would take steps to develop and promote this island as producing and displaying internationally recognised art work. He added that it would also focus on the acquisition and exhibition of works created by gifted visual artists.

"I, therefore, make a plea for you to take advantage of the establishment of the National Art Gallery in order to advance your work beyond your studios and to also work collaboratively with the Gallery towards improved visibility and marketability of locally produced works," he urged.

Mr. Lashley said the proposed accommodation for the National Art Gallery within the historic World Heritage Garrison area would provide additional and adequate exhibition space and other needed facilities for the visual arts community.

"At present, public exhibition spaces are limited and none of the existing galleries is capable of hosting large exhibitions. It is my hope, therefore, that the Caribbean Examinations Council will be relocated and the home for the National Gallery will be available in the not-too-distant future," he stated.

Artist Ireka Jelani received the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation Award, as well as the Governor’s Award.


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