Unearthing the very best in Barbadian talent was, and still is, the aim of the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA), which is organised annually by the National Cultural Foundation (NCF).
Originally conceptualised by the late Arden Clarke and his wife, Jeanette Layne-Clarke, it was based on a vision of Barbados??? first Prime Minister, the Right Excellent Errol Barrow, to ensure citizens had a national platform to showcase cultural and artistic independence.
NIFCA also sought to celebrate Barbados??? Independence and national pride through a tradition of excellence. First staged in November 1973, persons competed in visual arts, literary arts, and the performing arts – dance, drama and music.
Now in its 40th year, the island???s leading arts festival continues to encourage persons from all walks of life to express their creativity on a national stage. The disciplines have been expanded to include photography, culinary arts, film, and speech, which is commonly known as spoken word.
Each year, entrants vie for gold, silver and bronze awards. Top amateurs and professionals also compete for numerous special prizes. Many of those awards are named after cultural icons, but the highest is the Governor General???s Award of Excellence.
The semi-finals stage of this year???s NIFCA competition is finally over and the public is invited to witness creativity at its best during the finals.
The Performing Arts Finals will take place over a course of five days at the Frank Collymore Hall starting at 7:00 p.m.
Dance finals will be staged on Thursday, October 31, and Music One will be judged on Saturday, November 2. Theatre will be in the spotlight on Sunday, November 3; Music Two on Monday, November 4, and Juniors Mixed Discipline will be judged on Tuesday, November 5.
Winners in the Goddard Enterprises NIFCA Literary Arts Competition will be celebrated at the Literary Arts Gala on Thursday, November 7, at 6:00 p.m. at the Frank Collymore Hall. Patrons will be treated to readings from the successful entrants.
The Literary Arts Balcony Book Fair will precede the Performing Arts Finals and the Literary Arts Gala on Thursday, October 31; Saturday, November 2 to Tuesday, November 5; and Thursday, November 7. Patrons will have the opportunity to purchase winning works from previous NIFCA Literary Arts Competitions.
The public will also have the opportunity to witness entrants in the NIFCA Culinary Arts Competition display their craft and skills at the Culinary Arts Exhibition and Cook-Off on Saturday, November 9, at Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St. Michael, beginning at 10:00 a.m.
Persons are invited to view two exhibitions in one, when they visit the NIFCA Visual Arts and Photography Exhibition. Scheduled to start on Monday, November 11, and conclude on Saturday, November 23, it will be held at the Old Spirit Bond Mall, Wharf Road, Bridgetown from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. each day.
On Sunday, November 17, at 6:00 p.m., the cr??me de la cr??me in performing arts (music, dance and theatre arts) will be featured at the NIFCA Performing Arts Gala at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium. The event will also showcase a performance from a top awarded literary entry.
The NIFCA Film and Video Screenings will be held on Thursday, November 21, at 6:00 p.m. at the Queen???s Park Steel Shed. The event will see members of the public, industry professionals and award winning filmmakers share their views, ideas and reactions to the works of art during a discussion forum.
While admission is free for some of the events, persons are advised to contact the National Cultural Foundation at 417-6610, or visit the NCF???s website at www.ncf.bb for information on the box offices and entrance fees.