Local artistes are not being given the respect and recognition they deserve!

This view was expressed by Industry Minister, Donville Inniss, at the opening of the second solo exhibition: Enchanted Forest, by sculptor, artiste and musician, Wayne ???Onkphra??? Wells, at the Bajan Art Gallery, in Pelican Village last Sunday evening.

Mr. Inniss noted that although some of the best musicians, dancers, and performers in the visual or performing arts could be found in Barbados, this particular group was not being properly recognised within society.

He told his audience, which included Senator Sir Trevor Carmichael; musicians Eddy Grant and Anthony ???Mighty Gabby??? Carter; members of the diplomatic corps, and local artistes, that ???we in Barbados are apt to take all that is foreign and buy it and celebrate with it, but our own we like to frown upon???.

He continued: ???Those of you who are gathered here this evening, you are here not just because of Wayne and his work but because you recognise the importance of supporting the industry??? it is about giving support to that group within our society who really and truly are the most innovative and creative.???

In referencing the lack of visitors at Pelican Village, the Minister stated that he needed to find ways of ???breathing some life into it in a very sustainable manner???.

???The part of the Ministry that is Industry has responsibility for the physical space, and I must confess that I have been very disappointed over the years that we still have not been able to get this place functioning the way I think it should function. When I became Minister I said to the staff at the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), do not adopt a landlord/tenant attitude towards this facility and recognise that there is a developmental role to play,??? Mr. Inniss pointed out.

He further stressed that if Barbados wanted to develop an innovative society, Pelican Village must be a place where local artistes could come and express themselves, adding that it could not just be about collecting rent alone.

???It must be a place where those who engage in fine arts can come and display their paintings, the sculptors can display their works, where musicians can come and entertain on evenings in an atmosphere like this. It must really and truly be a place where you can freely express yourself and come alive. And I would like to see more activities like this taking place here,??? the Minister stressed.

Mr. Inniss suggested that his Ministry was going to recommend to the BIDC that Pelican Village be turned over to the tenants.

???We need to be very bold and creative in this society and I cannot sit and wait???. And, we must be bold enough to say to the tenants who sit and occupy Pelican space, manage it. Take your ideas and bring them to fruition. If you want to have exhibitions and a free flowing exhibition here, have some evening jazz and different performers, then do it. Let us be bold, because our young people do not want to be stifled. They want to freely express themselves???not to mention we want the tourists to pass through here???,??? he said.

In concluding, the Minister stressed that he wanted Pelican Village to be a place where Barbadians from all walks of life could visit, appreciate and see the creative juices and works of our people.


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