The Embassy of Barbados at Caracas and various fine arts stakeholders in Venezuela have been holding discussions on a range of commercial and developmental initiatives that stand to benefit both Barbadian and Venezuelan fine artists.

The impetus for these discussions is one of the direct results of Barbados??? participation in the 22nd edition of the Caracas-based art fair, Feria Ibero-Americana de Arte (FIA), from 27 June to 1st July 2013. Barbados exhibited a small but very well received collection, entitled ???Barbadiana 2013???, which included the works of Barbadian artists Alicia Alleyne, Natalie Atkins, Justin Downey, Wayne Hinds and Aurelia Walcott. There were also virtual presentations of the works of Tristan Alleyne, Sharon Moise, Akem Ramsay, Sheena Rose and Ronald Williams.

The curator for Barbadiana 2013 was Denyse Menard-Greenidge. The Barbadiana series is a longstanding collaborative project between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and the Ministry of Culture to promote Barbados??? fine arts abroad. The Central Bank of Barbados was one of this year???s sponsors for Barbadiana, as it has been on previous occasions.

The FIA saw more than 13,000 visitors this year and during the five-day period the Embassy made very useful contacts and established relationships with some key figures in the art community in Venezuela who were impressed with the standard of Barbadiana 2013.

The quality of the Barbadian works prompted one Venezuelan collector to meet with the Ambassador of Barbados to Venezuela, Her Excellency, Sandra Phillips, in July to discuss with her how Barbados and the Caribbean could benefit from his plans for an entrepreneurial endeavour to market Latin American and Caribbean art globally. Another group of stakeholders also discussed with the Ambassador their interest in extending their art marketing services to include Barbadian art and in staging exhibitions in Barbados. In addition, the Embassy received an invitation to stage a separate exhibition to promote Barbadian art, tourism and culture in Venezuela.

Apart from these and other commercial proposals, the Embassy is also exploring the possibility for bilateral developmental projects. In this regard, Ambassador Phillips has discussed with the FIA organizers the scope for introducing to Barbados one of their school projects called FIA Todo Terreno: Pedagog??as Sensibles.

This project, apart from fostering an appreciation for art at an early age, is used as a basis for building positive social and community values. The Embassy has also proposed a cooperation initiative to one of the local public universities that would involve student exchanges, artist residencies, workshops, expositions and the translation of art curriculum literature, inter alia. Noted Venezuelan curator, Maria Luz Cardenas, who visited Barbados??? stand at the FIA, met with the Ambassador soon after the fair and expressed her support for the promotion of such developmental initiatives.

This month the Embassy will launch an electronic art newsletter entitled Barbados en Arte which will be produced by the Embassy in Spanish for circulation to museums, galleries and other fine arts stakeholders in Venezuela and other South American countries in the Embassy???s jurisdiction. The relationships now established with the art community in Venezuela will provide a good platform for the reception of this newsletter.

The Embassy will be working closely with the relevant agencies in Barbados to bring these initiatives to fruition.

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