Prime Minister Freundel Stuart presents Audrey Watson with her NIFCA award for Originality at last evening’s NIFCA Awards ceremony at Ilaro Court. (A. Miller/BGIS)

The National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) gives voice to an immeasurable wealth of homegrown talent and is a "veritable melting pot of artistic skills" and the proverbial canvas on which artistes have created their own masterpieces.

This was underscored by Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, as he addressed the NIFCA Awards 2012 ceremony last evening at Ilaro Court.

In congratulating the awardees on their achievements, Mr. Lashley encouraged them to aim for even greater accomplishments and to take their work to the international level.

"NIFCA, evidently creates a wonderful opportunity for you to expose your creative products and services. This festival of ours [is] a national jewel of many facets and provides the place for artistic practitioners to continually hone their skills and show the world how our artistes speak to their nation. Using this festival as a springboard our artistes, possessing much intellectual prowess and obvious talent, can first of all market their craft both domestically and via this exposure, move on to exploit international markets," Mr. Lashley added.

He pointed out that this country was continually moving towards becoming a global entrepreneurial hub and said NIFCA should be a catalyst for artistes since they already possessed "the copious talents, the skills and the imagination and the confidence that a standard of art can lead to achieving such feats".

Alluding to the global recession, the Culture Minister noted that Barbados was not immune to the economic throes in which the world was caught and he, therefore, called on citizens to be creative and resourceful on the whole and to continue to endure and persevere, with the will to triumph above all odds.

He suggested that "as proud Barbadians we must… gain from what we have produced for the benefit not only of ourselves, but for the benefit of our society".

"Let the examples of you, the participants in NIFCA, serve as an inspiration to all of Barbados. Engage yourselves in creative activity which is meaningful and never lose sight of the prize. The rewards shall be yours, for your vision, your hard work, your

commitment. To all of those who know the NIFCA experience, one must always aspire to a standard of excellence," he said.

Since its origins in November 1972, NIFCA has been the preferable canvas on which artistes have created their own masterpieces in multiple genres and disciplines. Individuals and groups compete in a variety of categories including music and the performing arts, literature, culture and culinary arts, as well as in film and photography.

Rhea Superville won the Governor General’s Award in the culinary arts category for her Farmers Choice Ham and Ground Provision Cake with Spiced Lamb accompanied by Saut??ed Vegetables and Pan Seared Scallops; Janine White copped the Prime Minister’s scholarship of $35,000 for showing the greatest potential for training in drama or speech for the dramatic piece, This Body is Not Mine!, along with Anya Stephen in the visual arts category; while the Prime Minister’s award for originality went to Audrey Watson?? in the culinary arts category for her Cassava Steamed Pudding with Pickled Salt fish.


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