Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has underscored the importance of society listening attentively to artists as it seeks to preserve its culture.
While speaking at the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts Gold Awards Presentation at Ilaro Court last Friday night, Mr. Stuart said when artists begin to critique how a society lives and what it does, then its citizens must pay very special attention to what is being said.
???If artists have any critical role in a society, it is usually to return a society to itself. Sometimes we can get detached from the things that are really important in our society, the things that are really important to the perpetuation of our culture and it is important that we are returned to ourselves??? We have to be reminded of the things that are really important to us if we are to recreate ourselves and continue to justify our existence???
???So, the role of Government in all of this is to be like a sensitive seismograph registering all of the fluctuations, all of the changes taking place in the society, listening very carefully to our creative artists, not only when they are praising and justifying what we do and how we do it, but when they are critiquing what we do and how we do it,??? he stated.
The Prime Minister expressed the view that a society would be barren without creative artists and said Barbados was lucky to have many such persons.??Mr. Stuart congratulated the award winners for their outstanding performances, and praised the Ministry of Culture for the excellent job in promoting the island???s cultural industries.
NIFCA winners included visual artist Sheri Nicholls, who copped the Prime Minister???s Scholarship. The dance group Element received the Prime Minister???s Award for Originality, and T???afari Steede of The Combermere School and Ashley Benjamin of the University of the West Indies received the Irving Burgie Awards.