REMARKS AT THE OPENING OF THE
CROPOVER VISUAL ARTS EXHIBITION
JULY 6, 2011
Mr. Harold Codrington
Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Barbados
Thank you, Madame Chair
Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, the Honourable Stephen Lashley,
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Miss Shirley Farnum,
Members of the Board of Directors of the National Cultural Foundation,
Chairman of the National Cultural Foundation, Miss Monique Taitt,
Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation, Dr. Donna Hunte-Cox.
Wife of the Governor of the Central Bank, Mrs. Monica Drayton Worrell,
Management and Staff of the Central Bank of Barbados,
Artists, Members of the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening and a warm welcome to the Central Bank and the Opening of the 2011 Crop Over Visual Arts Exhibition. Ever since 1976, when it inaugurated the Sir Winston Scott Memorial Lecture, the Bank has been an enthusiastic supporter of the arts and culture. We are therefore proud to have partnered with the National Cultural Foundation for almost two decades in staging this popular Exhibition.
This programme calls for me to make brief remarks and I will be very obedient.
The core functions of the Bank are economic and financial in nature, but there is a clear nexus between those functions and the arts and culture. The Central Bank Act gives this institution a broad mandate to promote the economic development of Barbados. In fulfilling that mandate we must support traditional sectors like sugar and tourism as well as new sectors like the cultural industry. A well-developed cultural sector can help to diversify our economy and provide jobs and other spinoffs. It is to this end that the Bank has continued to encourage all aspects of our culture be it drama, steelpan, dance or artwork.
With respect to artwork in particular, we have instituted a policy which requires us to provide a modest budget to purchase pieces every year and we draw on the services of an art consultant to help us in this regard. These purchases have greatly enhanced the ambience of the work environment in those areas where they are on display, mainly the tenth floor of the Main Building and the Board Room. A few years ago, we also commissioned two local artists to produce paintings of all previous central bank governors. Visitors to the Frank Collymore Hall can see in the Foyer the most recent acquisition for that space, a striking piece of sculpture by Omphra Wells. Our acquisition programme may be somewhat behind those of some other regional central banks but I can assure artists that we intend to stay the course in an effort to bridge that gap.
One of the major challenges for artists is to find places in which to display their work. Since its inception, this Exhibition has found a home, so to speak, in the Grande Salle. However, this is the 2nd year in which the Foundation has decentralised the Exhibition, thus allowing for the each genre to have more focused attention and making it easier for more persons to view the exhibits. This year, the 2-dimensional exhibits are as usual on display here in the Grand Salle, the 3-dimensional work can be found at Bagnal’s Point Gallery in the Pelican Craft Village while items of craft are located in the BNB Gallery at No. 1 Broad Street. We commend the Foundation for these efforts to sustain public interest in this event.
But this Exhibition runs for a limited time. Accordingly, the Bank is taking steps to increase the number of locations for permanent displays of this work. Some years ago the Bank purchased the old Masonic Lodge Building on Spry Street and during the last 12 months has been renovating that structure. The plan is for the refurbished building to contain, among other things, an art gallery. We are hopeful that the new gallery will be ready by the time of next year’s Visual Arts Exhibition. That project was undertaken with the knowledge that Bridgetown was under consideration as a World Heritage site. Now that it has become a reality, the refurbished Masonic Lodge - one of the oldest buildings in the City - is expected to be a focal point of interest. An art gallery at that location has the potential to generate business for artists as cultural tourism takes root and brings high net worth visitors to the City.
Judging from what is on show here tonight, this year’s offerings for the 2-dimensional exhibits have , in my uninformed opinion, achieved the usual high standards that we have come to associate with the Visual Arts Exhibition. I am certain that the same is true for the displays at the other locations and wish to encourage you to make a special effort between today and August 5 to view them. Persons who are here this evening should take the opportunity to use the shuttle service which is available to move between the various sites.
In closing, I wish on behalf of the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of the Central Bank to thank you for attending this Opening Function and hope that you have a safe and enjoyable Crop Over season.
July 6, 2011