Ms Celia Toppin Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Family, Culture Sports and Youth.
Permanent Secretary with responsibility for Culture Ms. Ernesta Drakes
Members of the Board of Directors of the National Cultural Foundation,
Chairman of the National Cultural Foundation, Miss Monique Taitt,
Acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation, Mr. John Clarke,
Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. Delisle Worrell and Mrs. Monica Drayton- Worrell,
Management and Staff of the Central Bank of Barbados,
Artists, Members of the Media, King and Queen of the Crop, Ladies and Gentlemen…..
Good evening and a hearty welcome to this the 18th Crop Over Visual Arts Exhibition.
These past few months have been filled with exciting heritage and historical events in our tiny nation. We proudly embraced the designation and inscription of historic Bridgetown and its Garrison as a World Heritage Site and we reflected upon and recognised the significance of this historic event and its importance for our beloved island.
We at the Central Bank of Barbados are proud to be a partner in the process and our recently refurbished Masonic Lodge Building, which will house a Museum dedicated to commerce in Bridgetown, numismatics,
education and free masonry, is an enduring testament to our commitment to heritage and to culture. I am delighted to advise you that the building is now complete and that we are currently in the process of outfitting the Museum. The first phase of this outfitting project will be completed by September of this year.
As sponsors for eighteen years of this seminal event, we have witnessed the growth and gusto of our local artists. We once again salute and honour their sterling efforts and are thrilled to host and sponsor this Crop Over Visual Arts Exhibition 2012.
Kudos must be given to the artists for their creativity, dedication and commitment in spite of the many challenges that they continue to encounter. I have had the pleasure of viewing some of the exhibits on display here at the Grande Salle, one of three sites for this year's exhibition and I am pleased with the standard of what I have seen so far and feel confident that the artists continue to produce of their very best.
The Central Bank of Barbados is encouraged by the fervour of the National Cultural Foundation in ensuring that this eagerly anticipated annual event is well supported and well organised and I know that the artists are also motivated by the commitment of the NCF. The officer responsible for the exhibition, Mr Rodney Ifill is passionate about this event and is tireless in his efforts to ensure that displays are of the highest standard. We welcome him as part of the Central Bank Family at this time of the year.
Each year the NCF adds a unique and fresh touch to the Exhibition and this year is no exception. This year’s innovation will see the competition
being held over three different core exhibition sites and you will hear more about this later in the programme.
Since joining the Central Bank of Barbados five years ago, I have dedicated time each year to chat with Mr. Ifill, to attend an interpretative session with Ms. St. Hill and in recent years, to buy a piece or two for my collection.
The Central Bank of Barbados' commitment to the arts, culture and now heritage is well cemented. Indeed, our Governor and his wife are ardent supporters of the arts in its varied manifestations. And by extension, this passion and support for the visual arts has been embraced by us, the staff of the Central Bank. Love of and participation in the arts continue to be part of our psyche and we encourage our people to become intimately involved in all aspects of the arts and, in particular, in this annual event by touring the exhibition and by attending an interpretative session with the effervescent and very knowledgeable Ms. Arlette St. Hill.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the Board of Directors, our Governor and Mrs Worrell, the Management and staff of the Central Bank of Barbados, I crave your indulgence as I quote from one of Barbados' artistic icons George Lamming who noted that, “The architecture of our future is not only unfinished; the scaffolding has hardly gone up.”
The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that we must not rest on our laurels. We salute you the artists, we urge you to continue to strive for
excellence in all that you create, we implore you not to limit yourselves to these shores but to produce work that is exportable, we embolden you to dream big and let us continue in all facets of our national life to punch above our weight. I have certainly caught the festival fever and I trust that you have too! And if this exhibition is indicative of the standard of the festival, we can look forward to the sweetest Crop Over Festival 2012.
Vive l'excellence! Congrats to all of the awardees!
I thank you and I bid you good evening.