by Kimberley Cummins
As the 39th edition of the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts was officially launched, Public Relation Officer at the National Cultural Foundation, Margaret Allman-Goddard said she wants to see more video recordings of NIFCA participants available.
The creme de la creme of Barbadian artists attended last night’s function at Hilton Barbados, and heard Allman-Goddard remark that now was the time for participants to have easy access to these materials to promote themselves and their craft.
Additionally, the NCF’s Chief Cultural Officer, Andrea Wells, noted that the agency was committed to ensuring that such recordings were easily available to the performing Arts finalists and have said she hoped that within two weeks of the competition they would be available.
Allman-Goddard, who was also a participant in the 1970s when it was established, said that while the materials could be used as portfolios, they could also be kept as a form of visual culture where future generations were able to watch and appreciate the work of their parents, grandparents and fore parents.
Last night, those in attendance were treated to some of the quality artistry which was exhibited at NIFCA 2011. There was a musical interlude by one of Barbados’ most renowned folk artists, Michael Forde, and a performance by Robert Gibson of his Silver Award winning piece Luscious.
Seventeen year old Sade-Maria Edwards performed an emotional dance titled: In Memory of… and Janine White brought down the house with her hilarious drama speech: Waiting In Line.
The aim at the NCF is to keep the national festival and culture alive and this process is seen as an on-going and evolving exercise. Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley urged Barbadians to celebrate the excellence each artist displayed annually. He described it as “critical” that Barbadians seek to enjoy and celebrate their declaration of the spirit of our culture and Independence.
“Every year we see it at NIFCA; we see the outpourings of excellence, we applaud the contribution and performances. NIFCA provides an opportunity for us to display that we are independent; our artists … they all seek to reinforce that sense of Barbadian identity.
“There is no mistake that we have NIFCA celebrated at the same time as our Independence each year and two festivals connote the kind of excellence that Barbadians are called on to celebrate. They also reconnect us with a very critical part of our history as a people as we strive not only to display out varied talents but as we strive to show Barbadians and visitors alike, that our culture, our very presence are intertwined and we display that not only on the stage but in our lives as well.
“There has got to be that recognition each time that as we celebrate NIFCA we are taking and reflecting on a journey by which we would have come from and arrive at this place. The highlight of our festival, the celebration of our artists, it joins us to celebrate with them and to join them in the expression of their rich culture.
“Independence and NIFCA are so intimately connected but they should bring us to that point of not only identifying with the talent of our artists but also ensuring that we celebrate their interests as they display them on stage or in the various genres of their expression,” he said.
NIFCA is dubbed as the single most celebrated event of Barbados. This year with the introduction the Jackie Opel Award in Music with a top prize of $1,500, there was a 41 per cent increase in entrants with original compositions, Wells said.