Guarding our heritage

Forgotten Footsteps by Richard Alleyne.
Forgotten Footsteps by Richard Alleyne.

Art teachers can be considered watchmen of our heritage.

And there’s an exhibition mounted at the art gallery of the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination that celebrates the “bedrock of the longevity of the creative arts in Barbadian society, the often forgotten accolades of artists as they become teachers of secondary schools across Barbados”.

Describing the exhibition as a “rare encounter”, curator Althea Wood said the show, titled Watchmen of Our Heritage “witnesses the engagement of skill, talent and creativity, in some extraordinary ‘participatory research’ from some of the artists in the Barbadian teaching fraternity”.

The exhibition was officially opened on Sunday and showcases 17 art educators’ collective talents and includes the work of John Walcott, Rono Wee and Wood.

Wood said at the opening that “Strict guardians of our heritage, firm craftsmen of our fate” was the “most intriguing metaphor by Irving Burgie, lyricist of our National Anthem, [and] encapsulates the mission of the Barbadian artist and art educator”.

“[He is] the keeper, the sentinel, the watchman charged with the mandate to observe, protect and serve. Amidst the ever changing perception of the role of the artist and art educator, that of preserving the culture and mores of a society are paramount.

“The creation of visual records, illustrating the life and times of the Barbadian people are the pillars of the preservation of our heritage,” she told the audience, which included Chief Education Officer Laurie King.

Wood, who teaches at Queen’s College, also described the collaboration as “a glimpse into the world of the artist …, the educator.” (DS)

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