Promoting awareness through competition

Teacher, Hirute Yaicob, and student, Zerayaicob Yaicob, of the Rock Christian School ready to participate in the competition.

by Kimberley Cummins

Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.

These were the words of pioneer of animated cartoon films, Walt Disney, many years ago and these words still hold fast for the differently able community even in 2013.

In 2008, the Barbados Council for the Disabled introduced a literary competition to challenge primary and secondary school students and the general public to produce essays, poems and dramatic pieces on a wide range of topics covering disability issues and challenges. While the response over the years has been “favourable” this year they are taking it a step further with the addition of a poster competition.

The inaugural poster competition was launched this morning at Harambee House in the historic Garrison area.

Speaking at the event, chairperson of the art sub-committee, Patricia Taylor, explained that similar to the literary exercise, the primary objective of the poster competition was to promote awareness of the countless issues facing people with disabilities. The theme chosen for the competition is My vision of a fully accessible Barbados, in keeping with the council’s national fully accessible Barbados programme where the vision is based on an inclusive society for all.

Representative for the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Special Education Officer Janice Gibbs, said the ministry was pleased to support the new effort of the BCD. She also stated that they hoped, in the near future, the committee could further expand the scope of the competition to include to short animations as a way to get their message across to a larger number of people. “We are pleased with the advent of the media of drawing, painting and graphic art as an additional means of self- expression bearing in mind that our students do use these media for self expression sometimes more so than poetry. We are sure that the offerings in this year’s competition will sharply bring your theme … into focus as you seek to portray persons with disabilities in a positive light. It is hoped that both teachers in mainstream and special schools at both our primary and secondary levels will make this a part of the term’s Visual Arts activity.

“The offerings of this competition will, I am sure, go a long way in bringing to the Barbadian society the importance of positive representations† of persons with disabilities. These types of competitions are very valuable in sensitizing the next generation to the fact that persons with disabilities are deserving of respect, social justice and equity,” Gibbs said.

The competition will be divided into four age categories: eight and nine year old, 10 to 11, 12 to 13 and 14 to 15 years old. The deadline for the submission of entries is March 8 and the winning pieces will be exhibited at an awards ceremony on March 27 during the month of the disabled. In addition, it was also hoped that they would be displayed to the general public at an arts and craft market in Bridgetown as well as on the council’s website.

There will be a number of attractive prizes for the artists and their respective art departments but the ultimate prize will be a place in the BCD’s 2014 calender.

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