All the world’s a stage, we’re merely players
Without culture, and the relative freedom it implies, society, even when perfect, is but a jungle. This is why any authentic creation is a gift to the future. – Albert Camus, French author and philosopher.
IT’S?EVER?THE?CAUSE?CÉLÈBRE: declared disrespect for the arts by some of our Barbadian people. This controversial issue, which has attracted much attention in the past, will no doubt be again on the front burner this Crop Over season.
We have Professor Gladstone Yearwood to thank for that.
Speaking on Friday night at a motion picture arts graduation ceremony at the Errol Barrow Centre For Creative Imagination (EBCCI), the professor declared that many people and entities in Barbados were “not taking aspects of our cultural industry seriously”.
One such aspect the EBCCI director spoke to was film making.
This time-honoured international art form is still much at its embryonic stage in Barbados; and if one should go by the professor’s lament, such a state will be for a long time.
He sees the treatment of Barbadian film making – by society in general and by those who should be sponsors and patrons in particular – as “a sorry rejection of Barbadian intellect and creativity”.
Professor Yearwood didn’t make it clear whether it was “rejection” by contempt or through ignorance.
But many educated Barbadians do think our culture unworthy of their recognition and support – and not without backing sometimes from the same artistes they ignore.
Our artistes must ensure that the product they present is of a high standard and can be justified as representing what we are as a people – not that which is imported wholesale and is as base as it is abominable.
Few artistes make use of our rich folk music, for example, and fewer yet of the powers that be have any time for it. And, our traditional capacity for great oral reading – in standard English – tragically has given way to sanitized bad grammar and erroneous pronunciation that now pass for the urban tongue and hip hop communication on our airwaves all day long.
Of course, we can do better. We can make a concerted effort to pull ourselves out of the morass of mediocrity that would engulf us, striving after cultural excellence.
Then we might have a case to demand recognition from and respect of the contemptuous kind among us – and cut back on the lamenting.
Our future depends on it.