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Bigger, better NIFCA

Yvette Best

Bigger, better NIFCA

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Additional awards, increased entries in many categories and several innovations are all part of the 2011 National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA).
As part of the thrust to ensure that the tradition of excellence continues, chief cultural officer Andrea Wellsof the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) said some of the innovations were in dance, drama/speech and culinary arts.
The number of dance entrants for the finals, which come off November 1 to 4 at the Frank Collymore Hall, has been increased, separate criteria developed for speech in the drama/speech segment and the culinary calendar has been expanded.     
Wells was speaking at the launch of the 38th staging of NIFCA at Hilton Barbados on Thursday night.
She told the audience that four new awards would be presented in film/video and photography. One is to be named for the late Erskine Callender, who was a former chief judge in the category of film/video.
“These new prizes join the growing list of incentives for participants and serve to make their journey through NIFCA rewarding, not only this year but potentially for years to come,” Wells said.
“Although primarily developmental, NIFCA, unlike other festivals, is extremely broad-based and designed to bring more of our citizens’ talent to national attention . . . .
“We’re pleased to know that most members of the 2011 Barbadian Culinary Team have won many top awards at NIFCA, prior to their regional gold award at the Taste of the Caribbean annual regional professional competition.
“That example highlights the critical role that NIFCA plays in early identification and rewarding of local talent. It also underscores the quality of judging that is a central part of this national festival.”
According to Wells, music has seen the most notable increase in all categories.
There has been an “extraordinary” 40 per cent increase in that discipline. She said there had been a decrease in dance, but “encouraging reports had been received about the diversity and quality being demonstrated this year”.
She noted that more spoken word artistes were participating in drama/speech and there was a growing number of books in the Literary Arts, which indicated greater interest in self-publishing. Poetry continues to dominate that category, however.
Acting Minister of Culture Michael Lashley said Barbados had already demonstrated that its culture was internationally competitive.
In welcoming members of the audience, NCF chairman Monique Taitt said their intention was to make sure that, like Crop Over 2011, this year’s staging of NIFCA would be the best ever.