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Wanted – our own designs

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Wanted – our own designs

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Barbadians seem to be complicit victims of the “beads and feathers” syndrome plaguing Kadooment, a veteran designer has said.
And Suzanne Phillips says she believes working with Junior Kadooment designers was the best way to take back Grand Kadooment, while ensuring the talent of local creatives are being utilised.
“We don’t seem to have any problem with the beads and feathers, and I think that our authorities have to actually state, as far as portrayal, we need to see more Barbadiana,” she told the DAILY NATION at a costume showcase at Pelican Village on Sunday, highlighting the work of a two-month master class in costume design. It was facilitated by the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) and the Arts And Sports Fund.
Phillips, the workshop coordinator, added that during her time as a judge, colour coordination of the beads and feathers were used to adjudge the best bands on the road, since “everyone is using the same concept to portray different themes”. She also said Junior Kadooment created a better spectacle than its more mature version.
“In Junior Kadooment you get a lot of creativity, because the schools use themes that are local . . . and the costumes depict that. The Junior Kadooment spectacle engages our local creatives. Grand Kadooment, on the other hand, most of the costumes come in already made and those who make the costumes here engage Trinidadian designers, and I know that for a fact.”
Phillips said an “enabling environment” must be fostered in order for local designers to thrive and create a product that represented the island.
“If the NCF and the Ministry of Culture are basically looking at Crop Over from a commercial point of view, then we are not tapping all of our resources. Some people are obviously not being engaged as they should, which means that the festival could be a lot bigger and more engagement can generate more people who want to bring bands.”
The two-month workshop covered areas like creating concepts and themes for bands, wire bending and band management, among others. (LW)