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Embrace ‘all aspects’ of our culture

marciadottin, [email protected]

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IT IS TIME to recognise all art as integral to the Crop-Over celebration.Speaking at the launch of the Central Bank Crop-Over Visual Arts Festival Exhibition at the Grande Salle last Wednesday, Minister of Community Development and Culture Steve Blackett said people needed to embrace all aspects of cultural expression.“Music, dance and masquerade are the popular forms of cultural expression more readily associated with Crop-Over and, very often, they are misconstrued as defining our culture. As a nation, however, we need to acknowledge and extol the value of every defining form of cultural expression. It is time to appreciate fully that the arts, in their various forms, are integral to the celebration of Crop-Over. “We have evolved from, and have been shaped or influenced by the plantation culture as well as a variety of others. Through fusion over the years, we have developed our own brand of culture and Crop-Over is the primary event for showcasing it,” he said.Join Ministry of CultureIn reiterating his ministry’s commitment to emphasising the importance of culture and the arts, Blackett encouraged people to join with his ministry in working towards the overall development of the arts and creating economic opportunities for individuals and groups.“We believe strongly that involvement in cultural and artistic activities provides opportunities for creative expression to be encouraged and to be nurtured. Music, dance, drama, visual arts, all types of design, especially those in the new digital area – these are all activities which bring out a creativity that might otherwise lie dormant and untapped. “Through these activities, our young people in particular can learn how to convert destruction into construction. These activities can help them to focus and to channel their energies in positive directions,” he said.PotentialBlackett added that if appropriately managed and developed, cultural industries had the potential to open doors to job opportunities in non-traditional areas.The exhibition runs through August 9 and is divided into three parts. The first part is Fibre Arts/Textiles, which concludes on July 14. It will be replaced by 2-Dimensional Fine Art from July 17 to 26 and concludes with 3-Dimensional Work.Entries for the exhibition surpassed 100 for the first time.Artists Ireka Jelani, Ann Rudder and Margaret Herbert are the three finalist vying for the coveted Central Bank Award, which has been increased to $7 500. Honorable mention was made of the work of Maria Elias and Mark Daniel.