Tuesday 27 October, 2020

Barbados' first National Art Gallery in the works

Barbadian art will soon have a home.

Word of comes from Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, after he browsed the pop-up exhibition Revo'clectic, which is running from April 5 to April 18, upstairs Massy SuperCentre Warrens.

The gallery features 100 displays from 50 of the 115 artists who form the group Artist Alliance of Barbados, which hosts pop-up exhibitions across the island to give persons the opportunity to display their work.

When asked by Loop about the development of a National Art Gallery, Minister Lashley said that efforts are on to create a permanent home for Barbadian art:

"Yes, we are pursuing the permanent home, which is the National Art Gallery.

"A building has already been identified, which is part of the Garrison- which is Block A - and we are negotiating the handover of the keys from the Ministry of Housing and Lands."

He however noted that financial constraints present some challenges for completing this initiative:

"That paves the way to then outfit the building. Much of the national collection is currently stored in Holetown in a facility that is not the best, which just underscores the need for a National Art Gallery.

"Of course we need to be able to outfit the building, we need money to do it - I haven't seen the money yet, but the intent is there. We have gone to the stage where a building has been identified, so that is certainly a way forward. We now need to be able to get the funds to outfit the building."

While urging the private sector to play its role in advancing the cultural industries in Barbados, he stressed that Government is committed to the initiative:

"A National Art Gallery is not just a building, it has to be done in a professional way and it has to be spacious and we believe that Block A at the Garrison gives us that in terms of moving forward.

“When we get the money of course we can look at building it out, but I think this is a positive development for Barbados, the local artistic community has been calling for it for many, many years. So the fact that we have been able to identify the building does suggest that Government is serious about the development of a national art gallery."

Take a look at the gallery to see some of the exhibits you can peruse upstairs Massy Store Warrens.

FEATURED PHOTO: Randall Banfield, Managing Director of Massy Stores (Barbados) Ltd; Curator, Oneka Small; Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley; Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), Cranston Browne; and Marketing Manager at Massy Stores (Barbados) Ltd, Karen Alleyne, discuss one of the displays at the Revo'clectic exhibition.

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