The first event, produced by the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), for Crop Over 2023 starts next week and runs throughout the Season of Emancipation.
On Africa Day, Thursday, May 25, 2023, the NCF will host the official opening of the Central Bank of Barbados Crop Over Visual Arts Exhibition entitled We Came on Merchant Ships.
The following day, Friday, May 26, the three-part exhibition will then be opened for public viewing at the Queen’s Park Gallery until Thursday, June 22.
The first exhibition, We Came on Merchant Ships – Movement examines movement in its many forms. The works of 29 artists will be on show. The exhibition captures the reason why people move, modalities for movement and the various cultural manifestations of migration – forced and free. Special emphasis will be placed on the transatlantic slave trade.
“Curating this one has not been an easy task simply because it is a painful period in our history especially the show which focuses a lot on the transatlantic slave trade. So we are very excited though to be presenting the information through multimedia presentations such as photography.
She added: “We have digital work. We also have sculptures. Some amazing pieces by amazing artists. We want to keep them under wraps so that you come excited on the Friday, May 26, to see the show. It is a mixed medium, multimedia, all genre show. We are very happy to be presenting such a show this this year.”
“We have 29 wonderful artists. We have so many artists on the island and I am glad that they responded to the theme because the whole idea of introducing themes like this is to get people to think, to research and then you become better for it because at the end of the day you are now collecting a pool of knowledge that you would have gone away with in terms of your own personal interrogation and presenting your sensibility to the public.”
The second exhibition We Came on Merchant Ships – Memories and Identity, which runs from Friday, June 30, to Thursday, July 27, the artists seek to interrogate the intangible aspects of trade. How do memories express themselves in displaced people? How is identity maintained, retained or assimilated within the new land of settlement?
While the third exhibition, We Came of Merchant Ships – Rites, Ritual and Religion running from Friday, August 4 – Thursday, August 31 will see artist visually explore the continuation of rites, rituals and religion from the lands from which the present people of Barbados originated, for example, the Spiritual Baptist, Christianity and the rise of traditional African religions such as the practice of Yoruba, Hindu and other faiths.