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Celebrating Bahamian talent

Published: Oct 07, 2013

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The arts flourish in The Bahamas during the Christmas season.  From the first of December to the new year, hardly a day exists without a performance or festival.  The Bahamas must embrace its talented artisans and encourage appreciation for our cultural heritage year round.

Sparked by celebrations for the birth of Christ, December is a showcase for choral renditions and artisans selling wares for Christmas presents, culminating with the spectacular Junkanoo parade and competition.

The Christmas season brings the Jollification, wine and art festivals, the Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF), numerous craft fairs, and performances by the Bahamas National Symphony Orchestra, the Nassau City Opera Company, the Bahamas National Youth Choir and others.

The Bahamas is rich in talent.  And young Bahamians are pressing forward and displaying this talent.

We vie for tourists to play on our beaches, yet neglect, almost purposefully, to fully appreciate Bahamian culture.  We encourage our tourists to shop at the straw market but make little effort to attract attention to other local art studios.

The restoration of Villa Doyle, now the National Art Gallery, and Hillside House, the studio of Antonius Roberts, are great examples of how much can be achieved through determination, patience, forethought and funding.  Lynden Pindling International Airport, the gateway to The Bahamas, showcases Bahamian artists and athletes.  But we must do more.

Support for the arts is crucial, particularly in these times of financial restraint.  Most importantly, we must instill a passion for the arts in our youth.  We must expose them to art and music, avenues that expose a healthy analysis of culture.  Playing a musical instrument, singing, painting and sculpting require discipline and continuous practice in order to excel.

The Nassau Guardian highlights artists and performances each Friday and Saturday with the Pulse and Arts&Culture sections, respectively.  The arts are a powerful magnifier of culture.

Additional emphasis on teaching music and the arts in schools can help expand the local culture industries.  We have yet to truly maximize the commercial potential of “selling The Bahamas” to the millions of people who visit here each year.  These people seek to buy unique items from a unique place and they seek to hear unique sounds from a unique culture.

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