The exhibition is reminiscent of the days of the Fine Arts Awards, which established the City Hall as the “exhibition home” of the visual arts throughout the decades of the 80s and 90s.
Tuesday’s event marked the culmination point of a roving exhibition, which has been travelling the island since the launch of Artreach on February 21.
The Cultural Development Foundation sought this year to make the visual arts exhibition a truly national activity by hosting mini-exhibitions in seven communities outside Castries so that the process of building a national audience for the fine arts can begin in earnest.
Chairman of the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) Petrus Compton would explain to the audience that the exhibition is taking place within a radically shifting cultural landscape caused largely by the policy decision by government to focus attention on the development of the creative industries and the decision by the CDF that no longer must the fruits of local creativity be available solely to audiences in the north of the island.
“These two decisions, interacting with each other, are beginning to create a new vibrancy and a positive cultural energy all around Saint Lucia, as both artists and audiences begin to glimpse new possibilities,” Compton said.
The nine-day celebration showcases work from painters, sculptors, photographers, Graphic Artists, textile producers, potters and wire-craft fabricators.
The list includes some acclaimed names as well as not so well known names inclusive of John Phulchere, Alcina Nolley, Cecile Fevriere, Gary Butte, Christopher Cox, Niger Nestor, Ron Savory, Urmie Persaud, Hattie Barnard, Paulinus Herman, Okelle Dusauzay, Ron Henry, Curtlee St. Ange, Winston Fevriere, Ron Savoury, Perry Martial, Anderson Fedee and Mark Fedee.
The exhibitors come from a number of communities around Saint Lucia including Anse-La-Raye, Choiseul, Dennery, Gros Islet and Castries. The CDF Chairman noted a number of demographic related trends that are emerging throughout the Artreach celebration, and the significance of these findings to the prioritization of the programme areas at the Foundation.
“The most interesting, perhaps, being the overwhelming number of females producing craft and textile art as oppose to males who feature strongly in painting, for example. The CDF has taken note of these demographics and will certainly be factoring them in when we develop our training programmes for the visual arts.
Also addressing the gathering was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries, Dr. Kentry Jn Pierre, who lauded the organisers for the success of Festival thus far.
The Visual Arts Festival will run until March 28.