The Cultural Development Foundation brought the 2013 National Arts Festival to a fitting climax on Sunday, April 14 with a gala finale at the National Cultural Centre.
Among the main highlights of the closing were a number of electrifying performances by artists and artistic groups deemed by the CDF to emerge as “the best of the best” from the six week islandwide festival of the Arts.
The grand event attracted the attendance of a substantial audience comprising the Governor General of Saint Lucia Dame Pearlette Louisy, the Minister for Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries, Lorne Theophilus, other ministers of government, members of the diplomatic corp, as well as major sponsors and representatives from festival stakeholder agencies around the Saint Lucia.
Youth On Fire, a creative group from Anse La Raye emerged as Most Promising New Artists in 2013, specifically because of the diversity of the group’s expression. Youth on Fire’s effective melding of dance, poetry, acting and song into a single artistic piece was seen to be innovative and exploratory.
Under Literary Arts, the poetry prize went to Modeste Downes for “Theatre of the Mind”. The prose prize went to Dawn French for ‘Invictus and Noel’. Tracy J Dolcy copped the drama prize for ‘Mirror Image’ and Aliscia Valasse took the creative journalism prize.
For the visual arts component of the community festivals, all six winners emerged out of popular voting. The people selected the piece ‘Old Road Cricket’ by Choiseul’s Ron Henry, Dennery’s Paulinus Herman’s ‘Clean Diving’ and Gregory Henry from Vieux Fort for ‘EC$100 Bill’. Anderson Amedee of Anse La Raye won for ‘Mole Street’, and Niger Nestor of Choiseul who participated in the Laborie exposition won for his piece entitled ‘Carl Gustave’. From Castries, Santouch Valcin emerged winner of the People Choice Award for ‘Architectural Love’.
As it relates to composition and production of contemporary music, CDF selected young Saint Lucian composers at the prime of their careers as trendsetters in the popular genres of Reggae, Calypso and R&B. One is Zepherin “Face” Calixte who has written extensively for finalist and monarch grade Calypsonians over the last two decades.
For Reggae, the CDF celebrated the work of Meshack Nestor as an authentic latter day exponent of both the expression and the philosophy of reggae. Francis “Leebo” De Lima stood out as both a composer and producer straddling both popular entertainment genres of music as well as commercially oriented musical products.
The most prestigious award of the night was synonymous with ‘lifetime’ recognition for extensive and documented contribution to the arts. This year Trinidadian/Saint Lucian Gene Lawrence was set apart as a champion of Caribbean Folk with his seminal contributions in theatre musicals, folk Jazz, Calypso, storytelling and spoken word within the Caribbean.
Chairman of the CDF Petrus Compton likened the culminating milestone of the Festival to a new chapter in celebration of the Arts and to the direction and growth of the Creative Industries in