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Crop Over Visual Arts Exhibition opens this week

todayMay 24, 2023 311 1


The first event, produced by the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), for Crop Over 2023 starts this week and runs throughout the Season of Emancipation.

The NCF invites the public to the Central Bank of Barbados Crop Over Visual Arts Exhibition entitled We Came on Merchant Ships.

On Friday, May 26, the three-part exhibition will be opened for viewing at the Queen’s Park Gallery until Thursday, June 22.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Culture Senator Dr Shantal Munro-Knight and NCF’s Chief Executive Officer at last year’s event

The series of exhibitions seek to visually explore the concept of the necessity of trade for growth and expansion and all the consequences, rewards and challenges that come from migration, free, forced or otherwise.

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

NCF’s Curator Oneka Small admits that although the topic is a tough one to approach, the Foundation was excited to showcase such a serious yet sensitive project using art.

“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.”

Curator Oneka Small

Small is curating the exhibition alongside colleague NCF’s Visual Arts Officer Rodney Ifill, who commended the artists for stepping up and exploring the topic.

“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.”

Cultural Officer Visual Arts Rodney Ifill 

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 – RitesRitual and Religion running fromFriday,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.  

An artist at the Glitch Creative Cooldown which was part of last year’s Crop Over Visual Arts Exhibition

For more information on details relating to the Exhibition, please contact Oneka Small via email at and Rodney Ifill Visual Arts Officer via email at


Written by: Info NCF

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