Barbados’ 38th anniversary of independence was the toast of the town in Washington Tuesday evening, with an art exhibition and reception at the Organization of American States’ (OAS) headquarters celebrating the Caribbean nation’s important political milestone, which falls on November 30.The art exhibition spotlighting Ras Ishi Butcher’s mixed media creations and Ras Akyem I Ramsey’s acrylic on canvas paintings remains open to the public at OAS headquarters until Friday, after which it moves to the Barbados Embassy in Washington until December 31.
Barbados’ Ambassador to the OAS, Michael King, brought greetings from Prime Minister Owen Arthur to the guests, and implored his compatriots to continue, as Barbadians and as citizens of the Caribbean, to promote efforts that will lead to a good quality of life for citizens of the Caribbean. At the reception, which followed the formal opening of the art showcase, Ambassador King spoke about Barbados’ economic and other achievements amid “tremendous challenges” such as globalization and natural disasters, but warned against complacency.
King underscored the important role small nations like his play in international development, arguing that their voices should be heard. He also pledged the continued contribution of Barbados to the inter-American community to help find effective ways to redress the poverty that afflicts more than 200 million people in this hemisphere.
Of the featured artists - who live in Barbados - King noted their works have won many awards and recognition in the Caribbean and beyond. He praised Ras Ishi and Ras Akyem particularly because “they have really served Barbados well in terms of bringing the visual arts to a high level.”
The Ambassador also thanked the sponsors for their willing assistance in mounting the Barbados independence celebration in Washington.
During the opening of the art exhibition, Paul Spencer welcomed the Barbadian nationals as well as the diplomats and other guests on the OAS Acting Secretary General’s behalf. He saluted the Barbadian independence anniversary as well as the “fine” exhibition.
Complimenting the artists for “depicting a way of life that is part of the cultural identity of the Caribbean,” he called the artistic showcase a fitting celebration of Caribbean culture in honor of Barbados’ 38th anniversary of independence.