Barbadian artist and entrepreneur Annalee Davis believes the creative industries can earn foreign exchange for Barbados if the island created an environment which supports and acknowledges the work of visual artists.
“I believe that visual artists can contribute to a more diversified economy and help shape the sunrise industries as strong revenue and community builders, but the complex infrastructure required to support the arts needs to be enhanced,” Davis, a Bimventures entrepreneur stated.
Through her art gallery Manipura, Davis hopes to reach out to her immediate environment, “outside of the traditional art world,” and participate in public interventions which will contribute to “free expression through community-based projects.”
“I believe in the power of our imagination to visualise new worlds. While our society becomes increasingly mechanised and computerised, and while we are pressured into being consumers, we sometimes forget our ability to be innovative,” she said. “If there ever was a time that our economies needed to harness inspired and imaginative thinking, it is now. Curious minds need to be encouraged.”
Through an existing relationship with Workman’s Primary School in St. George, Manipura will collaborate with the staff and students to transform the school through a mural project. Davis explains she has particularly enjoyed working with the students and both the principal and the art teacher and wants to build a long term relationship with the school.
“The plan is to continue on the Workman’s Primary School Mural Project which includes eight murals, one for each class so that each student at the school will be involved in the process”.
A second post-mural phase could include a design for the chain link fence that surrounds the primary school. “I became inspired by a project I recently saw in Denver where a community knitted flowers and attached them to 350 metres of chain link fences surrounding a construction area. It was a refreshing solution to transform a drab public environment in such a simple way. That is what I want to do with this project – take this educational environment filled with beautiful children and make it look more like somewhere they can play, learn and be curious and imaginative.”
She hoped to get parents, grandparents of the students as well as the wider community involved in the fence project. “It can unite people, shape a more beautiful school, build self-esteem and instill happiness.”