Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism, Dr the Honourable Lincoln Douglas. Photo courtesy most.gov.tt
July 10, 2012:
I am truly happy to be here with you today to bring greetings from the Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism. As many of you would know, I only recently took on the role of Minister at my ministry – a mere two weeks ago, actually. Thus far, the experience has been an exciting and rewarding one and I anticipate that it will become even more so as I fulfill the responsibilities of my new post.
But, ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, I am especially pleased this morning to have the opportunity to share my thoughts with you - our treasured young people - gathered here today. Allow me to say this early in the game: regardless of your final placing in the overall results of this amazing Art competition, I would like you to know that every one of you is a winner! You are all winners… so give yourselves a rousing round of applause. (PAUSE).
By virtue of the fact that you were willing to offer yourself for selection, by publicly sharing your talent and artistry with the rest of us, you have indeed triumphed. To do that takes a certain measure of courage and a willingness to accept the outcome – no matter what it may be. So, on that note I say: “Congratulations” and “good job!”
This year, as we celebrate the golden anniversary of the Independence of our beloved country, the Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism, and by extension, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, has placed emphasis on the notion of passion, pride and patriotism. I am thrilled to see that Powergen, the patron of today’s event, has opted to invite entries that recognize this milestone accomplishment in our nation’s history. This is not only timely, but it is fitting and it is welcome.
By providing a platform for the immeasurable creative talents of our youth, Powergen has challenged you to conceptually explore “sweet, sweet T&T”. In so doing, the Company has generated more than a spark of interest, but has stirred up the desire to create. You young people responded to the call to action. You have used your hands, your head and your heart to bring forth what lies deep within you, allowing your respective works of art to lie bare on a canvas. Somebody else might choose to do so on a page, a screen or a stage, but in the end, each of you will reap tremendous rewards.
It was the artist Pablo Picasso who once surmised that “every child is an artist… The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”.
And that is where we, as adults, bear a large part of the responsibility. Whether it is through our mission as Government and chief custodian of the arts and culture, or as collaborator in public-private partnerships, we have a duty first, to identify your talents and skills, and then provide fertile ground upon which those talents can grow, develop and become sustainable.
My dear students, I can almost sense the power of your potential by just observing your young faces this morning. You are all poised to embark upon the spectacular journey of life. If your journey happens to be one infused with art and artistic expression, we support you and we honour the greatness within you.
As Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism and as an artist myself in many respects, there is a part of me that will encourage you to simply create… in whatever medium you choose or however you might choose to do it. Indeed, it helps you to discover who you are. It is a therapeutic process.
But in my role as administrator and facilitator of the development of a buoyant and thriving creative and cultural industry, I equally urge you to continue honing your craft... because we, at the Ministry, are deeply committed to the task of building industries that will be self-sustaining in time to come… industries within a new economy that specific provisions to bolster artists and artisans of all kinds.
I can tell you that this is no easy task, but we press on purposefully. Who knows if today in this room we will exchange pleasantries with the next Leroy Clarke or Sybil Atteck… the next Pat Bishop or Carlisle Chang? And in that regard, we owe it to you to provide an equitable and enabling environment of support. My dear boys and girls, the possibilities are rich, real and endless!
And so I would like to leave you with that assurance this morning; that in my remit at the Arts and Multiculturalism Ministry, our key focus will be on creating sustainability within the creative and cultural sectors, through a consultative process. I urge all of you to work together with us to bring this to fruition for the benefit of all of us.
I truly believe that your life is better lived and decidedly enhanced when you are happy doing what you love to do. Passion is a great motivator. Use it in your pursuits!
As I close I would like to extend gratitude to the principals at Powergen for inviting me to this function. I wish you every success as you continue to create “legacy” projects through which our youth can be deeply engaged at all times.
And of course, to all our winners this morning, congratulations, once again.
May God bless our nation. I thank you.