IT WAS a proud moment yesterday, as four outstanding Barbadians were presented with the coveted 2016 NIFCA Governor General’s Award for Excellence.
In the presence of Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation Cranston Browne, Chief Cultural Officer Andrea Wells and family members, Damien Leach, Esther Phillips, Yolande Holder and Jason Hope were awarded by Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave at his official residence during a brief ceremony and reception yesterday morning.
Saying that it has been a good year professionally, 31-year-old Damien Leach, who won the Caribbean Chef of the Year title at the 2016 Taste of the Caribbean competition earlier this year, said the Governor General award is the icing on the cake, particularly as it’s the island’s 50th anniversary of Independence.
His “Bajan Marinated Pork Loin and Charred Striploin with smoked plantain and shrimp croquette, ginger and scotch bonnet conkie puree, pickled beets, and torched cucumber” won favour with the judges in the Culinary Arts section. The 31-year-old says professionally he is looking forward to a busy tourist season at the recently opened Cocktail Kitchen in St. Lawrence Gap, which he runs.
Ester Phillips is a senior member of Barbados’ professional literary community who has shaped the industry with her contribution at many levels. Her writing is noted to be characterised by its faith – a faith in her country, in the poet’s craft, and in ‘the master craftsman’ of Christian belief. Her book Leaving Atlantis focuses on the iconic George Lamming. She is currently working on her fourth collection of poems, but encourages readers to see another side of Lamming in her published work.
Yolanda Holder was awarded for her piece “House Maid’s Lament” in the Theatre Arts category.
She has been performing on stage and screen for over 20 years in Barbados and beyond and is a previous NIFCA award winner in speech and drama. A director in Double Laugh Theatre Productions, a small theatre/stage management company which educates through comedy, Holder said even though her sense of achievement comes from her audience’s response to her work. However, she admitted that she was emotional on finding out she was named the winner in the category. “To see you have been recognised for your work and recognised in an environment for so long – it is really a good feeling. Within the discipline of drama, you have spoken word, speech but not a lot of movement on stage and I want to thank my director Icil Phillips who assisted me,” she said.
Jason Hope has won multiple awards at various national exhibitions and competitions and is best known for his sculpting of public works such as the Frank Worrell monument which is located outside the National Insurance building at Culloden Road. This is the second year that he has won the NIFCA Governor General’s award. He said his winning piece which focuses on road tennis, was chosen because it is uniquely Bajan particularly as the island celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence. His winning piece last year was entitled Two Bad Johns Fighting Over a Barrel of Rum. (JH)