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MacDonald Dixon Speaks on the CSME and the Artist

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Wednesday September 8, 2005 - Trade Advisor to the Ministry of Commerce, Investment and Consumer Affairs and well respected poet, author, and playwright Mr. MacDonald Dixon has called on artistes to harness the unique product that has been shaped by the assimilation of West Indian cultures; and to allow this element to influence their artistic expressions.

In the face of open market competition Mr. Dixon suggested that artists allow their psyche to be informed by their broad heritage. “We are not, despite popular beliefs, African, Indian, European, Chinese or even Amerindian or Mestizo, but we have drawn essences from all these cultures to flavour this unique amalgam, loosely referred to as West Indian. Just as the act of burning and carving notes into discarded oil drums gave the world a new and unique musical instrument, so has the intermingling of cultures produced a new entity. I do not seek here to forsake origins, but to harness them collectively for the benefit of all.”

Mr. Dixon, the feature speaker at the Folk Research Center’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday, September 03rd said the survival of artistes in the CARICOM region would require that citizens show greater support for home grown talents. However he warned artists against settling for mediocrity.

“Mediocrity was always relegated to the back burner at the expense of many a talented artist who never possessed the courage in his lifetime to triumph over his human feelings. Nothing in this regard has changed since the days of Michelangelo and da Vinci and it is expected that those of us who wish to promote our art within the CSME and ultimately to the world must educate ourselves in our chosen disciplines and use this knowledge to improve our skills to enhance the competitive edge necessary for survival but lies dormant in us.”

Mr. Dixon also recommended that alliances be formed to facilitate more cohesion between artistes and artistic organizations. He pointed to the importance of media promotion and the fortitude needed for achieving success.

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