Hey Beatfreeks and family!
Long time no shout! It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me and to be honest it’s been a while since I heard from myself. Things have been crazy here in Barbados. I mean, the life of the freelance artist is never just a walk in the park anywhere in the world. But here? It’s more like a jog on the beach.
In one way it’s beautiful. Bajan’s are some of the most talented, most push-demselves, most powerful artists I’ve ever seen. I wish I could give you all my eyes so that you could see what my people does do pun a platform! I’ve seen men shake the stage with their bare feet and women bring crowds to tears with their silence. I have seen a lot in the year and a bit I’ve been back and all those precious moments are like beautiful sunsets that make the hard work worth it, while wiping off your sweat.
But in another way, building a creative business here is hard. Drudging is a better word. Art funding in Barbados is difficult, and we have a culture that constantly asks us “But what do you really do for a living”. It’s enough to make you pick up two jobs to hold down the bills, ’cause love of the art doan buy groceries but hey.
So while I was busy trying to feed my belly, and plan for the next monthly event I would forget to catch my breath and look ahead. Then when I took moments of stillness to plan I would begin to feel guilty and indulgent for standing still for too long when I should be running towards a goal. It’s a vicious cycle. But, that’s another beautiful thing about Barbados, the community is strong in their continued support of us.
Our event Poetry Lime is a huge success, even moving to an art gallery that enables the artist to feel heard and exhibit their craft. We hosted a Music Lime in collaboration with the fantastic local conscious reggae band, “Kalead & Kayaweh”. We also hosted a Poetry Lime on the beach during the Carifesta (Caribbean Arts Festival). And every month we continue to grow. I can only thank my youth directors and the committed participants of the event for that.
And I won’t lie to you, for a while I got complacent, thinking one event is enough. But it’s not. 2017 was a steep learning curve to remind us that we deserve more, and we deserve to get paid for what we do. So I have partnered with two other artists, who have been with me from the get go: Faith Johnson and Jovana Johnson, to be apart of the team, and figure out how we can be more efficient as a business and provide more for our community.
I came to Barbados to be the middle-woman between young artists and bigger companies that need artistic input for branding. Beatfreeks Barbados was an extension of a business model based in Birmingham U.K. We’ve learnt so much from our first 18 months working as Beatfreeks Barbados and it’s given us the structure & skills to explore what we need. And what we need, is to focus on building up right from the ground. A space for young Bajan artists which offers creative performance spaces designed to promote arts and culture. These aren’t just my dreams, but a whole team. We’re stepping up and taking the experiment even further moving into our own brand ‘Frenetic Arts’.
Frenetic Arts will be a space for young Bajan artists, by young Bajan artists, which offers creative performance spaces and workshops designed to promote arts within the cultural atmosphere.
No longer are these dreams just my own, but the dream of a team, and we are going to step into a new name, a new business and new focus.
Nice to meet you.
Written by Luci Hammans