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Remarks by the Prime Minister at the Presentation of Junkanno Pieces to NAMOC




I am happy for the opportunity to visit The China National Museum of Fine Arts here in the lovely capital city of Beijing. I have been especially impressed by the magnificent collections and masterpieces of modern and contemporary works by your talented artists.

Art so often tells the story of a people as your fine exhibits show. For us in The Bahamas Junkanoo, a music parade and costume extravaganza, is an important facet of our social culture. Inherited from our African forefathers, Junkanoo is an integral part of our cultural imagination. Today it is one of the more popular and dynamic expressions of Bahamian cultural heritage.

This festival of freedom is inextricably tied in the minds of Bahamians with Boxing Day and New Years’ celebrations. Yet, its brilliance is not bound by any season, class or creed and it has become the music we use to mark significant national milestones.
I am very pleased therefore to be able to share examples of our cultural heritage with the Chinese people. These Junkanoo pieces have been hand crafted by skilled and talented artists in the Bahamas. They are beautifully decorated with vibrant colour using crepe paper, paint, glitter, beads and other ornaments. They represent some of what one might see paraded by our Bahamian junkanooers, during our Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
And so it is my great pleasure to present to you this evening, five beautiful Junkanoo pieces to be added to your impressive art collection. These pieces depict the mystical wonders, rich culture and heritage of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. They are also a part of the success story of the Shanghai Expo 2010, marking The Bahamas’ participation in the Expo and they are a tribute to the spirit of friendship and cooperation already established between our two countries.