Junkanoo pieces, straw work on display at Florida’s Broward Mall

Junkanoo pieces, straw work on display at Florida’s Broward Mall
Straw work on display at the Nassau Straw Market (IMAGE COURTESY OF WWW.BAHAMAS.COM)

PLANTATION, FLORIDA — The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation (BMOTA) announced yesterday that it has teamed up with the organizers of the Island Society for the Promotion of Artistic and Cultural Education (SPACE) Caribbean Museum to showcase the “history, authentic Junkanoo culture and straw industry of The Bahamas” with a display at Westfield Broward Mall in Plantation, Florida.

According to the ministry, Island SPACE is launching an 18-month-long exhibit at the mall, dedicated to displaying the varying aspects of Caribbean culture. A different culture will be displayed every six months, with the first six months featuring The Bahamas. An official opening ceremony is expected to take place at the mall next month.

Executive Director of Island SPACE Caribbean Museum Calibe Thompson noted: “Our goal through the creation of this 1,500-square-foot Caribbean Museum project is to educate and inform of our history, promote diversity, build cultural tolerance and celebrate our ancestry, heritage and common traditions of the Caribbean.

“The Caribbean diaspora and influence in South Florida are substantial. In fact, according to the 2017 Census data, one in every four persons in South Florida are of Caribbean decent.”

Island SPACE is an NGO “dedicated to the development and advancement of arts, culture, history and educational initiatives that represent the Caribbean region in South Florida and the broader diaspora community”. The organization produces numerous cultural events including the Taste of the Islands festival.

BMOTA Director of Sales and Marketing Betty Bethell-Moss described the ministry’s partnership with Island SPACE as a “perfect marriage”.

“Westfield Broward Mall is not only the central hub for people from the Caribbean, but it also attracts a number of Florida residents and other visitors, who frequently visit The Bahamas,” she said. “The opportunity to partner with Island SPACE in this promotion was a logical one and perfect marriage for us.

“One of our major goals has been to stimulate travel to The Bahamas by staying visible within the market as we seek to keep The Bahamas at the top of mind with consumers. We know that people want to travel, experience a different culture and connect while doing so. Florida is so close to us, less than 50 miles away, so this is quick, easy and safe to do so.”

Bethell-Moss added, “The Bahamas has a rich, diverse and colorful history. Through this interactive exbibit, we are able to tell our own story, beginning with the history of those who came before us, from the Lucayan Indians to the Loyalists, enslaved Africans, colonialism, as well as the development of the various trades, all of which have shaped who we are as a people and are highlighted in our video and audio presentations and replicated in our authentic Junkanoo and straw craft displays.”