Island of Culture 2014 was officially launched on Monday at the Villa Marina where director Michael Lees told an invited audience: ‘This is the year we tell our story to the world.’
Guests, including the Mayor of Douglas Councillor Carol Malarkey, Island of Culture patron and president of Tynwald, Clare Christian MLC, chairman of the Arts Council Geoff Corkish MLC, who is also chairman of Isle of Man Post Office, and members of the legislature and the Isle of Man Arts Council, along with financial partners and sponsors, heard Mr Lees say that Island of Culture would ‘showcase the Isle of Man as a nation embracing culture and the arts in all its diversity; a people who are challenging and creative, noted for independent thinking, receptive to the new and respectful of the traditional’.
Mr Lees said that 2014 would be a year to celebrate the island’s cultural past and future potential.
Central to celebrations will be nurturing young artistic talent. The youth cultural ambassadors are blues guitarist Davy Knowles, currently working in America, principal trumpet with the London Philharmonia Jason Evans and ballet dancer Lloyd Mayor, now performing with New York’s Martha Graham Dance Company.
Mr Lees also paid tribute to local artist Juan Moore who had designed a set of commemorative stamps ‘which so inspirationally depict the spirit of Island of Culture 2104’. A framed set of these stamps was presented to Mrs Christian.
Mrs Christian MLC congratulated the Arts Council on its work in bringing Island of Culture to fruition and said that her involvement as patron had served to heighten her awareness of the wealth of outstanding artistic talent in the Isle of Man.
Observing that the Island of Culture youth ambassadors were, in the main, recognised more by other nations than by the island community she said she hoped Island of Culture would serve to heighten their recognition locally and encourage other young people to engage in the island’s artistic life.
She urged the people of the Isle of Man to exercise their creativity and stretch their artistic boundaries in the spirit of Island of Culture 2014’s strap line: ‘Be Inspired. Get Involved.’
Ahead of Monday’s official launch, events took place at the weekend that came under the banner of Island of Culture, including live music from Shoh Slanyt and art demonstrations from Matt Owen on Saturday afternoon at the Villa Marina Arcade, while that evening Michael Heritage Trust presented the Oie’ll Verree at Kirk Michael – an evening of Manx dialect performance, music and poetry and drama.
And on Sunday there was a torchlight procession led by the Vikings of Mann with the lighting of a beacon on Peel Beach followed by a fireworks display.
To find out more information about Island of Culture 2014, visit islandofculture.im or email firstname.lastname@example.org