Mrs Catherine Abelema Afeku, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, has announced the Government’s preparedness to partner Cuban artists to mount cultural and historical sculptures to promote tourism.
The sculptures would honour individuals who have fought to leave a legacy in the history of the country and preserved the country’s customs, traditions and history for generational reference. The Minister disclosed this at a meeting with a Cuban delegation led by Mr Pedro Luis Despaigne Gonzalez, the Cuban Ambassador to Ghana, on Thursday in Accra.
Mrs Afeku noted that this year is a “year of return,” where Ghana would open doors for the African Diaspora and beyond to share knowledge, cultures, and creative abilities with other nations to promote international development.
She said the Cuban delegation, including the sculptors, were taken on tour of the country to observe some historical places such as the Elmina and Cape Coast castles, to help in the deliberations before the final decisions were made.
The Minister noted that the two countries had agreed to have the sculptor train and work with some Ghanaian artists to create more employment opportunities for the youth. She explained that deliberations by the group of art experts would determine which parts of the country would have such monuments and sculptures.
Mr Gonzalez said Ghana was the first nation Cuba had diplomatic relations with, hence it was fully prepared to help the nation preserve its history and culture through arts. “We intend to fulfil the interest of Ghanaians by putting her history in an artistic way. We would demonstrate our support through art and this year, being the year of return, all Africans need to be proud,” he said.
He noted that Cuba received more than one million slaves from Africa during the slave trade, amongst who were Ghanaians, who were treated inhumanly during that period. Mr Gonzalez said the story was brought to life again after visiting the Elmina and Cape Coast castles yesterday.
“We are willing to support Ghana 100 per cent to promote its culture and mark its history.” “We need to leave history for our children and grandchildren so that by learning, they would know where they are coming from and where they need to go.”
Mr Alberto Lescay Neruncio, a Sculptor, Painter and Designer, who would be in charge of the mounting of the sculptures, said knowledge was more than information, adding; “The one who engages in painting, sculptures, and monuments, has to be well informed and knowledgeable”.
“This is my first trip to Africa and it’s an honour for me to work with Africa, and particularly Ghana, at the time that she is observing the year of return,” he said. He called for discipline and commitment on the part of the sculptors to ensure a successful execution of the projects.
Mr Neruncio was born in 1950 and discovered that he could express himself better in arts than words at age nine.