By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
JUNKANOO has been inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity.
The list aims to raise awareness about the importance of intangible cultural heritage worldwide and includes practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and skills that people and communities recognise as part of their cultural heritage.
The Representative List was established in 2003 under the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Countries nominate elements, and an independent expert panel evaluates the submissions to determine if they meet the criteria.
Education Minister Glenys Hanna Martin, who addressed the intergovernmental committee yesterday, noted Junkanoo is the country’s first submission to be inscribed on the list.
She emphasised the cultural significance of Junkanoo.
“More than two centuries ago, the early awakening of the creative expression called Junkanoo was unleashed and it has since survived and thrived through eras of dramatic social, political, and economic change, proving to be an authentic, resilient, and enduring cultural manifestation of a proud people,” she said.
“While its rhythm fundamentally hearken to mother Africa, its evolution has become a modern-day expression of the strength and rich character and triumphant spirit of the Bahamian people.
“Junkanoo is a complex art form –– a rich fusion of brilliant colours, intricate craftwork and design, towering pieces, rhythmic orchestral music of goatskin and cow skin drums, cowbells and brass instruments, choreographed dance.
“It is a merging cultural space for creatives from all walks of life, all ages, men and women in goodly numbers. It attracts spectators in the thousands and because of its infectious energy incites the rocking participation and a pulsating oneness from the sidelines.”