For a more open definition of the word “culture” – december 11, 2011
Author: Florence POIRIER-NKPA
During this election campaign, some politicians of Saint Martin try to figure out who the operators or future operators of the various activities of their society are.
Finance, Economy, Tourism, Education, Environment, Security, Taxation and Culture are the main sectors targeted.
Today, I speak to you as an artist and my only goal through this communication is to take advantage of this election time to make my voice heard on the word “Culture”.
What does that word generally mean to me, whose activity known as “artistic” is linked to Culture? I would also like to open its meaning and see what are the stakes of a policy that should be just as much oriented towards towards Culture as it is towards economy, finances and tourism, to allow each individual in this society to find their place.
In Saint Martin, culture is usually associated with heritage. This heritage’s value is ineluctable, for culture is maintained over time because of it. It then becomes an identity marker that people cannot do without.
If heritage thus brings a historical dimension to the culture of the past, I wonder: what about the culture of the present? And culturally today, what do we give to History that will be part of Saint Martin’s heritage in 100 years? An artistic production associated to arts and crafts without conscience? Yes. But also a quick answer to the equation: buying + reselling = profits… thanks to the crafts mass importers.
According to Francisco Almeida (Director of the Culture and Development association) during a symposium called “Culture and Creation. Factors of Development):
“Culture is part of a sphere where society expresses its connection to the world, its originality, where society analyses itself and projects its future. As the foundation on which the organization and the operating of the society are based on, culture determines the style and the content of the social and economic development.”
Culture through music, dance, literature, gastronomy, architecture, crafts but also arts (because those two words aren’t synonymous) is the mean of expression that creates economy thanks to the human activities linked to it!
So as a citizen of Saint Martin, I encourage every operator of the island’s cultural and creative life to commit to a well thought out construction of their own culture, without thinking about defining their mode of expression against what already exists! I encourage them instead to do so in full autonomy, so that their identity and posterity could be defined not only in terms of respect of a specific identity in Saint Martin but also in terms of capacity regarding innovation and the creation of a specific culture in the 21st century.