July 28, 2021, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Work from 25 visual artists from across the Caribbean is currently on display in a virtual Visual Arts Biennial, the culmination of a recent accelerator programme funded by the Cultural and Creative Industries Innovation Fund (CIIF) of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). CDB awarded over US$ 16,000 in grant funding to support the artists’ participation in the I.C.E. (Incubator for Collaborative Expression) Caribbean, a virtual accelerator supported by CIIF in collaboration with Animae Caribe between April 7 to May 6, 2021. The accelerator was supported under CIIF’s Improved Competitiveness of MSMEs (ICM) Grant Stream. CIIF received 43 applications from across 15 of CDB’s 19 Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) from which 25 participants were selected through a rigorous evaluation process. The selected participants represented 12 member countries, namely – Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Suriname, The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago. The virtual accelerator programme with the theme “Statelessness” brought into focus the transversal capacity of the visual arts as it intersects with environmental sustainability, highlighting the impacts of climate change, migration and the Covid-19 pandemic on the islands. The programme saw participants forming a virtual community to learn and create together across thematic, cultural, disciplinary and class boundaries through workshops, the current online interactive exhibition, and artist talks which culminated with a pitch competition on Friday July 16, 2021. At the pitch competition participants made their cases for the opportunity to receive a share of US$ 25,000 in additional funding. The winners of the pitch competition, receiving US$ 5,000 each, were Barbadian Alana Brooks, The Bahamas’ Sonia Farmer, Jamaican Tukula Ntama and Vernelle A.A. Noel and the team of Johann Medford and Arnaldo James, from Trinidad and Tobago. According to Ms. Lisa Harding, Coordinator, MSME Development at CDB, “the dynamism of the visual arts in our BMCs is well recognised and provides an excellent medium to highlight the impacts of climate migration and environmental sustainability through the collaborative expressions of artists.” Curator of the I.C.E. project, Mr. Antonius Roberts, elaborated on the theme of the project, noting: “Statelessness is fast becoming a feature of Caribbean existence as natural disasters, climate change and even the most recent Covid-19 pandemic may have contributed to forced migration or dislocation of Caribbean nationals from their homes. The overall intent of I.C.E Caribbean is for participants to become champions of climate leadership and community building.” CIIF’s ICM Grant is geared towards collaborative projects that have partners from at least three of CDB’s BMCs. As such, CIIF partnered with lead executing agency, Animae Caribe (Trinidad and Tobago) and co-applicants, ICE Caribbean (Bahamas) and Future in Nature Synergies (Barbados) to execute the Visual Arts Biennial Accelerator. Project proposals submitted under CIIF must also be sustainable and innovative, while promoting sub-sectoral linkages within the creative industries.