Antigua and Barbuda: Culture and Arts
Life is a beach
Antigua’s culture is influenced by its African slave roots and its colonisation by the Portugese, French and the British. The National Museum of Antigua and Barbuda in St. John’s is worth a visit as it traces the history of Antigua from the Arawak Indians, the original settlers, to the Caribs and the European settlers, Christopher Columbus and Admiral Nelson who established a navel supply and refit base for the British Navy. The decline of the sugar industry coincided with the emancipation of slaves which had a serious effect on Antigua’s economy and Barbuda suffered with the dwindling of wreck salvage bounty. The Museum housed in Admirals House in Nelson’s Dockyard is very interesting as it focuses on the Dockyard history from the days of Nelson to its current restoration. Small art galleries are at Harmony Hall which is free and showcases monthly exhibitions of local and Caribbean artists. The Islands Art Gallery in Hodges Bay to the north of Antigua, a small gallery and studio owned by Nick Malley a British artist who originally worked in major films as a make up artist. He exhibits his work and the work of other West Indian artists. The music of Antigua, traditionally reggae and zouk, meaning party, and the calypso rhythm rooted in slave culture are well represented by steel bands at island events and especially at Carnival.