IICA recognizes leading artistes from the Americas for using art to demonstrate the value of agriculture and rurality
San José, 17 July 2020 (IICA). – Brazil’s Gilberto Gil, Panama’s Erika Ender, Argentina’s Teresa Parodi, as well as the Ecuadorian group Jayac and Mistah Dale of Barbados were all awarded the certificate of Artists and Friends of IICA, for their role in a campaign by the international organization to pay tribute to those who are guaranteeing our food supply amidst the pandemic.
The artists attended the virtual ceremony, on behalf of the rest of the 110 musicians from 22 countries who, through their art, participated in the Popular music tribute to those who work day to day to put food on our tables. IICA organized the initiative to heighten political and social awareness about agriculture and rurality, given its key role during the ongoing health crisis.
President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, participated in the ceremony, sending a message that stressed the role of agriculture and the political and social attention that it has attracted.
“We must always be grateful to people who do extraordinary things for others”, he said. “Amidst Covid-19, we celebrate the work of our healthcare workers, but there are also people who are working every day to produce food for the tables of the entire Latin America, the Caribbean and the world. These are our farmers. I also want to say a special thank-you to those artists who are paying tribute to these farmers”.
In presenting the Artists and Friends of IICA certificate to the musicians, Manuel Otero, the Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), stressed the unprecedented nature of the campaign.
“Just a short time ago, a partnership between musicians and technical cooperation was unthinkable, and now you are helping us to strengthen and broaden the scope of our message. Art is a powerful tool to heighten social and political awareness about food chain workers. I thank you sincerely for your vital support”, said Otero.
Since April, various artists have been coming on board the campaign, generously contributing with their different songs and styles to salute those who have been guaranteeing the production, transportation, marketing and supply of food in the Americas even in the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am truly grateful”, said Teresa Parodi. “For me, it has been an extraordinary experience to salute farmers, who are so important and yet also so invisible, at this critical time when the value of their work is much greater. This campaign caused us to reflect a lot on that reality”.
Gilberto Gil assured the participants that, “It has been an honor to be a part of this group and to salute those who are working every day to create food – energy for our bodies and souls. It has been a great pleasure”.
The musical contributions of each artist were used to create a virtual concert, which was a compilation of the songs in the tribute. The program, Food For All, was produced in collaboration with Canal Rural Brasil, and aired, not only on that channel, but also on Agrotendencia TV, Canal Rural of Argentina, Canal UCR of Costa Rica and Clarín Rural of Argentina, which was broadcast to viewers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Erika Ender remarked that, “I thought it was such a beautiful gesture to develop this initiative to allow those of us in front of the cameras and the lights to be able to highlight the work of these people who are central to our existence on Earth”.
The IICA-led initiative has been an unprecedented effort that has mobilized actors throughout the hemisphere, to use art and culture to prioritize the importance of agricultural activity and the scope of technical cooperation of excellence – something that is vital, now more than ever.
Dale Ridder, “Mistah Dale” or Barbados reflected that, “Humanity has the power to protect the Earth through agriculture. In fact, we could say that both of them are inseparable. This is the most important message that a campaign like IICA’s has made very clear for many, including for those of us who are taking part in the tribute”.
Several organizations in different countries have endorsed the IICA campaign. In Argentina, the tribute has received the backing of the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries; the Ministry of Culture of the Nation; the Ministry of Social Development; the anti-hunger program – Plan Argentina contra el Hambre; the Secretariat of Media and Public Communication; the public broadcast entity, Contenidos Públicos Sociedad del Estado and the arts foundation, Fondo Nacional de las Artes.
Meanwhile, in Brazil, UNESCO Brazil and the Brazilian Association of Supermarkets (ABRAS) have both endorsed and become a part of this campaign.
“We really loved this campaign”, said Saulo Díaz, a member of Ecuador’s Grupo Jayac, “as it recognizes the very people who have been forgotten, who have been marginalized. In our country, at least, most farmers are peasant farmers and indigenous people, who have struggled to survive all their lives. It has taken an experience like the difficult one that we are living through for us to appreciate them as they really are. They are the ones that are keeping us alive, by feeding us”.
All the musicians who took part in the tribute were awarded the digital certificate, Artists and Friends of IICA.
Institutional Communication Division, IICA.