A new culinary book, Pawpaw Bermuda, put together by a Bermudian family was unveiled in the House of Assembly on Friday.

Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, said the book is the end result of the Ministry finding “new and innovative ways of helping to build and support Bermuda’s artistic community”, in support of “our arts, culture and heritage”.

In addition to the many fine programmes that the Department is directly responsible for, members of the creatives community as well as organisations and cultural groups frequently reach out to the Department for help in developing their artistic projects or organizing their cultural events,” she said.

“Not everyone is familiar with the term creatives.  However, the world would be a rather dull place without them.

“A creative is a person who looks at the world from an original perspective and utilizes this perspective to develop new ideas, new products, and new artistic outputs.

“Creatives aren’t solely painters or those we traditionally think of as artists. A creative is anyone who approaches what they do as a form of art, including areas that include the cultural industries,” said Ms Foggo.

“The assistance that is sought by creatives is sometimes financial, sometimes promotional, sometimes along the lines of advice or stewardship, and oftentimes a combination of these threads of support.

“Whichever is the case, the Department’s involvement often means the difference between a fully-realised creative project coming to fruition and positively impacting our society, rather than fizzling as a dream deferred,” she added.

Pawpaw Bermuda is a “recent example of this kind of impactful support provided by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs”, in the “form of a grant that was given to a family of artists: husband and wife team Dr Edwin and Shirley Ann Smith; along with their adult sons Micrae and Stefan Smith, who together form the family business artsmithsbda“.

“This talented family comprised of a visual artist, a photographer, a graphic designer and a culinary artist utilised a grant from the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs to create the gorgeous book that you and my Parliamentary colleagues have in front of you,” said Ms Foggo.

As the title suggests, the book is a collection that focuses on the artistic and culinary history of the pawpaw in our island. The pawpaw, known by non-Bermudians as ‘papaya’, has (as Dr Smith rightly points out in his introduction to the book) a history in Bermuda that dates back to the year 1616 as part of an agricultural plan to ensure available sustenance for the early settlers. 

Since that time, in addition to fulfilling its original role and intention of being a part of the local food supply, the pawpaw has captured the imagination of Bermudian and visiting artists alike,” she added.

“This book is both a collection of visually stunning recipes as well as a graphic timeline of the pawpaw’s consistent appearance in the work of artists from the late 19th century, up to present day contemporary references.”

In closing, the Minister congratulated the Smith family “on this elegant publication of which the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs is proud to be the major sponsor”. 

“The fact that it is also a project which showcases the talents of four Bermudian artists who, as relatives, have chosen to pool their talents together serves as a model for what can be accomplished using the bond of family as a source of inspiration.”

  • Feature Photos Supplied: Minister Foggo, Dr. Edwin Smith, Shirley Ann Smith and their sons Micrae and Stefan Smith