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Cultural Awards winners to be unveiled today

Johnny Bugeja

The winners of this year’s Cultural Awards will be unveiled today in a pre-recorded livestream and broadcast.

The Awards ceremony has been pre-recorded at the Sunborn Hotel due to Covid restrictions and

is scheduled to be broadcast today (Tuesday, November 3) at 7.05pm on the GCS facebook and on GBC.

The ceremony is now in its second year and aims to recognise individuals and groups who have had an impact in the cultural landscape of Gibraltar.

Gibraltar Cultural Services CEO Seamus Byrne said he first launched the awards as he felt there should be a sense of parity between culture and sports, which has their own awards show.

“The reason behind it is to celebrate the artistic talent and community we have in Gibraltar,” Mr Byrne said.

“This year the Cultural Awards have changed because of Covid, in the way we produce it.”

Mr Byrne said due to Covid-19 the event has been pre-recorded and the number of people allowed to attend has been greatly limited. Also, the awards presentation has been staggered.

“2020 has proved that culture is one of the main frontline workers, especially during lockdown,” Mr Byrne said.

“You cannot compare us to the health service or other essential services, or education, but culture played a very important role during lockdown, because culture had to change its way of thinking and think out of the box. Everything went online and we had to do extra activities to try to get young people and people in the community at large to be motivated and keep going at home.”

“We always had to think outside the box.”

Mr Byrne said there were many people who played an important role in keeping spirits up during lockdown.

Organising this year’s Cultural Awards has been a tough job for GCS with guidelines on the number of people allowed to attend events constantly in review.

GCS Head of Cultural Development Davina Barbara said over the weeks there have been multiple plans to keep the show on the road.

“We’ve had a Plan A, a Plan B, and now even a Plan C,” Mrs Barbara said.

“Even [recently] it has gone from 20 in a room to 16, so we’re pre-recording the event at staggered times and I have the challenge as presenter of keeping the enthusiasm for that three-hour period with no audience.”

She explained the show would be much shorter, but a three hour filming timescale was implemented to give enough time to stagger each of the awards presentations.

“This year unfortunately we have had to tell our winners a week in advance and sit on the news to keep it a surprise for everyone [watching],” Mrs Barbara said.

“Last year all those shortlisted were invited to the event and the winner was announced on the night.”

She described how the element of surprise has been lost for many of the winners.

“These people deserve to have their moment and they are going to have their moment on stage,” Mrs Barbara said.

Mr Byrne added: “It’s sad because you won’t have all the nominees there and it was so magical last year.”

He said the winners and nominees have been asked to keep the outcome a secret until after the show has been broadcast. Those who have not won have also been informed.

He added the Cultural Awards Board has decided to have two additional awards, one being the Extraordinary Achievement Award and the Special Covid Award, “for a very special project that took place during lockdown.”

Awards will be presented for the categories: Cultural Ambassador Award, the Special Covid Award, the GCS Award For Extraordinary Achievement and the Ministry Of Culture Lifetime Achievement Award, Junior (Under 15’s), Youth (Under 25’s), Senior (Over 25’s) and for Best Educational Project.

The Cultural Ambassador Award, the Special Covid Award, the GCS Award For Extraordinary Achievement and the Ministry Of Culture Lifetime Achievement Award has been selected by the Board.

The Cultural Award Board is comprised of comprised of Peter Montegriffo, Alice Mascarenhas, Peter Canessa, Keri Scott, Yvette Zarb and Seamus Byrne.

All the proceeds collected from the public telephone vote will be donated to the GBC Open Day Fund.

“We believe that although it has been a challenging year all round that this year more than ever we really need to take a step back and say ‘thank you’ and recognise those at the forefront, perhaps even giving people a lifeline, especially during isolation,” Mrs Barbara said.

“Something for people when they needed to entertain or switch off. When we look at the world stage at the moment theatres are closed, cinemas are closed, I think it’s really important to make sure that we continue to value our artists and our creators.”

This year’s trophies have been created by Mark Montovio, who has said it has been an “absolute privilege”.

Mr Montovio was inspired by his recent collection of artworks, which is a series of twelve life size sculptures, Apostles I to XII of driftwood and iron.

“Driftwood has strong representations and I would dare to say very powerful spiritual connotations,” Mr Montovio said.

“It has weathered storms, travelling long distances, and it has been transformed from its original state to another, which is just as beautiful, but it shows the passage of time, loss and resilience. Each piece brought about it’s own challenges and possibilities, and some needed more work than others.”

“In these uncertain times, when we are asked to weather storms, artists have mainly been resilient, and continued to produce.”

“Without the arts we are essentially nothing, and lockdown made sure we were aware of this. Since the beginning of time humanity has created in all its forms to connect with their internal world, nature and god, and even though often art is produced in isolation, as a result of introspection, a big part of the process is sharing what is created.”

“To celebrate achievement and commitment to the arts is crucial. The Cultural Awards do just that and the fact that my sculptures go towards recognising  this is an absolute honour. I trust that the worthy recipients enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed producing them with the love and respect I have for the arts, and the driftwood itself, which has been an important aspect of my work for the last 30 years.”

The Cultural Awards will be broadcast today at 7.05pm on GBC television and on the GCS Facebook link:



JUNIOR (Under 15’s)

Aditya Dhanwani – Gibraltar Young Musician of the Year and contribution to GAMPA’s online offering during lockdown.

Angelika Jane Bosco – Autumn Poetry Competition and Covid Short Story Competition Winner.

Jake Torres – Produced the ‘Corona Travel’ book with illustrations, which was published and promoted online.

Nathan Villalba – Best Male Dancer at the 2020 Gibraltar International Dance Festival and Bronze medalist at the 2019 Dance World Cup.


YOUTH (Under 25’s)

Amy Wink – Best Female Dance at the 2020 Gibraltar International Dance Festival, Silver medalist at the 2019 Dance World Cup and recipient of three international dance scholarships in Paris and Madrid respectively.

Carmen Anderson – Online blog interviewing a selection of cultural professionals, contribution to the 2020 Drama Festival both on and off stage and contribution to other literary events and competitions.

Gibraltar Youth Service – ‘Find Your Brave’ Self-Portrait Exhibition raising awareness for mental health.

SENIOR (Over 25’s)

Beatrice Garcia – Solo art exhibitions in London and Gibraltar, creating a portrait of Viv Anderson, and her artistic contribution online during Covid including ‘The Art Club’ and ‘How to Draw’.

Gibraltar Poetry Anthology – Publication of ‘The Anthology of Contemporary Gibraltar Poets’ book and contribution and promotion of literature both locally and abroad.

Maribel Matthews – Recipient of the New York ‘Artivism Award’ for environmental awareness through her art, also received the international ‘Michelangelo Award’ in Rome for artistic talent.


Bayside Comprehensive School – Headmasters Portrait Exhibition depicting the 10 head teachers in the school’s 48 year history. An exemplary project for a new school building.

Gibraltar Youth Service – ‘Find Your Brave’ Self-Portrait Exhibition supporting mental health and in particular creating awareness during mental health week for children.

JM Memorial Foundation – leading two major educational projects. A cultural exchange with Morocco including an art exhibition, workshops and a music video. The Victor Quintanilla ‘Cosmos’ sculpture exhibition at GEMA Gallery, featuring metal and recycled materials.  


There will be four extra awards; the Cultural Ambassador Award, the Special Covid Award, the GCS Award For Extraordinary Achievement and the Ministry Of Culture Lifetime Achievement Award. These four awards have already been decided by the Board and will be announced at the awards ceremony together with the rest of the winners in each category.

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