Monday, August 08, 2005

Gibraltar's first culture Director retires

by Alice Mascarenhas

Gibraltar’s first Director of Culture Manolo Galliano has retired. He had been at the head of the department, later turned into a Ministry, since 1993.

It was Manolo who built the department and in the early days he was the Government’s Cultural Officer. Previously he had been the Director of the John Mackintosh Hall until it was privatised in the nineties. He had held the post since 1985. But his service within Government goes back to 1963.

For the first 18 years he worked in the Government Secretariat, but over the years he worked in many government departments dealing with the media, registry, stationary, printing, accounts, passports.

For a time he was a Law Clerk, and also acted Housing Manager. He also served for nine years as the Secretary of the Lottery Committee and was involved in the organising of the fiftieth anniversary edition.

Well known about the artists and dramatists of this community Manolo will surely be missed.

“I have enjoyed working in culture, and meeting many interesting people, both from Gibraltar and from abroad."

His retirement was confirmed back in May by the then Minister for Culture Clive Beltran who praised him for his work during the announcement of the prizes in this year’s Spring Art Exhibition. Acknowledging it would be his last Spring Festival Mr Beltran spoke of how Mr Galliano had built the Culture Ministry on his own setting up the structures and being involved in many of the cultural events of the past few years, “working along with others but he has been instrumental in this department and I want to thank him publicly.”

Whilst in the Culture Ministry Manolo has built a source of archive material which he hopes will be maintained.

“This is a very important part of our heritage and should be continued,” he said. “I hope the next Director has the commitment, and a love for all the arts. This is not a nine to five job, that’s for sure,” he added.

Over the past 20 years he has been at the centre of many of the Rock’s cultural events – the fair, national day events, the fiftieth anniversary of the Drama Festival, and the Millennium. He has also led on a number of projects including the Evacuation statue at Waterport.

“The Theatre Royal is one I enjoyed, even though the project has still not come to fruition,” he said but there have been others such as the Fine Art Gallery and the recent Music Centre premises.

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