Mashramani, the celebration of Guyana’s attainment of Republic status, is often associated with sweaty, gyrating revellers with their costumed-companions and massive floats on the streets of the capital city.
But, while all of that fits into the definition of the country’s culture, artists delve deep into the bowels of nationhood to portray life in all its facets. Sculptor and painter, Josefa Tamayo, uses copper and coconut shell to portray light, and how Gary Thomas carves Mother Fifi from Mahogany our fascination of with nature and the spirits.
In “A Mashramani Exhibition 11” the National Art Gallery presents artists who represent the passing of more than a generation of momentous change in the evolution of Guyana as a nation.
Further to the political and social change that the attainment of Republic status brought about, the consolidation of cultural life also followed.
Prime Minister Forbes Burnham was quick to recognise the value of the artistic community at the national level and called a conference of Caribbean writers and artists.
That was followed up in 1972 with the birth of the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) which today remains the place to showcase of Caribbean arts and culture.
The staging of the first CARIFESTA, gave life to cultural and arts institutions such as the National School of Dance and the National Dance Company.
Specifically, the setting up of the Burrowes School of Art, represented both a physical and symbolic space, where those seriously interested in the promotion and development of visual art forms could meet and focus their energies.
Many of the artists in the exhibition now on show share links with the School, whether as teachers, start students, visiting consultants or examining tutors.
Keith Agard and George Simon (born in the late 1940s) were appointed as Principals by the School’s founder and administrator Denis Williams at its earliest location on the East Bank of Demerara.
Though Agard later settled in Jamaica, Simon has continued to teach at the institution over a number of years, and though now at the University of Guyana, he still supports young artists, particular Amerindians (like himself, being an Arawak) to find opportunities for the work.
In the exhibition, you will therefore find younger artists who have excelled at the Burrowes School of Art and who have won national art competitions, such as Tamayo, noted above.
Comparably, self-taught artists and artists’ groups have also emerged such as Derrick Callender and Terrence Roberts, both painters of abstract forms and unique vision.
The exhibition continues until March 11.
Sep 18, 2018Story and photos by Zaheer Mohamed A well complied century by wicket-keeper batsman Kemol Savory backed up by a decent bowling performance handed last year’s finalist Essequibo a 90-run victory...
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]