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Sep 12, 2016 News
– showcases aspects of Indigenous culture
The art of sculpting requires skill, patience, vision, creativity and a bit of ingenuity. Guyanese sculptor, Winslow Craig exemplifies these qualities which thoroughly shine through his craft.
The essentially self taught sculptor is becoming increasing famous for his craftwork.
He is currently shaping a 50-foot Bulletwood log into a totem pole, which will showcase various aspects of local Amerindian heritage.
He was contracted by the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs to craft the piece which will eventually become a national monument as an accompaniment to the Umana Yana.
At a glance, Craig’s work captures the imagination with its stark resemblance to the rich Aztec culture of Peru.
In fact, the spiritually infused piece is inspired by a culture which, the artist believes, is intrinsically linked.
Craig who is deeply conscious of his Amerindian (Carib and Arawak) and African heritage, has spent several weeks working on the piece. He uses simple tools to get the job done. A chainsaw, mallet, chisel and drill are his basic necessities.
Every day, the artist can be seen chipping away and crafting the log, while sitting under a makeshift tent which was set up under a shady tree located in the north eastern side of the Umana Yana compound, Kingston Georgetown,.
He says that his work requires a lot of physical effort and concentration.
The totem pole, he said, is a universally inspired piece. The former Kappawarrie, Essequibo native explained that the pole is divided into sections; each section showcases unique aspects of the nine Indigenous tribes of Guyana.
At the helm of the giant log, the artist has crafted the head of an eagle, which represents “the Great Spirit.” Below the head is a carving of palms and a canoe, which specifically speaks of the nature of the Warrau tribe, known for their boating skills.
A section of the pole showcases a large craft pot which speaks of the Caribs, a tribe known for their expertise in ceramic pottery; the component designated to the Arawak tribe exhibits rock paintings, the Akawaio people are distinctly represented by the blow pipe, the Patamonas by the medicine man and the Arrecunas by a specially carved piece showcasing a spiritual celebration on the banks of a river. Sections that represent the Macushi, Wapishiana and Wai Wai tribes are also crafted into the pole.
Although Mr. Craig is quite modest about his craft and expertise, it is nothing short of impressive. He has been described as that national treasure, sculpting icon and mystic man.
The gracious artist merely stated that he is quite fortunate to do something that he loves to do for a living.
“As far back as I can remember, as a boy I have been whittling away at something. I’ve experimented with all sorts of objects; bones, wood, sawdust basically anything that can be crafted.”
Shortly after leaving high school, Craig attended the Burrowes School of Art to sharpen his skills. The artist’s work has been showcased as far as New Zealand.
Now married, with three sons, Craig resides at South Ruimveldt Park, Georgetown. He continues to share his talent with the world. At any given day, Craig’s worksite is visited by a number of spectators, some of whom have taken to social media to gush about his work.
One admirer who had the distinct honour of witnessing the sculptor’s work noted the “detail, the flowing sensuality, movement, symmetry and motions” that is present in Craig’s work.
The man urged his social media followers to visit the Umana Yana and gift themselves the honour of witnessing incomparable genius at work.
“The way (Craig) makes the wood speak…was as evident as ever in what is undoubtedly going to be both a seminal piece and national monument.”
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