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Wednesday, April 05, 2006
We could shine once again (Editorial, Guyana Chronicle)


THE relatively new concept of creative industries has arisen here and in the region.

And as we reflect on this long overdue idea to both honour and support those in our societies who interpret for us the world in which we live in their very own and individual ways, we bemoan the fact that all this did not come about before.

For, if we are to look at the state of our art scene today, comparing this with what obtained some years ago, we would find it very bleak indeed.

Much of our artistic endeavours have suffered in recent years, and for a variety of reasons, the most important one being the doing away with the Department of Culture.

What we have noticed is that the form which has more or less held its own while others slipped is art.

Showings at Castellani House and at other venues around the city testify to this.

It seems that painting and sculpture are very personal forms in which primitivism is not always a drawback. As a matter of fact, if we consider the work of Philip Moore, whose statue of Cuffy is the centrepiece at the 1763 Monument Square in Georgetown, we would recognise a primitive artist whose work embodies a unique expressiveness.

Of course our artists have always been top drawer. From the one we consider the doyen of Guyanese artists, E.R. Burrowes, through Dennis Williams, Cletus Henriques, Angold Thompson, Dudley Charles, Emerson Samuels and Marjorie Broodhagen, to George Simon and Terence Roberts, we run a gamut of strong, sophisticated techniques that would do any nation proud.

The pity is that this glowing success has not been extended to other art forms.

With Carifesta coming up next year, we need to make every effort to restore our artists to the status they once enjoyed.

We need dance instructors from established companies to bring new blood to the choreography and style at our National School of Dance.

Our dance company was once a brilliant ensemble, thanks to world-famous instructors from Haiti, Cuba and India.

We need a more sustained programme to bring back to life the considerably thriving theatre movement we once had.

Our dramatists who are now doing well away from home, including Marc Matthews and Ken Corsbie could come home to help us.

There is need for a good music school, with music teachers for the core instruments our young musicians would like to play.

And as for our Burrowes School of Art, we need a greater variety of instructors if we are to turn out artists with their potential harnessed at its maximum.

We are still very proud of our showing at the initial Carifesta here in 1972, and again in Havana in 1979.

Carifesta moves to Trinidad and Tobago in 2007.

Perhaps we have enough time to get our act together and to show the rest of the region that we could once again shine like we did at the beginning.