Women's Issues In Guyana

Testament: A fitting celebration of the Theatre Guild’s restoration

Posted in Arts by wiig on April 6, 2008
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Stabroek News – April 6, 2008
Arts On Sunday By Al Creighton’s

A theatrical production was performed on the weekend of March 14 to 16, 2008, which was exceptionally important for several reasons. It goes down in history as the inaugural production in the Restoration Period of the Theatre Guild Playhouse in Kingston, Georgetown, a historic theatre in its own right, which has been happily rescued from ruin and set on its way again. Informally, it was reopened, its unfinished facilities tested by this new production and found to be truly on the way to fitness and recovery.

The event was announced as the 31st production of GEMS Theatre Productions, founded in 2002 and led by Gem Madhoo-Nascimento to be the leading, most prolific and most accomplished company in Guyana. Ever inventive, GEMS, not for the first time, pulled together a team of varying interests and talents, who worked on an imaginative project for a worthy cause.

From beginning to end, this included Dr Janice Imhoff, a collective of women who fought off and survived life-threatening illness, Madhoo Nascimento, Dr Paloma Mohamed, Russell Lancaster, Norman Dos Ramos, the Periwinkle Club, the Guyana Rugby Football Union and the multi-million dollar Theatre Guild Renovation Project. (more…)


Arts on Sunday – The Women’s Day

Posted in Arts by wiig on March 30, 2008
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Stabroek News – March 30, 2008

The Guyana Women Artists Association (GWAA) has to be ranked as one of the most consistent and long-lived artist groups in Guyana. The association actually comes out of a long history of women-artist groups functioning in then British and now independent Guyana. In fact, women can be found among the exhibitors from the art exhibitions in Guyana during the early decades of the last century, and women artists were present in the first local exhibition in 1930. After a lapse in such involvement in the art scene, a significant revival occurred in April 1988 when the Guyana Women Artists Association was launched.

In the book, Sixty Years of Women Artists in Guyana which is a significant publication that accompanied the revival, Nesha Haniff gives information which points to the sizeable involvement of women in fine art exhibitions in the 1930s and 40s.

Not only was the women’s involvement sizeable, but it had depth too: they participated in various genres: watercolour, oils, pen and ink, craft, etc. In 1998, to mark its tenth anniversary, the association included a historical segment in its exhibition, in which it displayed some amazingly well-preserved pieces done by women, and dating from as far back as 1910. (more…)

In the Diaspora: Making On The Map

Posted in Arts by wiig on March 24, 2008
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Stabroek News – March 24, 2008
By Annalee Davis

Annalee Davis is a visual artist living and working in Barbados. Her first independent film, On the Map, is a film about Caribbean migration that was partly shot on location in Guyana.

(This is one of a series of fortnightly columns from Guy-anese in the diaspora and others with an interest in issues related to Guyana and the Caribbean)

The film took seed in my mind thirteen years ago when a woman came to work with us in Barbados. She received technical training in Guyana as a welder, and joined the eighty-nine percent of Guyanese with more than twelve years education who left. I was struggling to continue making work as a visual artist while being a new mother. So every day for several years, she came to our home to provide domestic help.

Three years on, we relocated to Trinidad. Our helper remained in Barbados to develop an import shop in Bridgetown. She brought in salt fish, shrimp, gold and miscellaneous items from Guyana and cooked Guyanese food which she sold daily. Several years on, determined to give her daughters more opportunities, they moved to the USA. Although hesitant to live in the USA, she saw no possibilities for her children within the Caribbean. In New York City, she continues to work as a nanny and the kids are excelling in school with plans for College. (more…)

Isn’t it time those of us in authority begin leading by example?

Posted in Arts,Commentary,Culture & Society by wiig on March 23, 2008

Kaieteur News – March 23, 2008

Dear Editor,

I consider myself to be a fairly open-minded person; and being an advocate for education, teachers are some of the most special people to me. A proud Guyanese, I also love the fact that our talented local artistes are obtaining deserved success, with the accompanying recognition.

I love all of these talented people and Malo, Vanilla and Adrian Dutchin are some of the people that I personally feel have the ‘prerequisites’ to contend with other performers, anywhere in the world.

You can therefore imagine my disappointment and consternation, when, while perusing the Kaieteur News, I came across an article by Mondale Smith, titled, “Hundreds thrilled at KK annual school show”, which painted a vivid picture of the event, which was dubbed a success. (more…)

Steel pans old and unturned, but Linden all-girls band rocks

Posted in Arts,Gender Equality by wiig on March 15, 2008
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Stabroek News – March 15, 2008
By Iana Seales

In a cash-strapped community eager to assist but incapable of doing so, an all-girls, school steel band is surviving using old, out-of-tune instruments that somehow still produce sound, and incredibly, it rocks!

Rising in popularity over the years through electric performances, the girls of Wismar Christianburg Multilateral School are Linden’s best kept cultural secret. But the ‘hush hush’ is all over now and they are coming out in hope that someone can offer assistance.

After 12 years of playing on steel pans that have weathered with time and have not been tuned in years, the Wismar girls are yearning for new pans. They are addicts of the instruments who get high on the melody coming from their ‘shiny, groovy escapes’. They rule supreme over a legion of Wismar Secondary School fans, enjoy rock star status when they are in uniform and at school, and are respected in the community.

Besides the fact that they in desperate need of new steel pans, they are a group of pretty pleased young women, who stuck to steel pan when the guys at school gave it up and when practice hours required a shortened lunch break everyday and additional time after school. (more…)

Arts On Sunday (Highlighting Guyanese women artists)

Posted in Arts,Gender Equality by wiig on November 18, 2007
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Stabroek News – November 18, 2007

(Akima McPherson is a painter and a member of the Division of Creative Arts in the Department of Language and Cultural Studies at the University of Guyana.)

On Saturday, November 3 at the Umana Yana an important exhibition was opened: The Guyana Women Artists’ Associa-tions’ (GWAA) Retro-spective 1987-2007 Exhibition. This year marked 20 years since the formation of the association but also 20 years of its nurturing and promoting women’s expression in the visual arts. Consequently, it was an important exhibition.This Retrospective 1987-2007 Exhibition presented work done by some of GWAA’s past members alongside old and new work by its present body.

Several works were on loan and amongst them were paintings and ceramics representative of work done by three historically pivotal women in Guyanese art: Marjorie Broodhagen (d. 2000), Stephanie Correia (d. 2000) and Leila Locke (d. 1992). Each counts as a significant artist with work in the National Collection. Each also was a teacher, and in this way especially, made even more profound contributions towards the development of art in Guyana. Their legacies are tremendous and beyond the scope of this article. We owe them much, and in some cases their vision continues to exert itself in the work of their students. (more…)