The second Guyana Visual Arts Competition was declared opened yesterday at Castellani House with a new category added for leatherwork artists.
The competition was opened by Minister of Culture Dr Frank Anthony, who later announced that the winners of the competition would no longer be obligated to sell their artwork to the National Gallery. He said the coercion had forced artists into hiding out of fear that their work would be taken away, leaving them with no benefit or recognition.
“What we have found is that most artists don’t join competitions because they would have to give it to the gallery,” Anthony explained, while adding that the constraint had been removed so that artists could keep their pieces and sell them to buyers of their choice.
The addition of the fine craft category to the competition is for the inclusion of leather workers, Anthony said. He noted that these artists were rarely given the chance to compete in events.
Anthony said his ministry is trying to get more people to value artwork and artists and he opined that it was only possible through mass education. He also signaled that the ministry is trying to build relations with external art galleries to buy Guyanese artwork.
“Through art we can do a lot. We can entertain, we can educate but most of all we can empower,” he said.
Coordinator of the competition Alim Hosein, meanwhile, stated that the event would increase artistic output and also motivate local artists.
The competition is divided into six categories: painting, sculpture, ceramics, drawing, fine craft and photography. Only Guyanese are eligible and artwork completed between November 24, 2012 and November 13, 2014 will be accepted.
Each artist is limited to a submission of three pieces, which may be entered into a single category or different categories. The participants are allowed to submit pieces under any theme of their choice and there are no restrictions to the size of the work.
The deadline for submission of pieces is November 13, 2014 by 15:00 hrs at the Burrowes School of Art. The winner of the competition will be awarded $500,000 along with a gold medal. The second place winner will receive $300,000 and a silver medal and third place $200,000 and a bronze medal. There is also an additional award for an artist 25 years and younger who displays exceptional promise in the art industry. The promise prize is $200,000 along with a bronze medal.