This year’s Indigenous Art Exhibition, which was officially declared open last Wednesday at Castellani House, is paying tribute to the late Sister Theresa La Rose and the pivotal role she played in promoting Indigenous art and craft in Guyana.
Delivering the feature address at the opening, Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock noted that the work done by Sr. La Rose has contributed greatly to indigenous artists being able to showcase their talents, especially through forums such as the annual heritage exhibition at the National Art Gallery.
La Rose, who died in 2009, had received her early education at the Santa Rosa School in the Moruca sub-region of Region One. She entered the religious order of the Sisters of Mercy in 1953 and later went on to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from the College Misericordia in Pennsylvania.
As an educator, she served in schools located in Guyana’s interior as well as in Georgetown and later, as a government official, she served in various capacities among Guyana’s hinterland population. It was during this time that she focused her attention on identifying and nurturing creative talents.
La Rose also used the craft shop she managed as a venue to showcase and sell items produced by Amerindian artists and crafts people, while seeking only the highest quality products for local and international exhibitions.
Her efforts did not go unnoticed as she was presented with the Medal of Service Award in 1975 in recognition of her work with the Indigenous Peoples throughout Guyana.
Meanwhile, Allicock also applauded the dedication shown by newly-appointed minister with responsibility for culture, Dr. George Norton.
It is this dedication, he added, that will assist in the elevation of the art, craft, music and poetry of the Indigenous peoples.
“I think that this is one good way to help to educate the rest of the Guyanese people [about] what the Indigenous people can do. It is also another way to unite this very beautiful nation of ours through arts and music, through sharing what we have,” Allicock remarked.
Meanwhile, Dr. Norton, in brief remarks, said that the art exhibition presented the opportunity for the wider public to view the arts of the country’s first people, which capture an important part of the Guyanese’ culture.
“Friends, we could have only been here because of the roles of many of our past Indigenous leaders. However, I would like to emphasise the role played by Sister Theresa La Rose… had it not been for her this exhibition would have not been possible,” he added.
He noted that the exhibition also speaks to the talent and vision possessed by the Indigenous artists and craftsmen and women.
The exhibition, which will run until September 27, is opened to the public from 10 am daily. Pieces on display include both paintings and sculptures done by the likes of veteran artists George Simon, Desmond Ali, and Oswald Husain, as well as, younger artists, such as Ransford Simon, Welkie George and Jerry Marco, among others.