Threat to Arapaima, social ills showcased in exhibition by new Burrowes School graduates

-artists urged to create national dialogue

A glass encased tabletop featuring the Arapaima designed by Renella Hamlet (Photo by Terrence Thompson)

The threat to the Arapaima is among the issues being explored in the exhibition by the E.R. Burrowes School of Art’s Class of 2018 at the Umana Yana in Kingston, Georgetown. 

The two-week long exhibition features pieces created in various artistic mediums, including painting, sculpture, leather craft and textile design, which the graduating students would have completed during their tutelage.

A Department of Public Information (DPI) report noted that in an address at the opening of the exhibition last Wednesday, the art school’s administrator, Ivor Thom, encouraged the students to go out into society and give of their best. “We have given you the tools; now you can use those tools to make an impact, to make a change and to be what you want to be in this world,” he was quoted as saying.

The Ministry of Social Cohesion’s Director of Culture, Tamika Boatswain, also spoke at the opening and encouraged the graduates to use their talents to spark a nationwide discourse. “Use their creativity and their canvases to inspire a national dialogue on important issues of interest in society and also to inspire more Guyanese to appreciate the beauty of art,” she said.

Eight students will be graduating this year; six with diplomas and two with certificates.

Among those graduating with a diploma is 22-year-old Renella Hamlet, whose artwork focused heavily on the Arapaima.

Hamlet told Sunday Stabroek that her interest in the fresh water fish was fueled by the fact that the Arapaima is an endangered species.

As a result, Hamlet, who majored in both painting and leather craft, decided to use her talents to raise awareness about the threat to the fish, which is featured in several of her paintings as well as a glass top shadow box table, which featured intricate details found on the Arapaima.

Herchelle Pellew, another diploma student, used his paintings to focus on “social controversies” that plague society in order to encourage dialogue among those who come across his work.

Among the works displayed by Pellew, who described himself as a surrealistic artist in his artist’s statement, are “Addiction” and the “Persistence of web.”

Meanwhile, jewellery major Cassandra Chu displayed jewellery made predominately of silver and semi- precious stones. In her artist’s statement, she explained that her love for art was always there and she enrolled at the school to pursue painting. However, according to Chu, it was after being introduced to other forms of art that she fell in love with jewellery making and so decided to major in that area. Her work, she says, has been inspired by indigenous culture and its contribution to the arts. As a result, she fashioned her art to reflect it.

Among the interesting exhibits on display is “Connecting with Nature,” which is the major project of Kamalita Heralall, who uses it to showcase her talents in textile design.

The exhibition also includes works by diploma students Esther Nankoo and Johana Suchit and certificate students John Laurindo and Heather Thompson.

The exhibition, for which admission is free, is running until September 5th. It is open to the general public from Mondays to Fridays, between 9 am and 5 pm. 

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