Creativity and commerce: Women Artists Association President talks about gender and worth

Women Artists Association President Carol Fraser

Carol Fraser is a talkative but thoughtful ‘creative spirit’ who comes across as surprisingly blunt about the condition of women artists. She is as well, unpretentious about what she believes is the underachievement of the Guyana Women Artists Association (GWAA) of which she has been president since March of last year and which she believes has, during the 31 years of its existence, undergone a considerable metamorphosis.

She has long been persuaded that art as a creative pursuit has been a prisoner of gender bias. It is not, she says, that women artists do not match and even sometimes surpass the talents of their male counterparts; the reality is that even casual comparisons suggest that the work of the male artist enjoys both more attention and greater recognition. Due to no fault of its own the GWAA (as distinct from the works of the country’s renowned women artists) has been a considerable underachiever.

The Association, she says, has around 30 members living and working mostly across coastal Guyana, a condition that all but excludes women artists from indigenous communities, a travesty she says, since the contribution of Amerindian women to the national creative treasury can hardly be questioned. This, she says, is a fault line that communicates an altogether false impression of just what comprises Guyanese women’s art, an anomaly which she believes can only be corrected through robust national intervention to afford the art of the country’s indigenous women its rightful place…..

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