Carving from life – Roland Taylor creates masterpieces

DPI, Guyana, Monday, September 9, 2019

Describing himself as a medium to showcase Indigenous art, self-taught sculptor Roland Taylor said he uses the stories of his people to create masterpieces

According to Taylor, this journey was one he had to follow as the creativity flows through his vein. “I start doing wood carving from the age 13, It was something I felt deep within my heart… my grandfather used to tell me stories about the Indigenous way of life and I consumed those stories then began to reveal my interpretations on wood. That is how I got my inspiration,” he told the Department of Public Information(DPI).

Hailing from St. Cuthbert’s Mission, the father of six, now resides at Rupertee, Annai, Region 9.

Taylor said he was encouraged by this year’s honouree George Simon to showcase his work at various exhibitions. He recalled 1995 was the first time he participated in an exhibition held at Umana Yana. His participation, he noted, is a reflection of his love and pride for his culture. “I think Guyanese have come to appreciate the Indigenous art and culture. We [Indigenous artists] have worked so hard and come so far to achieve this simple yet impactful recognition. We are recognised and we see that,” he said.

He currently teaches at the Bina Hill Institute Youth Learning Centre. “It is something I love because in my village St. Cuthberts I used to tutor primary school students.” Taylor also travels with the Moving Circle of Artists (MCA). The group was created in the early 1990s by George Simon to promote and encourage Indigenous art and artists.

Taylor also comes from a family of artists. His older brother was the late Telford Taylor who died three years ago, also one of the Six Lokono Artists. Together with George Simon, Foster Simon, Oswald Hussein, Lynus Klenkian and Roland Taylor the group became known for what is today called Lokono art. The older Taylor was known for sculpting one of the first and largest Indigenous totem poles ever mounted publicly in Guyana, previously at the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology on Main Street.

Roland Taylor expressed the hope that aspiring Indigenous artists will stay true to their roots and promote the traditional aspect of their people.

His pieces will be on display at this year’s Indigenous Heritage Art Exhibition exhibition which is open to the public at the National Art Gallery, Castellani House; runs until September 28.

Images: Abike Barker

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