GVACE awardees honoured at award ceremony

(Georgetown, June 30, 2017) – Through art Artists share perspectives about the world, express insights of the artist, interpret and assess the value of visual arts. On Thursday with support from the Ministry of Education, the Guyana Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition (GVACE) award ceremony was hosted at the National Cultural Center followed on by the opening of the exhibition at the National Gallery of Art or Castellani House.

The latter has works of art displayed on all four floors of the gallery features Drawing and Fine Craft, Painting and Sculpture, Photography and Ceramics, and runs from June 29-August 19. GVACE aims at giving recognition and support to the creative work of Guyanese in the visual arts while providing a source of inspiration for Guyanese Artists stimulating the development of the finest expression of the visual imagination among Guyanese.

Some 92 entries were adjudicated among which included 25 from women and a host of young fresh minds. The six categories contested are painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, ceramics and fine craft.

President David Granger, the capacity of Patron of the GVACE handed out the gold medals and prizes to the six winners in addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award which was given to 80-year-old artist Jorge Bowen-Forbes.

Mr Kenwyn Critchlow who chaired the judging panel celebrated all participants. About the paintings, he said overwhelmingly every item sought to reach out to the public and some were traditional depictions of various threads of society such as Diwali, mythology and the forest interior. However, the judges were concerned about depictions and advised that the artists would do well to research character, style and function of expression and strategic point of view.

“Art must make the ordinary seem special beyond the rare apprehension of a colourful stone to deeper archaeology,” he said.

The submissions for photography was wide-ranging and judges noted commendable high regard for use of camera. “We are impressed by the ways the photographers sought out things like the seashore, wildlife and the portrait of buildings,” Critchlow noted.

The judges’ shortlist was influenced by the shapes, tones, space and exploration of the human form of models in youthfulness, sexuality and modernity. The drawings submitted comprised portraits and demonstration of reality that draws on empathy with varying levels of competence while sculpting focused on three-dimensional thinking that speak to desire, myth, culture and reality.

The Fine Craft shortlist featured works that were an overwhelming function of craft skills with much focus on forming objects. The adjudicators also addressed Ceramics which was listed as the smallest category of nine items which engaged anecdotal creations. However, the judges are all pleased with the range, materials used to present the first hand and intimate view of the world presented by the artists. All told some 214 entries were submitted of which 30 made the shortlist.

“The remainder are not rejected but are stepping stones in honing the various arts and craft abilities,” the Chief Judge said.

Jorge Bowen-Forbes aged 80 in receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award noted that “while I have received more than 250 awards abroad it’s an honour and a good feeling to be honoured in one’s own homeland by my own people. I thank His Excellency and the organising committee.”

Michael Lam speaking on the artists’ behalf noted that “We live in a time of the darkness and heartbreaks and art can make us express from these struggle and of hope…it is our time to capture the essence of being Caribbean in schools.”

The Guyana Visual Art Competition and Exhibition was established in 2012 and is a bi-annual unfolding. Art lovers and enthusiasts are encouraged to view the exhibition at Castellani House where fifty-nine paintings, sixty photographs, thirty drawings, twenty sculptures, twenty fine craft pieces and ten ceramic creations are mounted.

Mr Alim Hosein explained that this year’s competition matches the previous ones in terms of the number of artists who have entered and the number of pieces entered. “A pleasing sign is that it also brings new competitors and art creators, along with the well-established ones…we look among these new works for new and emerging signs of creativity which will take Guyanese art to the next level,” Hosein.

Prize winners


First prize: Stanley Greaves

Second prize: Desmond Ali

Third prize: Nigel Butler


Betsy Karim

Elodie Cage-Smith


First prize: Compton Babb

Second prize: Walter Gobin

Third prize: Stephen Smith


Dominique Hunter

Odessa Carmichael


First prize: Oswald Hussein

Second prize: Ras Iah

Third prize: Kenneth Nelson


Stanley Greaves

Desmond Ali


First prize: Vandyke David

Second prize: Andrew Sampson

Third prize: Staffon Williams


Nicolas Young

Dawne Isaacs

Fine Craft

First prize: Michael Khan

Second prize: Carol Fraser

Third prize: Winston Strick


Winston Alexander

Tracy Greene-Douglas


First prize: Nikhil Ramkarran

Second prize: Aisha Jones

Third prize: Michael Lam


Jermana De Freitas

Keno George

Promise Award

Laron Gulliver

Jermana de Freitas


(by Mondale Smith)



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