Stage set for 2017 edition of the Guyana Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition (GVACE) —- Winners to pocket more than $6.2M

(Georgetown, June 22, 2017) – The stage is set for Art Lovers to view and soak up the creative abilities of some 92 Guyanese artists from June 29 – August 19 at the Castellani House.

As a prelude, the successful artists who made submissions for the 2017 edition of the Guyana Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition (GVACE) are set to be tangibly rewarded for their creativity on June 29.

The overall purse on the offer from the Ministry of Education Department of Culture, Youth and Sport is $6. 2M to be awarded in categories such as Painting, Drawing, Ceramics, Fine Craft, Sculpture and Photography. In this edition of the GVACE the prizes to be awarded for the first, second and third place positions in each category are $500,000, $300,000 and $200,000 respectively. Additionally, there is a monetary prize of $200,000 that will be awarded for the ‘Best Artist- 25 years or younger, while there will also be the awarding of two education bursaries of $100,000 each.

It was on May 27 that acceptance of entries closed and based on reports from Mr. Alim Husain, a member of the GVACE Committee, 213 pieces of art were submitted by 92 artists. “This figure is heartening since it compares very well with the numbers from the previous years of the competition, 2012 and 2014. What is more, the entries also stood the test of variety in work and range of artists who had entered,” Husain said. Further, Husain said the entries reflect a good spread of age ranges, geographical locations, genders, style, subject matter/themes, and artistic and technical techniques.

As entrants await the adjudicating with bated breaths Husain assures that the competition will be adjudicated between June 24 and 26 before the winners and runners up are announced on the night of the awards. Mr. Husain indicated that almost a quarter of the entrants are 25 years or younger with most of them submitting the maximum of three pieces. This he said indicates the seriousness with which the artists view the competition.

The competition features many new names including emerging artists such as Shimuel Jones, Akeema McPherson, Dominique Hunter and Aneeza Coelho-Douglas – winner of the first Promise Award in 2012. Also noted is the significant number of established artists who have made submissions. These include Desmond Ali, Ossie Hussein, Micheal Lam, Marvyn Phillips, Ras Ian, among others.

Returning to the competition platform are Brian Hooper, Anthony Dos Santos, Bryan Clarke, Betsy Karim and Rawle Pillay, among others. This turn-out represents artists “who have kept faith with the competition since its inception…all-in-all this year’s competition sees a good mix of Guyanese artists,” Husain surmised. At the award ceremony, the GVACE will bestow a special Lifetime Achievement Award on Guyanese artists Jorge Bowen-Forbes who is a prolific artist in watercolour, oils and acrylic. While his work is wide-ranging in subject matters and themes, a large portion captures Guyana’s landscape and gives a vivid visual of how the country has changed over the years. Aside from the award ceremony, a public lecture is planned for hosting on June 27 at the Umana Yana where Trinidadian artist and academic, Kenwyn Critchlow will be presenting on the provocative topic: “Caribbean Art is Dead: Long Live Caribbean Art”. Additionally, the public exhibition will be mounted from June 29- August 19 at the Castellani House.

“The 2017 GVACE entries are encouraging and suggest that there is a current of creative interest and endeavour in Guyana, although the art situation may seem dormant,” Husain said. He further expounded that the passionate engagement in ideas, materials and methods seen in the submissions point to the presence of an active metaphysic and imagination at work. “The GVACE is pleased to have contributed to uncovering this,” Husain noted. The public is invited to attend the activities.

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