A small group of expatriates celebrated in a big way the 46th Republic Anniversary and Mashramani on Feb. 19 at the Guyana Consulate of New York with spirited drumming, eloquent poetry, memories through the years, and a fine arts exhibition which showcased the pride and talents of the Guyanese people. The event also commemorated the country’s 50th Jubilee.
Creative Arts Showcase — hosted by Consul General Brentnold Evans and Deputy Consul General Jacquelyn Hamer, in collaboration with Linda Felix Johnson’s SistaSoul Productions Company and the Women of Mission International — is the first such presentation held at the diplomatic office since the Coalition came into government.
Paintings by Carl F. Anderson, Gold Medalist winner of 4th Edition of the International Art Biennial of Malta, and Lincoln Perry, multi award-winner, world-famous painter adorned the walls of the consulate.
Emcee Gary Tim kicked the culture show into high gear with the introduction of Noël Moses who did a brilliant presentation of Martin Carter’s poems. Poet James Richmond in turn, captivating the audience with his “Golden Jubilee-One People One Nation One Destiny,” a 50th Independence Anniversary tribute, while Carol Archer’s verses of history and culture were rendered with verve.
Punctuated by nostalgia and cultural honor, Menes de Griot, the son of late great Art Broomes — a master drummer in his own right — conducted the first ever libation in tribute to late Guyanese presidents and current President David Granger. He then joined a drum ensemble with Empress Mariam Guilliams and percussionist Akoyaw Rudder, to dance Kwe Kwe to the rhyme of “Guyana Nice.”
Memories filled the air and were felt in the soulful voices of the Hooper sisters who sang “Passing Memories” and “Where are your Friends Now” — popular hits from back in the day when their father Eddie Hooper’s catchy lyrics packed dance halls, and flooded airways.
Reggae artiste Kapa Shanti in turn added a bit of Caribbean flavor to the mix, paving the way for Jamaican comedian and stage performer Diane Dixon who channeled Louise Bennett, and garnered a belly full of laughs.
The evening’s production also included a walk down memory lane with historian Jimmy Hamilton who engrossed the audience with a vivid synopsis that chronicled the town of McKenzie, and the birth of Independence in 1966.
Hamilton’s talk of Demba, and the bauxite company that played a part in the town’s development, was brilliant. He also captured the history of Guyana through the years as it prepares to celebrate its Golden Jubilee.
Carmen Barley, Ph.D., a literary giant for 40 years, an alumni professor of Howard University and author, read excerpts from her books “Black Water Children” and “Black Water Women.”
Deputy Consul General Jacquelyn Hamer in closing said it was a pleasure hosting the nationals at the diplomatic office, and added she looks forward to hosting future programs with other organizations.
“Our aim is to engage the diaspora and showcase our cultural talent. I would like to thank the artistes for their wonderful presentation and for making the evening a success,” she said.
The diplomat was then presented with a painting titled “Juicing Cassava” by artist Carl F. Anderson.