The three-day event was officially declared open on Wednesday and features 15 artists who are members of the Federation of Visual Artists in Suriname. The exhibition is part one of an exchange programme between Suriname and Guyana and will include a return visit of Guyanese artists to Suriname.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Expo, Assistant Secretary General, Trade and Economic Integration at the CARICOM Secretariat, Mr. Joseph Cox, said that the exchange programme fitted into the framework of the Community’s Strategic Plan.
“Culture is seen as a pillar for building economic and social resilience, as well as strengthening CARICOM identity and spirit of the Community. Culture is a unifying force in regionalism and important to the success of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. Culture promotes social cohesion and inclusiveness and contributes to wealth creation and the reduction of poverty,” he said.
Mr. Cox also pointed out that the exhibition came at a time when the Community was preparing for the thirteenth Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA XIII), which will be held in Barbados on 17 – 27 August 2017, under the theme ‘Asserting our Culture, Celebrating Ourselves’. Barbados is hosting the Festival for the second time following its first hosting of the CARIFESTA IV, 36 years ago in 1981. In concluding, ASG Cox congratulated the artists for showcasing their art within the Region and thanked them for their commitment in supporting Regional integration.
Guyana’s Director of Culture, Ms. Tamika Boatswain, who declared the Expo open, said the exhibit offered an opportunity to see how artists view the world as well as their country, the people and culture that enrich it. According to her, art knew no barrier and brought people together.
“It draws outsiders into the world of the artist and gives them the tools to help them to understand how the artist thinks and feels as he/she describes things. No matter whether the art takes the form of a photograph, a painting, a sculpture, or drawing, it still allows the artists to express themselves and communicate with others,” she said.
Ms. Lisa Blankendal, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of the Republic of Suriname, in her remarks, expressed a similar view, noting that art and culture were essential to any society. She said it served as a source of creativity and dynamism. According to her, artists create works to show what they thought, experienced, felt and saw.
President of the FVAS, Mr. George Stuikelblok, said it was an honour for them to be visiting. He said the event provided the artists an opportunity to network, exchange culture and learn from each other. He said the exhibit was the start of a more intensive collaboration for the development of art and culture in both countries. He also used the opportunity to thank everyone involved.
The Federation of Visual Artists in Suriname and the Suriname Art Expo 2017, are supported by the Department of Culture of the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Suriname, Ministry of Education, Directorate of Culture Guyana and the CARICOM Secretariat. The expo concludes on Friday April 21, 2017.