The Arts


The first keepers of the human archives of existence

THIS is not an article I would have to write in most CARICOM nations outside of Guyana; but I must reiterate this in my country for the obvious reasons that revolve around the people I have been exposed to that have gravitated to politics, and to administrative power, ushering a tremendous decline over the past 30 years in creative thinking and innovative consciousness.

These forces still have an influence on unlearned minds today, declaring that though most special aptitudes of appreciation are not distributed by nature as multiple gifts, one can pursue and cultivate an interest and value for areas of human achievement and endeavours that we may never endeavour to have an in-depth understanding of. And there are those who are isolated, their yearnings repressed by those lightless ones who wield authority and control over their social environment, but by constructing a public discourse, they too can recognise that they can sidestep the mental prisons and awake and understand.

The commissioning by government of The Valerie Rodway House, by all means, should have made the headlines; her picture plastered on the front page of our newspapers. The works of this woman are pure inspiration. Because of her and others, Guyana has a voice of melodies that celebrate our national ethos. The Valerie Rodway House should envelop the many talents who both wrote and committed to music our national songs so that our young can understand that though the distasteful hovers about and around us, that presence is not truly all we are.

Our national, folk and concert musicians and composers have all been kept from the active consciousness of would-be young composers and musicians and the population as a whole, because of the insertion of the most simple, mundane and destructive administrative clique to preside over the national psyche since independence. This is where the most bizarre and outlandish metamorphosis of values and the cultural being of the nation would occur. This current act in the name of Valerie Rodway indicates a resuscitation of what is natural and significant and inspiring in the timeline of our young nation.

The first significant talent accompanied by the use of fire is art. This ability to allow the mind to roam and explore and extract from nature’s art store the simple but precise tools to capture their environment and other strange undefined imagery on stone that still baffle their descendants – us- with swift clarifications, and with stone was the designed forerunner of the cities, temples and thrones that we call civilisation, Nimrod’s legacy.
Much of ancient man’s environment was enveloped by frescos, murals and the iconography of Gods and Devils.

No column, no temple existed devoid of art. When it came to the first development of writing, Hieroglyphs, Meroitic, Cuneiform, linear Elamite and the calligraphy alphabets that followed, all were captured in artistic renderings, and with them came the first dip pens and brushes, executed with elegant flair, but with a display of the master’s arrogance. The illuminated medieval manuscripts of the early Christian monks that followed the illustrated Ethiopian sacred renderings, all that we reach for, to define civilisation and sophistication is bordered by the arts. We will never know and I stand to be corrected on any statement on the following, as to what creative currents did Einstein- a passionate violinist via his musical meditations- attract for clarity towards his quest to fully expound and define special relativity.

Recently, a friend explained to me that from next year the world that instructs our microcosm will begin a process to remove terrestrial analogue TV transmissions to be replaced with digital, which translate to the reality and that by 2022 all analogue towers will be useless. I am not a tech pro, but I’m paying attention because the possibilities and downside are not yet clarified.

Why is this in a column on the arts? Simple, since 80 percent of our TV content is captured by towers, if many of our TV stations are unable to afford the adjustments then they are out of business. As such, the lack of the development of ‘Quality Local Content’ translates to us, creative people. Have the TV stations asked GRA to put aside part, say, a two percent of their license and tax payments toward the development of local content? The answer is a resounding NO!

A friend, Leslie Gil,l told me that the only complete consistent Local Content on TV is death announcements and this is not exactly sarcasm, and there is the local news, and that’s about it for dramatic entertainment that is none existent, because to produce a state of the art production of even a three-part one-hour-each episode, work has to be done to have distribution beyond Guyana, which means we have to be part of the group that are legitimate engaging recipients of other peoples’ work. The old cinema owners (casually dismissed)- if they were still alive, would have an idea of the distribution networks then that can point to the new people and how it’s done today.

Without copyright laws, enforced that local content is not going to get off the ground. The Valerie Rodway House is a symbolic act and one that signals the blinking of eyes towards an awakening.