Successful 'We Folk T'ing' ends By Linda Rutherford
Guyana Chronicle
September 15, 2002

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THE curtains came down Friday on 'We Folk T'ing', a highly successful two-week art, craft and poetry exposition staged at the Hadfield Foundation, a private art gallery located on Hadfield Street, Werk-en-Rust.

A collaborative effort between the resuscitated Creative Arts Association and the Hadfield Foundation, the star-studded event which ran from August 30 to September 13, showcased the creative genius of the likes of Winston Strick, Barrington Braithwaite and Angold Thompson, undisputedly among the creme de la creme of Guyana's burgeoning art community.

As patron of the Hadfield Foundation, city lawyer Mr. Nigel Hughes was to observe during the modest but refreshing opening ceremony: "I think we have some of the finest talent ever assembled, if not in Guyana, certainly in the [field of the] creative arts."

What made the event "particularly special" for him, Hughes said, was the fact that many of the artists whose work were on exhibit were people with whom he has come a long way, from as far back as 1990 when 'the Hadfield', as the Foundation is fondly referred to, first opened its doors.

He referred to people like Braithwaithe and Peter Chester, better known to their colleagues in the art world and close acquaintances as plain 'Barry' and 'Ita' respectively.

Significant, too, was the fact that these craftsmen were able to successfully pull off an event of this magnitude in spite of the many challenges facing the populace here in Guyana.

"I think what is very, very significant is that despite those challenging times, we can continue to produce in our own community true genuine art," Hughes said. "It's not often in Guyana that you can get an opportunity to go and see art for art's sake, rather than art for commercial purposes," he added.

Though compelled to acknowledge each and every one of the artists who chose to participate in the exhibit, there were a few to whom he felt he ought to pay special tribute.

Men like Strick, who "stuck with his art form through thick and thin."

And 'Barry', who's been with him from the inception, through the most trying of times at 'The Hadfield', and whom he likes to think of as being "one of the unsung heroes of Guyana" because of the amount of time and energy he knows he puts into his work and the lack of appreciation he is shown for all his pains.

And 'Ita', who's been with 'The Hadfield' since it first opened it's doors back in 1992, and who, like the proverbial Prodigal Son, just recently returned home from 'Babylon' to which he had migrated some years ago.

And Thompson, whom he feels has been so "particularly blessed" it's as if "genius has visited him."

There were also those for whom he had little anecdotes.

Like Gary Thomas, whom one is inclined to think of in superlatives, whenever one has occasion to think of him.

"Gary does nothing in small measures," he said. "If Gary is going to give you a hard time; it's a big hard time. If he's going to let you down, he will do so in a big way."

But for all his faults, Gary is an "outstanding" artist. "His work is absolutely inspiring. You can walk past a Gary Thomas piece and always want to stop and look back at it; always see it from a different angle."

And Robert Williams, whom he said bears no resemblance in any way to the Robert Williams we all know, and whom he'd known a long time but never knew was an artist until that night.

To newcomers like Anthony Tyrell and Colin Moe, he bade them a warm welcome, noting that it has always been a tradition in the art world for the old to bring the new.

In fact, it was an honour for 'The Hadfield' to have afforded them that privilege, since it was for this very purpose it was set up.

"The idea we had behind 'The Hadfield' when it was set up was to create the space in which young artists as well as the established masters could exhibit and to which people could come and freely visit at no cost," he said.