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Director of Studies at the BSA, Ms. Kathleen Thompson, opened the simple but well-attended ceremony conducted on the lawns of the Umana Yana, High Street, Kingston. She then presented her report on the academic year 2002-2003, and asserted that the current graduation exercise was an historic one in that “it marked the very first graduation of third year certificate students.”
Ms Thompson said that the year, which started in September, saw the departure of several students, one teacher and the death of BSA Board member -- the artist Maylene Duncan. Mr. Michael Lewis, an alumnus of Burrowes and a professional ceramist and art teacher, replaced Ms Duncan on the Board. Mrs. Sandra Alleyne, whose appointment heralded the re-introduction of a fulltime programme in art history at the institution, was named to replace the departing teacher, Mrs. Hilary Ng.
In his presentation, External Examiner Mr. Kenwyn Crichlow commended the administration of Burrowes for its work in training the young artists, something, which he observed, was evident in their creative output. Mr. Crichlow urged the continued attachment of veteran Guyanese artist, Phillip Moore to the Burrowes School of Art.
“It is a light of inspiration that this celebrated man of Caribbean art should continue to hold himself available to a new generation of Guyanese artists in their training,” Crichlow said.
The External Examiner commented on various aspects of the students’ work from the mandatory drawing element of their studies to the painting and ceramics of individual students. Kenwyn Crichlow is a renowned Trinidadian artist as well as a lecturer at the Institute of Creative and Festival Arts at the St. Augustine, Trinidad Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Delivering the feature address for the afternoon was Ms. Gail Teixeira, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport. The Minister said that she was glad to see a change in the direction of the creative works of Burrowes graduating students towards a return to the environment and “looking at where we’re from”. She also lauded what she described as a return to portraiture after “a long period when we couldn’t look each other in the face”.
Ms. Teixeira said that she saw celebrations like Mashramani as ways in which the creative work of the students of Burrowes can be demonstrated to the society at large.
It was then time for the awards ceremony, which saw BSA Diploma and Certificate students Christina Bonar, Anil Roberts, Samanda Daymon, Devon Dover, Odessa Osborne and Collis Whyte receiving their certificates. Anil Roberts, the obvious star pupil of the ceremonies walked away with the Best Graduating Diploma Student award from Burrowes and a $50,000 award from Castellani House, the National Art Gallery.
After the award ceremony, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, Mr. Keith Booker, charged the students to strive for uncompromising quality in their creative work.
Best Graduating Student Anil Roberts gave the vote of thanks after which the Minister declared open the exhibition, which was mounted in the Umana Yana.