Patentia art students celebrate with Caricom
-two win regional competition
Stabroek News
February 14, 2004

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"I always liked doing art. When I'm not doing anything I just take a piece of paper and draw something," says Paten-tia Secondary School student Evrod Wilson, winner of the first prize in Caricom's 30th Anniversary Art competition.

The regional competition, which had a primary category for ages 8-11 and secondary students ages 12-16, was held under the themes "We live in the Caribbean" for primary students and "What does Caricom mean to me?" for secondary students. Paten-tia Secondary School from the West Bank Demerara entered two prize-winning pieces.

The 14-year-old Wilson thought that Caricom meant togetherness of the Caribbean nations who help out each other in hard times. "I thought it was a big celebration, " he adds. His piece has fireworks going off and a bottle of champagne next to a pyramid of the Caricom countries' flags.

He and his classmates began working on their pieces with the help of their art teacher, Lilowti Swami, on the last day of the August 2003 term. It took him about a week to complete the piece creating parts on a separate sheet of paper before cutting it out and pasting it onto a plain sheet of cardboard.

Wilson, who lives at La Grange with his two siblings and parents, Evon and Orin Wilson, says he received the news that he had won on Tuesday during his lunch break. "I was real happy. I was just cool. I thought I would win because I really tried hard." He says he would like to become an artist sometime in the future.

The other prize winner from Patentia Secon-dary School, Rhonda Chee-a-Tow wanted her drawing to show the development of Cari-com. "I love doing art and knew if I entered I would have succeeded." Though she enjoys drawing landscapes, "I thought everybody would be doing landscapes so I decided to do something different."

"I'm feeling good I won it. I had confidence I would win a prize. I was in school preparing for Agriculture when I heard about it. I was shocked but I thought I could have done better."

She is the eldest of three sisters and lives with her mom, Bibi Glen and dad Gary Chee-A-Tow at Patentia.

Swami, a seven-year art teacher and fine arts student at the University of Guyana, had a major part to play.

She says, "to be honest the then headmistress Venus Carryl was really stern and we wanted a breakthrough. We thought the school needed some recognition so the work was done during the holidays at my home.

"We worked in a benab so they were free to express themselves. The hard work paid off and I'm really proud. "All the effort came from them, I was there to boost them up and provide material and so on. They are very co-operative students."

She says that though the children would do general projects in school this was their first exposure to art on such a level and could be a stepping-stone for the school.

"I really think schools should focus more on art. Children at a young age should be exposed to the experience. If not they become narrow-minded in answering questions."

(Christopher Yaw)