New arts journal hits local shelves
Kaieteur News

June 9, 2004

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A 115-page compilation of local art forms, including poetry, historic writings and paintings constitute the latest journal now available to serve Guyanese, the Caribbean and the Guyanese diaspora overseas.

The publication, titled: ‘The Arts Journal’, was printed by Pavnic Press in May, on behalf of the Arts Forum Incorporated, and was officially launched this week at the Georgetown Club, before an audience including Prime Minister Sam Hinds and former President, Mrs. Janet Jagan.

Editor of the publication, Ameena Gafoor, said the book is intended to serve as a bridge to those who represent a sizeable portion of Guyana’s knowledge base. She said the publication will be initially compiled annually, and is intended to present well-researched papers on a sustained basis.

Gafoor pointed out that Guyana has produced some of the world’s most brilliant scholars, and she noted that intellectual thought and critical examination including self-examination are essential elements of any democracy. “We are a nation rich in history, in literary culture, myth and folklore, but disadvantaged by publishing,” stated the Editor, adding that literary journalism has a valued place in life, but is no substitute for scholarly research.

Former career Diplomat, Lloyd Searwar deemed the publication “a remarkable forward step in fostering intellectual exchange in Guyana at a time when it is urgently needed.”

Naming former local publications such as Timehri, Indian Opinion and Kyk-over-all as great reading material, Searwar said, Guyana needs to reactivate the days when intellectual debates took centre stage.

Derek Bernard, Dean of the Faculty of Education of the University of Guyana, and columnist Ian Mc Donald, who both lauded the effort, made impromptu remarks.

Commending the Editor of the journal and recommending the publication for readership, Secretary General of the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Carmen Jarvis said the publication is compatible with the objectives and ideals of UNESCO.

“We live in a society in which we need to appreciate cultural diversity and create unity in that diversity”

Assistant Secretary General of CARICOM, Edward Green said CARICOM is pleased about the step, commenting on the importance of such journals.

He noted that at the recent CARICOM Council For Human and Social Development (COHSOD) meeting in Georgetown, Ministers of Culture agreed to investigate and revise the promotion of the Caribbean arts presented through CARIFESTA as a means of fostering closer unity within and outside member states.

At the end of the launching event, copies of the publication were presented to the University of Guyana, Turkeyen, and Berbice libraries, the National Archives and the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre.

The Arts Journal, cataloguing cultural and historic events was first launched at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago on May 22, last.

Contributors to the journal include historians Tota Mangar and Verene Shepherd, literary writers, Alim Hoosein and Clem Seecharan, and artists, Bernadette Persaud and Ameena Gafoor.