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May 27, 1998

Guyana's 32nd anniversary of independence is being showcased in Washington in an art exhibition that opened at the Organization of American States (OAS) on Tuesday evening. The 20-piece art display features the works of two Guyanese artists-Dudley Charles and Patsy-Ann Rasmussen.

The artistic expressions were well appreciated by Guyana's ambassador, Dr. Odeen Ishmael, and the OAS secretary general, CÚsar Gaviria, both of whom had words of high praise for the artists and their creations, as well as Guyanese contribution to cultural development in the hemisphere and the world in general.

"Our artists displaying their work today form part of the legacy of the struggle for the independence of Guyana," stated Ambassador Ishmael as he opened the exhibition entitled Guyana Week at the OAS. He explained the important role artists had played in Guyana's political and cultural development, and how they helped in the movement towards independence.

Ambassador Ishmael, whose office organized the exhibition with assistance from the OAS, invoked the late national poet Martin Carter to illustrate how the country's artists used their craft to help pave the way for independence to become a reality in Guyana.

Describing Rasmussen and Charles as very talented artists, the OAS chief observed that their work was representative of the "high quality and innovative spirit of Guyana's contemporary art." The secretary general added that the artists, in a unique way, projected "a penetrating vision that blends elements from the universal language of geometry and order, with images and metaphors grounded in a regional cultural context and their intense love of the natural beauty of their country."

Mr. Gaviria in congratulating the government and people of Guyana on the independence milestone, welcomed the large number of Guyanese nationals from the Washington area, OAS-accredited diplomats and friends of Guyana that turned out for the event.

Twelve of the pieces of display are drawings by Rasmussen who employs acrylic, pen and ink, gouache and graphite to present her concepts on paper, with one using acrylic on canvas. Dudley, meantime, brought to life cultural elements with acrylic on canvas to render his celebration of Guyana through brightly colored creations that fuse together in striking renditions that are sometimes abstract as they bearing eloquent testimony to Guyana's rich multicultural fabric.

All this confirms Charles' own stated perspective on his work which, he says, draws from "events and images encountered in my life, reflections of the multicultural, multiracial society that comprises the Guyanese society. All this brings together what he calls a "mythopoetic expression of this Guyana 'cook-up'."

For Rasmussen--who works with Washington D.C.'s Smithsonian Institution--it is lines, shapes and dots that explore her subject matter, as is evident in her 12 offerings that combine such elements. She declares: "I am forever searching for innovative ways to express myself."

Both artists, Washington DC area residents, have mounted a wonderful display, presenting Guyanese talent that is a most fitting tribute to their country's independence day, Tuesday, May 26.

The works for Guyana Week at the OAS remain on display for the public at the OAS art gallery until Friday, May 29.

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