Bevan Allicock: Storytelling with his art

“I made a portrait of my late grandfather who is my favorite; he used to like storytelling. When I finish art school, I want to create a series of paintings detailing these stories, ”says Bevan Allicock, a portrait artist and art student.

For Bevan, art is more than capturing someone’s characteristics or emotions, it’s part of history.

Nineteen-year-old Bevan hails from Surama, in Region Nine. Apart from common blood, he and his family also share artistic talent. He is the son of Marcella, a designer and Bertrand Allicock, an architect (also a mechanic). In addition, all seven of Bevan’s siblings are artistic. If the name Allicock sounds familiar, it’s because he’s a cousin of popular designer Vanda Allicock.

Bevan said that art has always been his hobby, which he never really thought about. Throughout his education, he hoped to become a mechanic like his father. He drew inspiration from his parents’ artistic skills and the beauty that surrounds him: the savannahs, the forest and the mountains.

“I have noticed, other students like me who have arrived at the art school from the inside, their first pieces depict nature; mine did too. We do it subconsciously, ”he explained.

Having photographed all his life, Bevan can’t remember exactly what his first piece was. However, in terms of his first excellent piece, he remembers it as clear as day. His father had arrived home tired of work and had gone to sleep. Quietly, Bevan’s mother approached him encouraging him to take his father’s photograph while he was sleeping. “This is one of my favorite pieces. My dad was blown away when he woke up and saw him, ”recalls Bevan.

However, as much as he loves this particular picture, nothing matches the piece he made involving his grandfather last year. His grandfather was Robert Frederick Allicock of Mackenzie, Linden who along with his late brother Theo Allicock moved to Region Nine where they founded Surama Village more than half a century ago. His grandfather, Bevan said, was always good company and full of humor. He might be angry at going over to his grandfather, but his anger would eventually dissipate. Above all, Bevan always looked forward to his stories of his arrival in Surama; from life experiences, some near death experiences; and also of his adventures on the river. A few times he had accompanied him on these trips along the river. After he passed, Bevan made a picture of his grandfather that he has since framed as a gift for his grandmother. However, the picture is only part of a gift for his grandmother as he wants to give her a self portrait as well.

When he completes art school, Bevan hopes to create more pieces detailing his grandfather’s many stories, which he hopes to display in his art studio in the future.

Bevan and his brother are currently students of ER Burrowes School of Art. The school provides theory lessons online while some practical work is done in school. However, for students like Bevan’s brother, practical work is done at home. Currently, the artist is in the city. Bevan explained that to obtain a diploma in art from Burrowes, they are required to attend four years at school or one could also do a certificate in art that requires three years of teaching. Bevan is pursuing the certificate as he did not have the required grade for his English CSEC acceptance at the time of admission. Not wanting to settle for less and wanting to read for a diploma, he re-sat the English exam this year and is awaiting his results before returning to Surama.

Once he returns home, the teenager has plans to help the children in Surama. He shared that he had noticed that some children are not as busy as they should be in school. They used to come around while he was drawing or painting and look forward in awe. Bevan can’t be sure if they have been caught up with their lessons as it’s been months since he was back, but plans to, once he returns to his village, learn some art techniques basic for them.

There are many who have artistic skills in Surama, Bevan said. He noticed that before the pandemic, when tourists often visited Surama Eco Lodge, they were always looking for culture and art. It would be good if a gallery could be set up where tourists could look at a variety of art belonging to the Surama people. Guyana added, it could benefit from more galleries that would boost the tourism sector.

The local art scene fully welcomes development not only in the resources of more art institutions but to be appreciated by their own Guyanese, he said. Art is often used as a medium for social issues, he noted, but was not always respected for the impact it has on society.

Bevan loves being an artist. For him artists look at the world from a different perspective. “We tend to notice all the details we try to capture in our work for other people to notice,” said the young man.

Whenever he’s in the city, Bevan’s favorite place to work is in the National Park. It is also conveniently located next to Burrowes. The park, he said, creates that scenic and relaxing space it needs whenever it’s caught on one of its pieces.

Bevan finds his canvases somewhere along Regent Street, lumberyard framed wood, and his paint, and paint brushes from either Family Store or Pinch Expressions. He noted that materials were expensive, and one time when he was nearly cutting, he needed his materials. Unsure of whether the piece when made with it would interest a buyer, he knew it was a risk, but it was worth a try. Bevan decided to buy all he needed. Turns out, he made a sale on the piece.

To date, the artist has sold an average of 25 paintings and paintings to clients living in Georgetown, Lethem, and one as far away as Norway.

In his free time, the artist spends his time doubling, sketching, or looking during the day at more art.

His favorite dish is tender meat with stewed bora and a cup of local juice.

Bevan can be followed on Instagram @ bevarts58 or on Facebook at Bevan Allicock.