Performing Arts and Guyana development
Kaieteur News – I was reading the works of Kalidasa and Kabir recently, when it occurred to me that our school system had an opportunity to better reflect the rich diversity of our ancient cultures. These two poets are among the largest and best known in the world, and yet our school syllabus is dominated by Shakespeare.
There is an opportunity to further embrace our National Poets who have also enriched our culture and captured our history by showcasing Guyana’s contribution to the painted emotional canvas of life. Our School System, the National Cultural Center (which needs to be more culturally diverse) and the Theater Guild are still in their infancy. The vision of using them to enhance Guyana’s development, while embracing and expressing our diverse cultural heritage in the Performing Arts such as poetry, music, dance and theater is still worth pursuing. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about each other, and with mutual understanding, peaceful coexistence may have a better chance of success.
It should also be noted that the National Cultural Center is a place where school children from diverse backgrounds would visit to see National and International shows such as the performance of a visiting Chinese Acrobatic Team. Yet today, the exhibition in front of the Center does not reflect the diversity of our culture and for many it seems less inviting than it was before. We must not limit the cultural richness of our National Center and we must ensure an accurate reflection of what our rich cultural society has to offer. After the holiday season ends, many of our citizens can easily remember the influence of the different cultures on the kitchen table. The Amerindian Pepper Pot, Portuguese Garlic Pork, African Cooking Rice, Indian Curry, Chinese Chowmein and European Homemade Bread all add to the range of culinary experiences offered in our multicultural society. The same cultural diversity should be on display in our Multicultural National Landmarks and within our school syllabus.
Performing arts is a tool that if used well, can provide an opportunity for cultural exploration and understanding. It is an enlightening endeavor worth pursuing and motivating as we continue our journey towards social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.
Mr. Jamil Changlee
Guyana Cooperative Republicans