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Indigenous artisans bring cultural heritage to life in Georgetown

AMERINDIAN Heritage Month in Guyana is currently underway, and this year’s theme, “Sustaining Our Cultural Heritage and Identity While Contributing to One Guyana,” is being vividly brought to life at the Amerindian Heritage Village.

Indigenous artisans hailing from various regions of Guyana have converged to showcase their exceptional craftwork, creating a vibrant and immersive experience that celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Guyana’s Amerindian communities.

From September 2nd to September 5th, 2023, Georgetown has played host to this remarkable exhibition, where an array of Amerindian crafts and jewelry has taken center stage, featuring captivating and distinctive designs that reflect the unique traditions and talents of Guyana’s Indigenous Peoples.

This publication had the privilege of speaking with several exhibitors, many of whom traveled great distances to share their skillfully handcrafted creations.

Mackernol Albert, a familiar face in the Amerindian Village, hails from Paruima Village in Region Seven. Albert, with a deep commitment to preserving and showcasing the heritage of Guyana’s Indigenous communities, presented an impressive array of colorful and intricately designed crafts.

His collection included rain-sticks, vibrant spinning tops for children, darts, a blowpipe (traditionally used for hunting), and bamboo arrows, among other items. With years of experience participating in the Amerindian Heritage Village, Albert expressed his hope to return next year with even more exquisite offerings.

Deborah Mathias of Rave Designs is another dedicated artist who crafts her pieces entirely by hand.

Her creations incorporate semi-precious stones, sea-shells, bamboo, coconut, and various natural and repurposed materials. Mathias has been a proud participant in this event for the past five years and eagerly anticipates each year’s exhibition.

Representing Unique Amerindian Crafts from Region Three, Shereen Singh shared that their group, comprised mainly of Amerindian women from villages like Santa Aratac and Saint Cuthberts Mission, has made significant contributions to the wide array of crafts on display.

Singh noted that their involvement in this event has provided them with increased exposure locally and even led to a promising partnership with an international business owner.

Another noteworthy participant at the exhibition was Dawndelions Holistic Variety Store, specialising in herbal teas and medicines. While the owner, Herbalist Dawn Skepmire, was unavailable for comment, Marilyn Allick, a representative of the store, explained that Dawndelions offers holistic solutions for various medical ailments, including diabetes and hypertension.

The Amerindian Heritage Month celebration in Georgetown continues to be a vibrant testament to the rich cultural heritage and contributions of Guyana’s Indigenous communities. It is a unique opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the artistry, traditions, and natural remedies that have been passed down through generations, contributing to the tapestry of Guyana’s cultural identity.

For those interested in exploring Rave Designs at the Multiplex Mall on Regent and Wellington Streets in Georgetown, you can reach them at 667-0127.

As Amerindian Heritage Month festivities continue, visitors are encouraged to explore the rich tapestry of Guyana’s Indigenous culture on display at the Amerindian Heritage Village.