Amerindians display craft skills at leadership institute By Jaime Hall
Guyana Chronicle
December 6, 2003

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The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs yesterday hosted an exhibition and sale of work in textile designs at the Amerindian Residence, Princess Street, which was done by a group of Amerindian women from six of the country's ten administrative regions.

The work that was on display was the results of a 19-day training in handicraft conducted at the Women's Leadership Institute at Cove and John East Coast Demerara, where 17 Amerindian women.

The main objective of the training programme was to create alternative skills in the use of readily available materials to generate additional family income. This programme was also supported by the Rural Women's Network.

The items on display included T-shirts pillow cases skirts, hats, hand bags among other apparel, all decorated with patterns of tie-dye, embroidery, nettings with beads.

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition Training Instructor, Ms Jennifer Gibson said to the women that she was impressed to discover the high level of creativity the women possessed.

Ms. Gibson who is from Barbados said their skills could put Guyana in the forefront in Caribbean when it comes to handicraft and creativity.

She said the training will also allow them to create attractive wear for themselves using local raw materials as much as possible, also to produce high quality unique products.

She added that some of the designs could portray symbols the signifying what the produce represent in their own local indigenous terms.

Some of the techniques thought include applying colour to fabric in the form of tie-dye, fabric painting and embroidery. This was coupled with the theory in the form of notes that was explained to them.

"These women are truly blessed and are rich with talent and I am really very impressed with what I have seen", Ms Gibson commented.

Minister of Culture Youth and Sport in her remarks said the creativity of the Amerindian women could send messages on various aspects of their own culture and they could also borrow from others.

Tiexiera also encouraged them to enroll with the Borrowes School of Art to further develop their skills. There are both certificated and diploma programmes in this particular field of art.

She said the women displaying the high level of creativity in making their own costume should make them feel proud. It is also a means of creating economic activity for them selves and family.

She urged them to impart the knowledge gained to the rest of the community when they would have return.