The Arts and Literature

The country's best-known literary work is probably E. R. Braithwaite's To Sir, with Love, a bestseller based on the author's experiences as a teacher in a tough section of London. Many of Braithwaite's other works are based on his Guyanese experiences.

Another renowned Guyanese writer, Edgar Mittelhšlzer, wrote the historical series called Children of Kaywana. He also wrote My Bones and my Flute, a ghost story about a Dutch plantation owner whose soul would not rest until he was given a Christian burial.

Norman Beaton, an actor based in London, is perhaps the best-known representative from Guyana in his field. He has played a Guyanese named Desmond in a British TV show.

Guyanese visual arts, including painting and sculpture, are well developed. Permanent exhibitions are on display in the National Cultural Centre in the capital city, Georgetown. Cottage crafts include basket weaving and clay pottery.

The dominant influences in Guyanese art are the native people, the ethnic diversity and the physical beauty of the land. These themes are reflected in the works of the painters Stanley Greaves and Ronald Savory. Savory's work in particular has brought the hard to reach interior of Guyana to city dwellers. Phillip Moore is an artist who paints and sculpts. The painter, Aubrey Williams, won the Guyanese Golden Arrow Prize in 1970 and the Commonwealth Prize for painting in 1964.

Many local entertainers compose songs and poetry in the Guyanese dialect and in Hindi. They sing or recite them at special entertainment events. Calypso is a special kind of song, written in dialect. It is very witty and often takes a satirical look at politics and customs. There are calypso competitions during Mashramani, a carnival-like festival, which is celebrated as part of Republic Week. Chutney songs are composed partly in English and partly in Hindi, and are sometimes saucy. They are performed at special events and parties.
Did you know?

E. R. Braithwaite's story To Sir, with Love, became internationally known as a result of the very popular film version of the book, which starred Sidney Poitier and whose title song was sung by the 1960s pop star, Lulu.