Guyana | Ruminations by Carl Hazlewood a ‘Foreign Guyanese’ Artist

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

“Pretty Angel Baby,” Carl Hazlewood. Mixed Media Installation. 2012


Carl E. Hazlewood is a Guyanese artist, writer and curator, living in Brookiyn, New York. He is co-founder and former curator of ALJIRA, A Centre for Contemporary Art, in New Jersey. 

There have been several occasions in recent years where I’ve been accused of being a ‘foreign Guyanese,’ that term being used deliberately to suggest, I felt, that I had no right to be involved with things I assumed was within my cultural sphere of interest as a ‘born’ Guyanese. As one might imagine, such encounters induced moments of extreme psychic dissonance for me. What was I? Who am I? Why do I feel such a responsibility to folks who seem so disinterested in whatever I had to offer? And what is the responsibility of that place and those people to me?

I was taken to the United States at around the age of thirteen or so. I was there to have a congenital heart defect repaired. And except for a period of about two or three years when I was a teen, I’ve since resided in America. Thus, I’ve spent only a fraction of my life actually located in Guyana. But what does that mean about the quality of my experience as someone of that place and of that soil? When my little family left Guyana in the 1960s, the country was in the grip of a vital and increasingly violent political and social struggle. Even as a child I could feel that tension present everywhere, for it affected us all. The land was an impoverished beauty, and like the rest of the Caribbean, it remains an ambivalent site of both desire and desperation.

I was away from Guyana before I was old enough or healthy enough to have the common experiences I hear about every time there is a gathering of Guyanese: parties, dancing, drinking. I’ve never climbed a coconut tree or picked a mango off a branch, or went swimming in a ‘punt trench.’ My childhood experiences were circumscribed and mainly focused on intellectual and artistic pursuits: books; whatever presentations the BBC broadcasted, like Lorna Doone or Shakespeare plays; all the international news of far away countries fighting for independence; and tales of Nationalism, bloody wars, and survival.

“The land was an impoverished beauty, and like the rest of the Caribbean, it remains an ambivalent site of both desire and desperation.”

Now I struggle to recall the difference between the fruits jamoon and psydium. I think they are both purple and round and sweet. But I remember Cockabelly, the tiny fish flashing silver in the gutter that ran outside our fence. I remember Hindi popular music on Radio Demerara’s Indian Music Program.

It’s odd how much one can still care about the old homeland no matter how many years fly by. Like the vague image of a long ago lover, the personal Guyana I struggle to hang onto falls apart in the glare of reality, a consequence of passing time, frustrated desire, and failing memory.

In Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables there’s a passage where Hugo speaks of the ways in which physical places from our pasts become holders and place cards for psychological memories and experiences:

But when we are distant from them, we find that those things have become dear to us, a street, trees and roofs, blank walls, doors and windows; we have entered those houses without knowing it, we have left something of our heart in the very stonework. Those places we no longer see, perhaps will never see again but still remember, have acquired an aching charm; they return to us with the melancholy of ghosts…

I suppose it’s all about the continuing need to affirm roots, our stubborn wish to be planted in the ground, which we imagine has always been ours—by nurture and by blood. This lingering emotional dependency, the immigrant yearning to retain something that’s truly our own is perhaps understandable. When we left the land of origin, we looked forward to having a secure future in that other place where we hoped to establish a new life for our families and ourselves; it would be a place where we could be safe, somewhere we might thrive emotionally and economically.

But no matter how we adapt and speak the language and intone words with the perfected accent of the native-born, there remains a nagging sense, at least for first generation immigrants, that we are abiding among strangers. The habits and tastes of the homeland, masked though they may be, remain.

So, after a lifetime of desire and distance, home becomes an abstract zone of yearning; a need for tropical heat, an irrational wish to suck on a mango, obtained not from the corner supermarket, but plucked from the backyard tree of our hot myth of childhood, which is perhaps a memory, but probably only another artifact of desire. Despite our established presence here in the ‘other place,’ we know what we are, and hope that we understand WHO we are. But does our old country care? What are we to IT?

I exist now in an extended global Guyana village along with lots of inhabitants: intellectuals, artists, novelists, poets; people like Stanley Greaves, Wilson Harris, Donald Locke, Frank Bowling, Fred D’Aguiar, and a host of ordinary others.  Despite my often-unrequited love, desperation, and disappointment, I find myself still actively engaged in constructing that hybrid culture that may ensure the survival of what is most vital and important about my distant homeland.


The essay above is excerpted from Carl Hazlewood’s lecture on “Nuanced Fragments from the Global Village,” presented to the Ninth Annual Symposium of the Guyana Cultural Association of New York in 2010.

Image: "Le Repentir." Carl Hazlewood. Oil on Hardboard. ca 1966-67.

____________________________________Of Note Magazine is a sponsored organization of Artspire, a program of the New York Foundation for the Arts, a 501 (c) (3), tax-exempt organization. All donations are 100% tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

0 Flares Facebook 0 Twitter 0 0 Flares ×


1,942 Responses to “Guyana | Ruminations by Carl Hazlewood a ‘Foreign Guyanese’ Artist”
  1. Gaylord says:

    Photography religions Her first performing success came as a singer with the three-piece group Akasa, who were signed by WEA Records UK in 1988

  2. Jarrett says:

    I’m in my first year at university flevoland Adding to the positive tone was news that Pfizer would buy Hospira Inc for about $15 billion to gainaccess to its biosimilars

  3. Nogood87 says:

    I live here cetrilak soap After losing three consecutive games to fall behind 4-3 in the first set, the Floridian pounded the court with her racket and drew jeers in the stadium she considers her home court.

  4. Layla says:

    I work here prednisone side effects dogs constipation President Obama will attend a meeting at Andrews Air Force Base hosted by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen

  5. Jerry says:

    Excellent work, Nice Design hormonal acne supplements The NFL has suspended Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay for the first six games of the season and fined him $500,000 for violating its personal conduct policy, coming down hard after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor stemming from a March traffic stop.

  6. Emerson says:

    When do you want me to start? vardenafil vs cialis Scientists in the Netherlands and the US carried out a major review of 37 trials involving almost 2,800 people

  7. Johnathan says:

    Will I get paid for overtime? ampikem Iranian-backed militias have provided much of the muscle for Iraq’s government as the national military has struggled

  8. Jerrell says:

    I’m on business cbd oil stocks thc free vape They fell 17 percent on July 15 after thecompany announced the largest salary increase in its history totry to attract new drivers to offset the number of retiring babyboomers.

  9. Refugio says:

    We need someone with experience doryx 150 mg cost Once you have some things in place, other things happen because those already exist,” explained Prof Gaffney.

  10. JaneDoula says:


  11. Clement says:

    Lost credit card does bactrim ds treat std Instead, we’ve got fake antique cars built by a company founded by Steve Nislick (parking lot king/big-time de Blasio supporter) sitting idle in front of the Plaza Hotel, waiting for tourists

  12. Ryan says:

    I can’t stand football remedio femtrex In Black Spanish Family (1950) she endows a neighbourhood family with extraordinary dignity, neither romanticising nor patronising them as they pose patiently for her in their Sunday best.

  13. Good web site you’ve got here.. It’s hard to find excellent writing like yours
    nowadays. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  14. Royal says:

    I’ve got a very weak signal provigil kokemuksia InMarch a Swiss court denied a request by SWH to lift thelimitation of its voting rights

  15. Aidan says:

    Yes, I love it! vigrx plus for cheap We have now seen what air cover for Kurdish/Iraqi boots on the ground can achieve

  16. Normand says:

    What do you do for a living? gastric medicine England’s lack of penetrative kicking from front foot ball was a shame as it meant they did not capitalise on their strong set piece, and they then lost momentum and pressure

  17. Abdul says:

    I like watching TV proven hair growth products uk On Tuesday, a real-money fantasy sports startupcalled FanDuel said KKR had participated in their latest fundinground for an undisclosed sum.

  18. Carrol says:

    It’s funny goodluck glysens cost Yemeni Foreign Minister Riad Yassin said there was an “arrangement” for ground troops of the Saudi-led coalition to deploy in Yemen

  19. Garry says:

    What do you study? fulcin forte “We will need to reconsider the extension of dutypreferences under AGOA for South Africa if this situation is notresolved,” the senators warned, referring to the African Growthand Opportunity Act which regulates U.S.-Africa trade.

  20. Hipolito says:

    I want to make a withdrawal betnovate n skin cream eyeshadow Eyewitnesses in the central province of Ibb described to Reuters seeing a column of dozens of tanks and military vehicles traveling from the Houthi-loyalist north on their way southward toward Taiz, 150 km (200 miles) northwest of Aden.

  21. Sydney says:

    Will I get travelling expenses? nelsons noctura tablets Student-runfirms that met venture capital backers at Stanford includeSnapchat, the photo-sharing service

  22. Blair says:

    Hello good day equiflex insoles The world No 1 delivered the most impressive performance yet in the men’s competition here this year when he destroyed David Ferrer, the No 4 seed, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in yesterday’s first semi-final

  23. Jeffry says:

    A staff restaurant ahhh detox dietary supplement A few years ago Boko Harm was just another local outfit causing the Nigerian authorities difficulties by terrorising people in the north-east of the country

  24. Frank says:

    Where are you from? sunkist caffeine australia All the bodies are tagged or accompanied with an index card, showing systematic documentation reminiscent of Nazi methods.

  25. Lincoln says:

    I’m doing a phd in chemistry virovir 500 mg The Holocaust, of course, resulted in the torture and murder of two-thirds of European Jews.

  26. You have brought up a very excellent points , thankyou for the post.

  27. Dario says:

    Do you need a work permit? whats the generic name for prednisone A worker uprising tends to conjure up the most negative of stereotypes these days: a bunch of overpaid, disgruntled workers trying to squeeze more out of management in an economy still struggling out of a recession

  28. SueDoula says:

    [url=]colchicine for dogs[/url]

  29. Ian says:

    I’m originally from Dublin but now live in Edinburgh buy avila ageless serum Prosecutors said they had emails from CSX Transportation, which owns the railroad bridge spanning the Altamaha River, showing Miller’s crew had twice been denied permission to film a scene on the tracks where the crash occurred.

  30. Elijah says:

    Can I use your phone? triglimisave ls 2 forte Free from the stresses of work, we can take the time to reacquaint ourselves with the classics — or perhaps indulge in something a little lighter.

  31. JaneDoula says:


  32. Warner says:

    How much is a Second Class stamp? zymogesic ds price A spokeswoman for Haselsteiner, whose family foundation has a 25 percent stake in construction group Strabag, confirmed a report in newspaper Die Presse on Tuesday that the Essl collection had been bought.

  33. Wilber says:

    I’m afraid that number’s ex-directory biozobid tablet use One puss equipped with a bell on its collar suddenly decided to run around the room halfway through our interview, and managed to halt filming for several minutes until it could be caught and ushered out.

  34. Jerrold says:

    I’d like to order some foreign currency latocom cf eye drop Moscow denies the presence of Russian tanks and troops there, despite what NATO and Western governments have said is overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

  35. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  36. Lawrence says:

    A law firm antabuse uk forum viewforum Injuries are so common that teams often have more than one replacement player for the same position

  37. Mervin says:

    How much is a Second Class stamp? revidox lb Chanting “My Child, My Choice” and carrying signs that read “Force my veggies, not vaccines,” and “Protect the Children, Not Big Pharma — No on SB277,” the crowd listened as one speaker after another addressed both the harm they said vaccines have caused their children and the threat of an arrogant state government that is seeking to make health care decisions on their behalf.

  38. Mikel says:

    I’m self-employed ivermectin buy online banking group Citi and Banorte of Mexico, Air Canada, and retailersAmerican Eagle Outfitters and Boots UK.

  39. Lavern says:

    Whereabouts in are you from? neurexan He played nine seasons with the franchise and had worked out for Detroit the week of his death

  40. Valeria says:

    I quite like cooking prostate 5lx side effect Oct 17 (Reuters) – Cliffs Natural Resources Inc saidit would write down the value of its coal and iron ore assets by$6 billion due to weak prices, putting it in breach of debtcovenants and sending its shares down as much as 6.8 percent.

  41. MiaDoula says:

    [url=]how can i get doxycycline[/url] [url=]allopurinol coupon[/url] [url=]metformin cost[/url] [url=]colchicine 06 mg[/url]

  42. Florencio says:

    I’m about to run out of credit enam definition Secretary of State John Kerry, who said Russiahad made constructive moves toward possibly reducing tensions inUkraine.


0 Flares Facebook 0 Twitter 0 0 Flares ×