Guyana: Memories of Independence – By Alissa Trotz

Memories of Independence

By Alissa Trotz On May 26, 2016  – In The Diaspora

Alissa Trotz teaches at the University of Toronto and is the editor of the In the Diaspora column

20131028diasporaHow many times have we seen the coat of arms without really understanding what it stands for? Or without knowing how it came to be? Speaking with Stanley Greaves this week, one learns that in fact there was a competition for the flag and coat of arms. As Greaves remembers it “I entered the competition, and you had any number of artists, so that what you are seeing is a composite where elements were taken from different artists and put together. My contribution was the two jaguars holding up the shield, but without the pick and the plant (representing mining and rice). Those were added.   

“The wavy lines in the shield that represent the waters of Guyana and the national lily Victoria Amazonica were added by the painter E.R. Burrowes (founder of the first Guyanese art institution, the Working People’s Art Class, in the 1940s). The scroll with the motto – one people, one nation, one destiny – was designed by Compton Parris. The composite design came from the Institute of Heraldry in the UK, they are the ones who said the helm must be on the shield as it was a requirement for the coat of arms of all Commonwealth countries. When Guyana became a republic, the cacique crown was superimposed on top.”

Read more: Guyana: Memories of Independence – By Alissa Trotz 


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