Guyana SPEAKS: Celebrates the work of Frank Bowling – London UK – June 30, 2019

Guyana SPEAKS is delighted to announce that the following distinguished guests have been invited to help us celebrate the work of Frank Bowling on Sunday, 30thJune (2-5pm): Elfrieda BissemberProf. Ben BowlingFrederik Bowling and Spencer Richards.

Frank Bowling was born in British Guiana (now Guyana) in 1934.  Aged 19, he moved to London, and went on to study painting at the Royal College of Art alongside artists such as David Hockney and Patrick Caulfield.  Guyana SPEAKS pays homage to Bowling, now 85, with a major retrospective of his work still in full swing at the Tate Britain.

Alastair Sooke, critic at large for the Daily Telegraph wrote: “Leaving aside the obvious – cruelly, his skin colour counted against him, especially earlier in his career – how did we miss him for so long?  This is an astonishing retrospective, ranging across entire continents of abstract colour.”

Tickets can be purchased at the door or booked in advance from eventbrite:

As usual please pre-order your choice of Guyanese food using the contact details provided on the flyer above.

For more information on our speakers, please see the below:

Elfrieda Bissember (joining by Skype) served as the Director/CEO of the National Gallery of Guyana, as Curator of the National Collection, and as Secretary to the National Gallery board, from 1996 to 2014.

She was responsible for presenting over 300 events including exhibitions of contemporary and historical Guyanese art, related events including workshops, art classes and biennial art competitions, and others promoting the literary, performing, film and video arts, including the cultural traditions and art forms of countries diplomatically accredited to Guyana.

Her administrative duties included the management of gallery building projects and National Collection conservation projects, and financial reports and reviews of the National Gallery’s yearly programmes.

A previous professional engagement was as Tutor in Drawing, Painting and Art History at the Burrowes School of Art in Georgetown, from 1986 to 1991, where she also served for two periods as Acting Administrator. She was the Art and Culture critic of the Guyana Review monthly review, from its founding in 1993 by its editor, the historian, Brigadier (rtd) David Granger, until 2001. In 1998 she was elected a member of the International Association of Art Critics. She has additionally served on a number of advisory boards and committees pertaining to the art and culture of Guyana and the Caribbean.

Ben Bowling is a professor of criminology at King’s College London who moonlights as a musician and life-coach. His books include Policing the Caribbean and The Politics of the Police. His band–Doc Bowling and his Blues Professors–have just released their third album Cosmopolitan Soul. Ben is the son of two painters–Claire Spencer and Frank Bowling–and is learning about artists’ legacy management. He recently visited Guyana to trace his father’s route as a huckster between Georgetown, New Amsterdam and Skeldon that earned his passage to England and inspired a series of paintings named for the villages on that route. Ben will speak about his father’s retrospective exhibition showing at Tate Britain until 26 August 2019 and be joined by Frederik Bowling, Frank’s grandson, studio assistant and social media manager.

Spencer A. Richards is a graduate of the Inter-American University where he received a degree in Economics. However, his true interest lay in hobbies that would later become his professional endeavors.  This is demonstrated in his deep appreciation and knowledge of music from all over the globe.  And how he has used light, shadow and motion in his own professional photographic work.  His first serendipitous meeting with Frank Bowling happened in the mid1990’s. Beginning as a shared interest in contemporary art and, more specifically, Frank’s place in that arena, their relationship has developed from professional to profoundly personal.

Since 1996, Spencer has been the studio manager for Frank’s workspace in Brooklyn and later his assistant in the New York and London studios. Where he has witnessed and documented the step-by-step, progression to completion of Frank’s paintings in both locations, sound tracked always by music, jazz, classical or whatever else is being played or broadcast.

He has curated several exhibitions of Frank’s paintings and written catalogue essays for some: 

  • 1997   Center for Arts & Culture, Skylight Gallery, Restoration Plaza, Brooklyn, N.Y. [Porkknocker’sdawn, [catalogue essay.]
  • 2001   UFA Gallery, New York, New York.
  • 2005   “Full of Light.”  G. R. N’Namdi Gallery, New York, Detroit and Chicago. [Catalogue essay.]
  • 2004   “4 Decades with Color.”  The Phillips Museum of Art, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA. [Catalogue essay.]

Additionally in 2018, he was interviewed by John Bunker [for instantloveland] and Page Benkowski [Alexander Grey Associates and published in their catalogue – Frank Bowling: Make It New regarding Frank’s way of proceeding as he makes his paintings.

We look forward to welcoming you all!

All the best,

Juanita Cox & Rod Westmaas

Co-Founders, Guyana SPEAKS

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