Guyanese Celebrating Christmas Down Under — by Francis Quamina Farrier

— by Francis Quamina Farrier 

Tony Philips

It has always been said that wherever you go, you will find a Guyanese. That is a fact in many cities in far-away Australia. There are Guyanese residing in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne among other locations in Australia. I contacted the celebrated artist Tony Phillips who is based in Melbourne and found out how he and other Guyanese are celebrating the Festive Season 2021, even as the COVID-19 pandemic is still swirling around the world, including Australia..

For Tony Phillips himself, 2021 was a great year. He enjoyed much better health than was the case in 2020, and he continues to produce profitably with his work as an artist. During the year, Tony Phillips also published a book. Entitled “The Nation Builders – A Dome Mural in Guyana” the book is enhanced with many photographs which highlight the images of the celebrities which are painted in the dome of the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry on Water Street, Georgetown. Those images were painted by Tony Phillips and his Queens College colleague, Stanley Greaves, since the bank was known as Barclays Bank, during the British colonial era.
I will go out on a limb and ask the question; “How many past and current students of Queens College in Georgetown are aware that those “Michael Angelo” type paintings were done by two former QC students. Sending a few copies of the book to colleagues, the artist attached the following note, “Sharing the book with you, has given me endless pleasure at this time of the year. I feel like Santa a bit.” There has been great feed-back from some of those who have bought copies of Tony Phillips’ book, “The Nation Builders,” to which he adds, “…especially from those with higher education who can recognize the research and general effort that the book would have required in order to do justice to the original painting.”
In more recent times, there has been much lamentation of the lack of  recorded Guyanese history in many areas of high achievement. Looking back to the glorious days of productions at the Theatre Guild Playhouse in Georgetown, Phillips mentions to the famed Guyanese and Caribbean theatre personality, Ken Corsbie, that the recent hit film production of the musical “West Side Story” by the famed movie director Stephen Spielberg, reminded him of the Theatre Guild production of that popular musical of many years ago. How many Guyanese of today are aware of the grand productions which were staged at the Playhouse – and that there were at least six major productions there every year back in the day, and at a time when actors did it “for the love of it” and never expected nor wanted to be paid. Added to that, those productions were of an extremely high professional standard which could have been readily transferred to a stage in the Theatre districts of London in England or New York city great white way.
There was added enjoyment for Tony Phillips during 2021, when his wife Schavana, gained her PhD.  He is also planning to have a Zoom session across the miles with his relatives, friends and colleagues who are domiciled all around the world, early in the new year. And this is how he ended his Christmas Greetings from his home in Melbourne; “Cheero for now, and do have a most enjoyable Christmas 2021. Ah gone.” Tony Phillips, former QC student, Guyanese to de bone, and keeping the Golden Arrowhead flying high, not only at Christmas time, but all the year ’round. And from me to you, “Happy Holidays.”

Tony Phillips and his wife Schavana, just after her PhD Graduation ceremony

Hello Everyone,
Just dropping in to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a Wonderful New Year, and that you all continue to enjoy good health in 2022. I have enjoyed chatting with you all about the progress of the Nation Builders and now look forward to having a zoom chat in the new year when it is suitable for everyone.
Sharing the book with you has given me endless pleasure at this time of the year, I feel like Santa a bit !!!!. Ken guess what, West Side Story by Steven Speilberg is opening soon in cinemas in Melbourne and we shall try to see it to recall that great TG production.
Am having some great feedback here especially from those with further education who can recognise the research and general effort that the book would have required in order to do justice to the original painting. 
Once again thank you all so much for your support it is greatly appreciated. Ian, I have discovered a photograph from the past, taken in G’town at what looks like  Brandon Trophy function. As soon as I can get it into my pictures file I shall send it across.
Once again, cheerio for now and do have a most enjoyable Christmas 2021, ah gone Tony.
PS: The attached picture was taken after Schavana’s PhD. Graduation ceremony.
Tony Phillips BA (Fine Art)
M: 0412629911

International artist Tony Phillips

Feb 15, 2013 — Almost four decades ago, Guyanese artist Tony Phillips created “The Builders”, the largest mural ever done in Guyana.

Tony Phillips—Keeping the Flag Flying Down under › bmp › articles › tony phillips  – Written by Dr. Vibert Cambridge
Phillips is proud to know that his painting is now displayed and is part of what is now one of the most important collections of Guyanese art in the world.
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  • Linda  On 12/24/2021 at 8:03 am

    Another one of our great men of the soil.

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