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  • Akima McPherson

Turtles, paint, and fissures

Turtles, paint, and fissures

Stabroek News

June 4, 2023

Akima McPherson

Considering Guyana’s small population and its cultural and linguistic isolation on the South American coast, curiosity is always the order of the day for me when I learn of Guyanese in strange and far-flung places. Mazunte, Oaxaca Mexico seemed to be the oddest place to find an Agricola-raised Guyanese painter. But considering the painter in question, I suppose it was not altogether surprising. Arlington Weithers’s journey in art has cruised along a highway not frequented by Guyanese, and the pivotal turns seem to have come by way of errands and favours. An errand as a boy led to him meeting Vivian Antrobus (ca 1907 – ?) who ultimately suggested that he further his studies at the Arts Student League of New York. That he did. That story was documented in last week’s article. Decades later (and certainly not the second or last) a favour for his friend, Panama-born Victor N Smythe, former archivist and curator at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center, led to a road trip from New York City to Mazunte, Mexico which he likened to “a kind of spiritual journey.”

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