The Guyana National Museum and the U.S. Embassy in Guyana are proud to co-host an art display promoting nature photography that encourages tourism. The display highlights the winners of the U.S. Embassy's "Guyana is Gorgeous"photography competition. The U.S. Charge d'Affaires Thomas Pierce and the Honorable Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Manniram Prashad gave remarks at the opening ceremony on April 1. (You can watch video of the remarks here.)
The theme of the display, "Art Promotes Nature" embodies the notion that promoting nature photography encourages tourism. "There is a symbolic and symbiotic relationship between art and nature tourism. Artists have always been inspired by nature. And their work has often inspired people to visit the places of natural beauty. This is a fact that holds true in the American experience," Charge d'Affaires Pierce explained to the audience of photographers, business members and media.
In 1871, a government sponsored expedition to Yellowstone compiled a comprehensive report on the region which included large-format photographs by William Henry Jackson, as well as paintings by Thomas Moran. This report helped to convince the U.S. Congress to withdraw this region from the public auction. On March 1, 1872, a law was passed that created the world's first National Park, Yellowstone.
"If you haven't already, I hope you have a chance to see Yellowstone," Mr. Pierce urged.
Art played a key role in creating the U.S. Park System, but this was only the first step. Hundreds of artists have become famous because of their ability to capture the beauty of the wilderness in the parks through their paintings, poetry and photography. The work of these artists has created a public awareness of the nation's beauty and attracts national and international tourists to the parks.
"Last year, more than 3.5 million people visited Yellowstone and more than 285 million people visited national parks throughout the United States. The National Park System supports more than 223,000 jobs and nearly $14 billion in economic activity across the country," explained Mr. Pierce.
"Against this backdrop the U.S. Embassy's 'Guyana is Gorgeous' photography competition was developed to encourage a similar interest in artistic photography to promote awareness of the natural beauty and splendor in Guyana and to support a growing tourism industry," he explained.
During his remarks, the Honorable Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Manniram Prashad listed a range of programs the Government of Guyana has initiated to promote eco-tourism, including some programs like sport fishing, birding and other eco-tourism in cooperation with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
"Yesterday, the government of Norway announced additional funds to support Guyana's Low Carbon Development Strategy," noted the U.S. Embassy Charge d'Affaires. "We all know the value of nature and how important it is to protect it."
Both the officials expressed enthusiasm to hold similar competitions in the future to highlight the natural beauty of Guyana's forests and wilderness.
This year, Marcia Girard took the first and second most popular photos and Compton Victor Sarabo took the third most popular photo, according to voting on Facebook. Janice Sukhraj took the fourth most popular photo and Jermaine Grant took the fifth and sixth most popular photos. Honorable mentions go to Theleisha De Souza, Rashawna Alleyne, Amanda Richards, Vanessa Narine, Shane Brebner, Vidya Bijlall Sanichara, and Orin Chase for excellent photos.