Guyana Speaks: Independence and Activism

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“Guyana Speaks: Independence and Activism” is a public talk with Hew Locke, Storm Westmaas, and Hannah Kendall, hosted by Juanita Cox Westmaas on Sunday, May 27, from 2:00 to 5:00pm, at The Classic (28 Upper Tooting Road, London). 

Description: As we approach the 52nd Anniversary of the Independence of Guyana, Guyana SPEAKS reflects on the themes of Independence and Activism. They have invited three distinguished guests to speak to the moment: artist Hew Locke, lawyer Storm Westmaas and composer Hannah Kendall.  Scroll down for biographies and a description of the themes they will be addressing. Tickets cost £5, and can be purchased in advance via Eventbrite, or pay on the door.

Hew Locke, the London-based artist, was born in Edinburgh but grew up in Georgetown, Guyana, the eldest child of Guyanese artists, Leila and Donald Locke. He returned to the UK aged 20 to study, eventually gaining an M.A. in sculpture from the Royal College of Art. His work is shown internationally including China, India, Germany, the USA, Australia and Hong Kong. His works are in the collections of The Tate Gallery and The British Museum (UK), and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA), amongst others. This coming year, he will have solo shows at the PPOW gallery, New York and the IKON, Birmingham. Locke will focus on the influence of Guyana’s independence in 1966 on his work.

Hannah Kendall, born in London in 1984, is of Guyanese heritage. She graduated from the University of Exeter with First Class honours in Music and also completed a Masters in Advanced Composition with Distinction from the Royal College of Music. She has attracted the attention of some of the UK’s finest groups including the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In October 2016 she premiered a one-man chamber opera, ‘The Knife of Dawn’ at London’s Roundhouse. Based on the Guyanese political activist and poet Martin Carter, the opera was set to a new libretto by award-winning author, Tessa McWatt. Described as being ‘dramatically intense and atmospheric’, it offered a powerful snapshot of the poet’s incarceration in British Guiana. Kendall’s talk will focus on the production of this ground-breaking work.

D. K. Storm Westmaas is an alumnus of Guyana’s Queen’s College, latterly Langley Park School for Boys, and the University of Warwick, where he read Philosophy and Politics. He went on to study Law at City, University of London, and thereafter became a Barrister-at-Law. He was called to the Bars of England, Guyana, Anguilla, and St. Kitts and Nevis. Westmaas specialises in a civil litigation of complex commercial matters with public law experience in the regulation of politicians and governmental institutions as well as complex fraud and bribery criminal proceedings in the UK and the Caribbean where he was attorney for oil, hotel and insurance companies. His talk will focus on the pre-independence activism of his father, Rory Westmaas.

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