Indian Arrival Expo celebrates Indian culture and heritage

The rich cultural heritage of East Indians was celebrated on Sunday, May 29 when the Hindus for Selfless Service (HSS) held the annual Indian Arrival Expo at the Leonora Synthetic Track’s parking lot, West Coast Demerara (WCD) to bring Arrival Month celebrations to an end.

Gupti Jyotish gives a demonstration on the art of pottery
Gupti Jyotish gives a demonstration on the art of pottery

The exhibition and cultural show was attended by a large number of persons who flocked the venue to take an opportunity to participate in the games, enjoy the food and view the cultural presentations that were made. At the event, a number of cultural items were on display including clothes, musical instruments and creative arts, such as pottery and henna. There was also a yoga and medical booth on site which saw visitors being given advice on how to maintain both their physical and mental health. The cultural show featured a number of dances and songs which were handed down from East Indian ancestors.
Gupti Jyotish, a potter who hails from Wakenaam in the Essequibo River, was one of the many exhibitors at the Expo. He was on site giving pottery demonstrations, the art of which he revealed was passed down from his great great-grandfather who came too Guyana from India.
“I have been doing this for 32 years now. This trade come from India…my great great-grandfather who came from India, and he trained my great-grandfather who trained my grandfather. And the trade was passed on to me. It is a tradition which I passed down to my daughter,” he stated.

Henna artists were also present to display the East Indian body art
Henna artists were also present to display the East Indian body art

Jyotish related that he was skilled in making all forms of clay pots, but specialised in diyas which he would make to order.
Another artist, Mr Bheepat, of Uitvlug Pasture, West Coast Demerara, explained that he has been making murtis since he was a child. “Me born and grow up in this. Meh father used to make this since he was six years old and that’s about 40 years now,” he shared.
He said his father was taught the art form by his grandfather, an indentured immigrant from India who came to Guyana seeking work. His father maintained the tradition and turned it into a small business. “Everything we make is hand carved,” he boasted.
Savitree Singh, a henna artist, explained that her trade was self-taught as she was very fond of drawing and was fascinated by the East Indian body art. “I liked drawing, so eventually to do henna, I saw patterns and practised it. I’ve been doing this for over six years. I do henna for special occasions, especially weddings,” she related.
Shanta Ranglall, a member of the event’s Steering Committee, previously explained that while the event was traditionally held to coincide with Arrival Day observed on May 5, the Committee chose to host the Expo on May 29 to end the month of celebration. “The month of May is known as the Indian Arrival Heritage Month, so we chose May 29, to just close the curtain down and end it with the Indian Arrival Expo,” she stated.
Public Relations Officer of the Committee, Shri Ram Talmakund related that preparations for the event were not “quite easy”; however, he was pleased with the results.