“Art is my gift” – Indigenous artist Owen Scipio

Owen Scipio

By Rupa Seenaraine

Hailing from the small village of Rupertee in the North Rupununi, Region Nine, Owen Scipio came to Georgetown with big dreams four years ago of cementing himself as an artist, a painter and jewellery craftsman.

Pursuing a diploma in painting and minoring in jewellery art at the ER Burrowes School of Art, the young artist has set his eyes on opening a studio where people can get a glimpse of this eye-catching pieces – most of which strive to capture the Indigenous culture, tradition and way of life.

In an interview with Guyana Times, the 21-year-old reflected on his humble beginning back in his village, where he first realised his gift. It was his father, a sculptor, who was the primary influence that sparked his passion to pursue a career in this discipline.

“I was born and raised by both parents and being taught how to be content in every little thing we can get a hold of to survive in this world the brought us into. Being the second child of one brother and four sisters had sought me to realise that art is my gift,” said Scipio.

The young man explained that throughout his early years, he was always drawn to art, exploring new techniques and trying to perfect his work. Even with limited resources, he persisted. And through time, his dedication paid off when he was offered a scholarship to study at the ER Burrowes School of Art, taking him one step closer to his dreams.

“I have completed nursery, primary, secondary level with not flying colours but it was great experience having the opportunity to pass through that stage of life. I started sketching from my early childhood, and nature was my major inspiration.”

Even though this was the break he always wanted, the budding artist said he moved to the capital city where he took some time to adjust, but this did not stop him from sharing his masterpieces and expressing himself in the most authentic way.

“Major challenges I encountered was the lack of art supplies to continue exploring art styles and getting used to Georgetown lifestyle, because it is different from where I come from. My art styles help me to share my life’s story and make sense of the world around me. I express my thoughts in painting, drawing and jewellery to be realism, expressionism and surrealism artist,” Owen told this publication.

As he continues to study and share his art forms, the artisan has developed a theme: “Faith Through Art”. His works feature vibrant colours, realistic details and form an indelible imprint on the audience.

With the COVID-19 pandemic proving to be a setback, Scipio has two major hopes for his future. He wants to start an art studio and workshop, making jewellery, leather crafts and paintings. He also plans on teaching at the Annai Secondary School and then furthering his studies at the University of Guyana.

“Over the past four years at the ER Burrowes School of Art, I have grown as an art student because of my exposure to a wide variety of theoretical and practical content of fine art. I am looking forward to continue growth, exploration and developing my artistic skills and interest,” he shared.

Speaking on his advice for youths seeking a career in the arts, the artist revealed, “My advice to the youths after me who have dreams, love, vision and faith in art, is to don’t lose hope if you don’t start off with a satisfaction you expected, just know that with the right mindset to learn and with a good teacher to help you can always find your potential, you can never see alone. Last but not least, always be grateful to the almighty for giving us life to continue our purpose in this life.”