This week’s photo is not a great one or even a good one in my opinion, but as I began writing this post, some news was delivered to me and the photo somehow seemed… appropriate.
Recently my friend (if she permits me to call her that) Reshi, wrote a post titled “Colour me Pretty”, and it had me thinking about many things, one was the effect of darker colours on a photo, the effect of shadows and light in photographs as Nikhil so masterly does them, and about the duality of emotions, and the different faces that we show people.
This post is dedicated to Godfrey Chin, many or most Guyanese will know him as the prolific writer of his “Nostalgias”, he numbered them. I came to know Godfrey only in recent years, and he has made an impact on me. He did so much in his life that I think someone will have to write a Nostalgia about him. I don’t know enough to do that to any degree of adequacy.
I know of his costumes and “floats” for the Mashramani Celebrations during his more youthful days, and I saw a bit of his style when he did some decorating for a party, and as I explained to someone, it was all about the look, it was a façade just to give the impression of the intent and not to be something that lasts forever, just for that party for those moments, yet his “Nostalgias” were vastly different, trying to scour the depths of his memories of his times in Guyana and write them down for others to share and reminisce, trying to capture those, maybe not for eternity, but at least that they live on for some time more.
Godfrey Chin was found this morning at his home in Guyana, he died sometime this weekend. Stabroek News called him a “Social History Icon” and a “Culture Enthusiast”, both descriptions are possibly very accurate, but I can attest to the second one better.
Why did I think that this photo was somehow appropriate for him? like the pointer-broom in the photo, Godfrey would sweep up and tidy up his memories and give us the sparkling finished product as a “Nostalgia”, like the light and shadows, he would help to reveal aspects of the past hidden to one or the other; if it is too bright you can’t see clearly, nor if it is too dark can you see at all.
Godfrey had asked me to give him some photos for an exhibition he was to do this Mashramani, they are on my desk, but now he will never see them, he was a fan of my work, maybe because we both thought of ourselves as family, I am thankful for his encouragement.
Godfrey came into our office during the Christmas Season and made his rounds, had a few “gaffs” and before he left, dived into his bag, took out some gold tinsel and proceeded to further decorate our Christmas Tree.
For Godfrey Chin, may his soul rest in peace, and if Heaven has a Parade we know what he’ll be doing. In Godfrey’s words “Ya think it easy?”