Prominent American artist pledges to promote tourism, cultural exchange in Gambia
Renowned American artist who suggested the renaming of the famous
James Island to now Kunta Kinteh Island appears to be living no stone
unturned when it comes to fulfilling his role as the country’s
Goodwill Ambassador in the United States, pledging to ”promote tourism and cultural exchange in the country.”
Chaz Guest, a talented artist with many years of excellent
professional career, who visited The Gambia three years ago, has just
been named by the African Diaspora Tourism as the United States
national spokesperson for the upcoming 2014 International Roots
Festival taking place in The Gambia, West Africa from May 9-17.
The Organisation said Guest was chosen ”because of his notability, his
creative genius as an artist and because of his love for The Gambia
and its cultural heritage.”
But in an exclusive interview with TheGambia.nu Magazine, Guest, who
took part in the last International Roots Home Coming Festival, affirmed his commitment to sell The Gambia overseas and promote its rich cultural heritage.
”I am truly touched and deeply moved by this position. I take it very
seriously,” Guest reacted to this new appointment.
”I promote for people to come to the Smiling Coast, to enrich one’s
self in the culture. My role is to encourage tourism and cultural
exchange. I intend to do this in a very open way,” he reiterated.
A dedicated artist, Guest also shared his experience on African culture
when he first visited The Gambia and had the opportunity to attend a
rich cultural extravaganza as part of the 2011 International Roots Festival.
”I found it missing from my very existence. There is sadness to that,
but also in finding one’s self, it is a celebration as well. I found
African culture there in The Gambia, necessary to bring to the rest of
the world; such a little country with the biggest heart,” he noted.
The highly celebrated artist said even before his first Africa visit,
he always had that strong conviction that Africa was ”magic and
” I was invited to what would be the changing aspect of my life. So my perception was that I was coming home,” he said.
With his experience and influence, Guest believes he can somehow
encourage others like him, who are completely disconnected with their
roots, to discover theirs as well. His argument is that when he
visited The Gambia, he found his own self completed.
”I want this for others because I see that they are lost. Looking for
the answer, you will find it here. We have been taught only negative
things of Africa, but now I see why they needed to keep such awesome
people apart!!! We are awesome! So this gap must be bridged,” he