Renuka Persaud won the Amateur Astronomers Association of Guyana Art Competition of 2018. The grand prize handed over to Ms. Persaud was a 70mm refractor telescope. Her artwork was judged the best among submissions received by the organizers of the competition.
Renuka, who is 18 years old, is a young creative artist who loves drawing and painting in her spare time. Hearing her story was inspirational to us. So we asked Renuka to tell us a bit about herself, and why she preoccupies her time learning about astronomy and painting her imagination. This is what Renuka had to say:-
I’ve been drawing and painting since I was little, like any other child would. However, unlike every child, I continued to practice art as a hobby because of the encouragement I received from my parents, who always told me I have an innate talent for art. Their incredible support always drove me to keep creating and has allowed me to develop creative skills on my own. Although I never took any art classes or courses, I’m now proficient in traditional and digital art, as well as animation and graphic design.
I’ve just completed CAPE at Queen’s College, attaining 6 one’s and 2 two’s in the ICT stream. My next step is to work towards my Computer Science degree, starting in the fall of 2019, after taking a gap year for community service.
Despite not pursuing art or astronomy academically, the two are still great hobbies of mine and, nevertheless, contribute to my current career path of becoming a software engineer. Problem solving and coding involves a lot of intuition, observation and creative thinking.
Growing up in the far countryside of Enmore, there was always an unobscured view of the magnificent night sky. I’d gaze for hours at it, because there was so much to see that you could never get bored. The stars have forever fascinated me. When I was young, I read about the stars, planets and evolution in an encyclopedia I had, called “Earth and Space”, and since then my interest in astronomy has continued to grow. In fact, hard science fiction books are one of my favorite genres to read because of my love for astronomy and science.
It is because of stories like Renuka’s that we at the Association do what we do, because we believe young people in Guyana, no matter their background, has a unique story that is worth telling. Moreover, we believe that young people in Guyana have tremendous potential in what they are capable of – we just have to listen and support them in whatever way we can. At the Association, we promote more than just astronomy; we promote curiosity, a desire to learn, critical thinking and, perhaps more importantly, a culture that encourages the greater good among ourselves, and to be better as Guyanese under one magnificent star-lit sky.
Thank you, Renuka, for sharing your wonderful story. You are truly an exemplar of what self-motivation means. Clear skies!