Exhibiting Heroes, Patriots and Benefactors
Ninth of March is the official Heroes and Benefactors Day, set aside to honor those who have contributed to the development of Belize. While most of you may know about the works and life of Philip Goldson, George Price, Baron Bliss – there are others who have significantly contributed within their own fields. And so the Institute of Social and Cultural Research has once again put on its exhibition of the local icons. News Five’s Andrea Polanco files this report from the House of Culture in Belize City.
Andrea Polanco, Reporting
Heroes, Patriots, Benefactors past and present are being featured in an exhibition at the House of Culture. In an effort to honor the lives and contributions of Belize’s official and unsung heroes, the Institute of Social and Culture Research has compiled photos and texts to share with the public – these individuals were instrumental in the areas of health, education, social activism, but there is a special focus on the arts.
Selene Solis, Sr. Research and Education Officer, ISCR
“This year we took a turn, again, thematically towards the arts. We looked at the pioneers of the arts and cultural heritage in Belize. So, we looked at Bob Reneau who was a pioneer of dance; we looked at Zee Edgell who is one of Belize’s premier literary writers; we looked at visual artist Benjamin Nicholas and George Gabb; We also looked the Lord himself of music, Calypso music and his contributions to and promoter of Belizean music, Lord Rhaburn.”
The exhibit is separated in to two gallery spaces; the first part of the exhibition features nation builders – heroes, benefactors and patriots; the other includes those who have made contributions to the arts.
“You will walk around and see biographical panels that contain images and information on the lives of each of those individuals. As you transition into the second gallery space, we are calling that the culture and heritage gallery. You will see people who have contributed specifically to culture heritage – promoting culture and the arts in Belize. So, you will also see TV Ramos, for instance, who advocated for the establishment of Garifuna Settlement Day; In addition, panels dedicated to our national heroes, George Price, Philip Goldson, and Baron Bliss, our great benefactor.”
These color and black and white pieces feature images and tell stories that show the life and work of the nation builders. The ISCR conducted interviews, gathered photos, pulled archive materials, and have gone so far as to obtain some documents and data that are being shared for the first time publicly.
“We conducted oral history interviews with people who knew the individuals for those who have passed on, and for those who are still with us we conducted oral history interviews with the individuals themselves. We conducted archival research, library research. There is a host of information and research of many significant Belizeans at the Belize Archives and Records Services in the collection of newspapers; information that has already been well documented; so we tapped into that. We called everybody that we could possibly think who would have pictures, who performed with, tutored under these individuals for access to private collections.”
“So, you would say that some of the things that people will see here, perhaps have never been shown publicly?”
“Quite a bit. You would have to go to the Belize Archives and Records Service and do the research yourself; or contact us now that we are in possession of a good deal of the information; especially the more recent panels. Some might not have been seen, particularly of the private collections – many of them might not have been seen by members of the public.”
The free exhibition hopes to target students, but it is also open to the wider public. ISCR says it is about imparting the work of locals who have made a difference in Belize– this, they hope will inspire young minds.
“We want them to take away that everybody has a part to play in nation building; whether you are contributing to the arts, literary arts, to writing, health system, education, everybody has a part to play and everybody plays a significant role and that we too can aspire to be significant Belizeans in our sector. It is also really important that we continue to highlight the work that people who have passed on have done. So, we want them to take away the legacy and our own heritage; some idea of our own heritage.”
Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.
The free exhibition will run until the thirty-first of March.