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May 8, 2012

Coca COLA’s carbonated nouveau art

Since 1962, when the first batch of cokes hit stores, the drink has been a favorite among most Belizeans. Fifty years later, coca-cola is still the beverage of choice and can be found at just about every social event. Today Bowen and Bowen inaugurated its celebration of the golden anniversary of coca-cola in Belize with an art competition and exhibit that will be taken across the country. It features paintings by both students and professional artists who were challenged to illustrate Coca-Cola’s appearance in important moments of Belizean lives. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports on the competition winners and the launch of the exhibit at the Belize City House of Culture.

 

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Coca-Cola is celebrating fifty years in Belize and its signature event is an art competition and a traveling exhibit called “Open Happiness”. Organizer and Curator, Gilvano Swasey, took a hands-on approach and a cup full of carbonate while recruiting talented artists who put their coca-cola moments on canvass.

 

Gilvano Swasey

Gilvano Swasey, Organizer/Curator, Open Happiness Exhibit

“The exhibition and the organization of it was very interesting for me because I told Shelly [Shelly Stonesifer, Marketing Coordinator] that I don’t want to just send out invitations or just send an email, I wanted to go physically to the schools and I wanted to go physically to the artists—the George Price effect, as I like to call it. We did thirty schools and out of that we got twenty-five who all participated and that was crucial because I would say maybe eighty percent of those schools don’t have an art program. But there was a lot of artists, a lot of creative people in the schools and I really thank them for participating. On the other hand, the professional artists, we invited thirty and we got twenty-five too and I was more pleased in the sense that they were real professional artists.”

 

The winners of the competition were announced at the House of Culture this morning. Cash prizes were presented for the top three paintings from high schools with third place going to Mount Carmel in Benque Viejo and second to Muffles College in Orange Walk.

 

David Craig

“And the winner out of the student artist category is…”

 

Gilvano Swasey

“Maude Williams High School from Belize City [applause].”

 

Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez, 4th Form Student, Maude Williams High School

“I don’t know it’s just great you know. We put a lot of work into this art and to finally get what we put in, it’s just great.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“And it was a team of you that worked on the painting?”

 

Michael Martinez

“Yeah, it was a team. You have me, my friends; Kiara Vargas, Raul Riverol, Gaynell Vernon and we have Marlon Ack. If you see the painting, it has a Mestizo guy eating with a Garifuna lady and they’re having dinner and they seem to know each other from a long time and the Mestizo guy proposed to the Garifuna lady. So it’s like two different cultures bonding over dinner and coke.”

 

The students’ team work paid-off to the tune of three thousand dollars. Meanwhile, in the professional category, Carolyn Carr took third place, second went to Papo Alamilla and the winning professional painting was submitted by…

 

Gilvano Swasey

“The man who usually comes in by reggae bus, did he bring the reggae bus? Terryl Godoy, the first place winner… [applause]”

 

Terryl ‘Man at Work’ Godoy

Terryl ‘Man at Work’ Godoy, Winner, Professional Category

“It really caught me as a surprise. I had not a clue that I would have been the winner for this competition. I’m very, very grateful for this. Sometimes I think that the music would take away from painting but today it shows that painting stands for itself and the music. I come here fi play music fi dis function, I neva come here fi collect wah cheque or anything, I never thought about that.  We have a little lady on the top and she’s hanging out clothes but she has a coke in her hand and she has her mangos downstairs to sell. Then you have this guy that comes with a wooden cart. 00:03:45 they also made their own cart with the type of wheel with the board that they cut and put the tire on and everything right. If you notice he have wah drum wid wata and ih full up di drum cause ih di mek ih supply vi ker back dah fi he village or wherever he going wid dat. But ih also di get wah four, five case ah coke from out di shop.”

 

For his detailed piece, Godoy, the Man at Work, was surprised with a cheque for five thousand dollars. After the award ceremony, the Open Happiness exhibit was officially opened to the public with the symbolic ribbon cutting.

 

David Craig, Sales/Marketing Mgr., Non-Alcoholic Division, Bowen & Bowen

David Craig

“This exhibition is more than just the product, these amazing pieces o art by Belize’s accomplished and budding artists, tell a story of how this product itself having a rich one hundred and twenty-six year history has become intertwined in the very fabric of our Belizean life and is a part of our rich and compelling culture. We want all Belizeans to enjoy this exhibit and that is why we’re taking it all around the country.”

 

The panel of judges included three artists as well a corporate representative from Bowen and Bowen. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

 

The art showcase will be taken to different venues countrywide over the next five months and will conclude in October.

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