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Nov 14, 2012

An art exhibition to celebrate the Garifuna culture

Celebrations to mark the arrival of the Garinagu to our shores take place this weekend and into Monday, the nineteenth. It means that slew of cultural activities will accompany the re-enactment of their arrival to our shores in 1832. Aside from the drums, the huddut and the punta rock, art is another area in which Garinagu portrays the richness of their culture. The works of four well known artists went on display today at the Image factory. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.


Delahnie Bain, Reporting

The spirit of Garifuna Settlement Day was alive at the Image Factory this morning where an art exhibit was launched by the United Women’s Group of the People’s United Party. UWG President, Wendy Castillo says that with the current state of society, they saw a need to highlight something positive.


Wendy Castillo

Wendy Castillo, President, United Women’s Group

“The United Women’s Group, which is the women’s arm of the People’s United Party decided to join in the celebration of Garifuna Settlement Day 2012, by portraying inspirational art pieces by prominent Garifuna artists such as Pen Cayetano, Isaiah Nicholas, the late Benjamin Nicholas and the young Shelton Arana. So for a week we’ll be running this exhibit.”


Gilvano Swasey, Curator

“The exhibit that we’re hosting at the gallery right now, it’s a collection from four Garifuna artists but we’re highlighting mainly Shelton Arana, who is a young Garifuna artists and has been painting for the last ten years. His works has a lot about community; living in a small community and family and so forth. So his works have a lot of hope when it comes to Garifuna art. His style, you would call it folk or more like illustrative. The people, you don’t really know their identity, know who is who but it’s more about the feeling, it’s more about community and this is a time—I mean we’re getting close to Christmas too and so forth—but this is a time in our country where we need to go back to that sense of community and coming together and also giving each other some sense of hope.”


Gilvano Swasey

While the young, Shelton Arana, is the featured artist, Curator, Gilvano Swasey, also included works from those who have made Garifuna art prominent throughout the country.


Gilvano Swasey

“We have classics from Benjamin Nicholas. There’s a piece from 1981 and that shows a time when Belize was moving into a new sense of identity. It’s a man and a woman on a boat and they’re sharing coconut water, which is something tropical. I picked that piece because of the time, but most importantly, it gives you some sense of where are we going. We started with a blank slate on the shores of Belize and how we’re going to move now as a country.  Also Isaiah Nicholas, the son of Benjamin Nicholas, who again started copying his dad’s style but has developed his own style and his own messages but still keeping the Garifuna culture alive.”


The exhibit, according to Castillo is intended for the viewing pleasure of the public as well as to promote the vibrant culture.


Wendy Castillo

“Definitely, not only with the Garifuna culture, but with other cultures, it is our hope that we can highlight the different aspects of these cultures as the days come around and as we celebrate. So we want to encourage all Belizeans, not just for Garifuna Settlement Day, but for every culture that we share and acknowledge and continue to promote, educate and put forward the awareness of what culture has done to Belize and its development.  I would like to say on behalf of the People’s United Party and the United Women’s Group that we wish all Garifuna a happy Settlement Day and that we be safe and peaceful as we enjoy ourselves and for everyone to join in, learn the Punta dance, go to the rhythm of the music; however you feel but share in the culture.”


Gilvano Swasey

“I want to wish everyone—not just the Garifuna, but the whole of Belize—Happy Garifuna Settlement Day and I wish people would come out and see the exhibit; it’s open to schools and everyone and also to support anything that’s cultural, anything that gives us some sense of identity and spirituality too.”


The exhibit is a first of its kind exhibit for the UWG, but the group intends to do more cultural awareness activities. Delahnie Bain for News Five.


Only one painting by Pen Cayetano is included in the display, but that’s because he has a major exhibition coming up on Thursday and he will also be unveiling a mural in Dangriga over the holiday weekend. The exhibit is co-sponsored by the Caye Caulker Water Taxi Association, Champion Security.

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1 Response for “An art exhibition to celebrate the Garifuna culture”

  1. Seletar says:

    Finally an uplifting positive story in the news of the day.

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