Public invited to view traditional and new art
A new exhibition of paints, sculptures and photographs opens this Thursday at the Mexican Cultural Institute. It is showcasing the work of new and upcoming artists in black and white photography as well as the more traditional works of an older generation of artists. Entitled Beyond the Border, New Visions from Belize, the exhibit’s first stop was across the northern border at the Museum of Mayan Culture. Earlier today, News Five’s Jose Sanchez found that the traditional still meshes with new concepts.
Jose Sanchez, Reporting
Beyond The Border New Visions From Belize was launched in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The travelling exhibit has just landed at the Mexican Cultural Institute on Princess Margaret Drive.
Gilvano Swasey, Curator, Beyond the Border
“Beyond the Border, New Visions from Belize. The concept was to get Belizean art and take I tout of its regular space—meaning the country itself and take it to a new area which was Chetumal and we were at the Museo de Cultura Maya. I was approached by the Mexican Cultural Institute to do a collection of popular art, upcoming artists and try to showcase the different mediums. Traditionally when we think of art, we think of paintings. And the idea was to show what Belizeans have been working with, what they have been carving into. And so the idea was to show the different media and the different visions they were having in this media. For example; you have artists like Jill Burgess who works on Found Wood. You have artists like Ingrid Cayetano who does needle work or sewing. You have Franco Cano who works on Conch Shell. You have artist like George Gabb who worked in found metal. You have artist like Santiago Cal who works in Wood. So this exhibition is showcasing the different talent.”
While the first section focuses on tradition, the second section looks at amateur photographs executed by students.
“We have a group from Caracol which are all young students from the age of eight up to sixteen and they are doing black and white photography. And their medium is very important because it is very tradition and most importantly, they just don’t take pictures, they have to write about it—they have to tell their stories. And that has a certain kind of ying and yang effect with Yasser Musa’s students from Belize City from a series called Pronto; which are all Belize city students, professionals working but also doing digital photography s a new medium. So you look at the dreams of Arenal, these students from Caracol and then you look at the dreams of the urban landscape of Belize City and you can see the similarities, differences and new hopes.”
Tradition and new media are still bound by the works of the great local artists that have passed away.
“Many of the new art today fights with technology like I mentioned the digital photography and so forth, graphic design. So I wanted to show what we came from, what is still possible and I am more, as an older artist, I am more excited about the older works because it kind of brings you back to the rawness of creation. I am very much more involved in the process than the product of the art. And by looking at these older artists like Gabb, Franco Cano and Glasspi and so forth, you get to feel every stroke in their chisel, in their brush, whatever and you get an understand of how this thing was created—the sleepless nights they had, the visions they had, the dreams that turned into nightmares. So I think that is very crucial because today things are very easy you jump on the computer and I can turn a picture into water color without even painting it and we have someone lost, the younger artists have lost that procedure, that understanding. So I think it is very crucial to just look at the past but to understand what you had to go through to create.”
And to create, artists must be inspired. The Embassy and the curator invite the public to gain inspiration by going Beyond the Border with them at the free opening on Thursday night. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.