Young people might not remember them - but for the greater part of the 20th Century, traffic Belize City was populated with wheeled transportation - and we don't mean cars and trucks - powered by internal combustion engines. We're talking about carts and carrier bikes - powered by men! That is the subject of an unusual new exhibit at the Be-lisle art gallery at the Bliss center. It opened yesterday - but the man who put it together is no artist, he's an engineer - one that became fascinated with the culture and craft of cart making. We found out more at the opening yesterday:
Courtney Weatherburne reporting
Shaved ice, or fresco as it was known is a cultural artifact unto itself. But this exhibit is not about what might latterly be called snow-cones, it's about the cart that carried the ice blocks - those are also artifacts - and one the curator wasn't sure merited its own show:
Ilona Smiling, Curator "You know the first time we had the meeting Mr. Morrison came and said he wanted to do these Carts & Carriers Exhibition and I looked through everything and was like what is this? Why are you doing this? I couldn't really understand, but the more and more I got into the project, I began to understand why these people did the things that they did. Why they decided to make these carts. They put them together, they put the one-wheeled wheel barrow and they said 'hey you need help moving this?' and that's what they did."
Ian Morrison, Designer - "CARTS & CARRIER CYCLES" "Carts were primarily for moving goods at an affordable cost when re-stocking grocery shelves, delivering goods to private homes, or when replenishing water supply. When you browse the exhibit, you will see that I featured primarily five carts: the one-wheel, as I call it; the two-wheel; the three-wheel and the four-wheel cart and also the out layer, the carrier bike or carrier cycles."
Of these, perhaps the most storied is the four-wheel push cart:
Ian Morrison, Designer - "CARTS & CARRIER CYCLES" "If anyone of you know about the 4-wheel cart, I know the first person who comes to mind, Mr. Parks, the home on Orange Street is known from Mr. Alfred Parks. He lived in this same George Street Area for many years and boy you don't want to be behind him when that Cart breaks down which was numerous times. You'll see some of the tools in here that he would use to fix the cart."
And while these carts will never be the traffic blockers they once were, Morrison hopes they will be remembered not as relics but an expression of folksy functionalism:
Ian Morrison, Designer - "CARTS & CARRIER CYCLES" "I am hoping, really hoping that this exhibit will at a minimum, be a bit nostalgic for you, reminding you of a time in life that seems far less complicated and for you young ones with the gadgets, far less complicated. I'd hope that you would here after look differently at these carts and see them from a socio-cultural, economic and even an engineering perspective as man powered machines that affordable solve transport needs in our society."
The show runs at the Bliss Center until the end of this month - and the public is welcomed to see it. But don't go there looking for free Fresco! That as only served at the opening.
Scenes from the grand opening of the exhibit by Ian Morrison entitled, "CARTS & CARRIERS CYCLES EXHIBITION- Belize in the 20th Century"! Remember the exhibit runs until the end of the month at the Besile Arts Gallery at the Bliss! You are invited to drop in and come see for yourself....