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Belmopan, 13 October 2010.- The collective art exhibition by Belizean artists "Beyond the Border: New Visions from Belize" will open tomorrow Thursday, October 14th at the Institute of Mexico in Belize City.

The exhibition is a collection of paints, sculptures, photographs and other forms of plastic arts by more than 25 Belizean artists. "Beyond the Border" is a collection of visions from a cross-cultural section of young, gifted and established Belizean artists, who have had to continuously carve their cultural identity, after 29 years of independence.
The exhibition also includes the photography collection "Living on the Borderline" by the Caracol Photografy Club in Arenal. This exhibition shares the experience of twenty-two children and young people, past and present members of the Club in Arenal, at the Belize-Guatemala border. The material on display is the result of two years of work. Each Caracol student tells a story through a picture about their experience in their community.

"Beyond the Border", including "Living on the Borderline" were previously presented in August 2010 at the Museum of Mayan Culture in Chetumal, Mexico, one of the most important museums in the Yucatan Peninsula. The collection especially prepared for Chetumal, arises from the idea to share with the Mexican public the Belizean culture and identity, as well as the most recent artistic production of Belizean artists. Hundreds of Mexicans visited the exhibition in Chetumal, which was part of the cultural exchange and dialogue between Mexico and Belize.

The same exhibition will now be presented in Belize, tomorrow Thursday, October 14th, at 6:30 pm at the Institute of Mexico in Belize, corner of Newtown Barracks and Wilson Street, in Belize City. Entrance to the opening ceremony is free and open to the general public. The exhibition will remain open until November 5th 2010.

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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

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.

Gilvano Swasey

"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.

Gilvano Swasey

"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.

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Selling the Belize brand as a unique tourist destination has always been a challenge for those in the Tourism industry, but the folks at the Image Factory believe that their most recent collection of visions from a cross-section of young gifted and established Belizean artists can provide "an appetizer of Belizean culture and identity".

An art exhibition which opens at the Mexican Institute of Culture and aptly dubbed "Beyond the Border" is designed to give the rest of the World a snapshot of who we are, says Gilvano Swasey, of the Image Factory.

Gilvano Swasey, Curator and Artist
"The idea was Belizean artist was doing more than that, than painting. we have been sculpting, maybe realistic objects, dream objects and so forth and I highlight stuff like painting on feng wood, illustration art by Mali Cayetano, I did a bamboo furniture by Janice Young, I did works by Michael Gordon, there is metal sculpture by George Gabb, there is a conch shell sculpture by Franco Cano, Calabash art by Leslie Gillespie, there is functional natural art by Anthony Vacario and then I wanted to mix it up with new art so there is black and white photography from kids from Arenal and the beauty of that is it was not just only pictures; the kids had to write stories about their works, so they had to defend it in a sense which is very crucial; many artist make things but the second you put a mike at them they don't know how to explain it, so it was very crucial. And then new art which was digital photography from students of Yasser Musa at St. John's College. So it was a whole mixture of old and new and new dreams and new visions and that's why the name 'beyond the border' usually when we hit the border is to buy cheap Mexican beer but also it was beyond the border of the artwork, usually when we think of it its painting and to show people that there is more to Belize, there is more to art, there is more to culture than just what we think it is."

The exhibit was recently on display at the Mayan Cultural Museum in Chetumal where according to Mexican Embassy spokesperson, Marcelino Miranda, it received rave reviews.

Marcelino Miranda, Mexican Embassy spokesperson
"This exhibition was very successful in Chetumal. It was presented at the best museum in Quintana Roo 'Mayan Culture Museum' and it was visited by more than 2,000 people. So this was very important because for years Belizean artists hadn't presented any work in Chetumal and it was an important moment for the Mexican public to admire and to visit this exhibition. The interesting thing of this exhibition is that you have different Belizean artist, so it's different styles, different ways in which they regard their own country and also the way that they express the arts. It was very educating for Mexican public to look at different visions about Belize."

The exhibition will officially open tomorrow at 7 P.M. and is free to the general public.

Channel 7

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