Street Arts Festival delights
Belizean artists from all over the country thronged Belize City’s downtown, when the City Council cordoned off Albert Street, where the National Institute of Culture and History hosted the annual Street Arts Festival on Saturday, February 25.
It was difficult to know where to look as artists of every genre showcased their talents in painting, sculpture, music, dance, poetry and song on several stages. The sidewalk chalk painters gathered in Battlefield Park behind the Belize Bank to demonstrate their talent and creativity in a competition hosted by the Institute of Creative Arts, with GilvanoSwasey of Image Factory, Yansi Young and Patrick Peyrefitte as the judges. The outright Chalk-Off Winner was Marvin Vernon, who painted an ephemeral dream blond reminiscent of the Flower–power hippies of the 60’s and early 70’s.
Keoin Griffith chose to immortalize Brukdong musical icon Leela Vernon, who recently passed, and he painted a very good likeness for which he received a special award. Dimitri Gillett and Chelsea Johnston tied for first prize in the senior competition for artists over 18; Dimitri painted a surrealistic lion which also resembled a flower. Chelsea painted a floppy-eared dog or beagle with soulful eyes. Daeli Pop won second prize and the artist Ronald took third prize.
Adrian Meighan won the junior category for artist 14-to 17 years of age, with Jacqueline Ewens taking second prize; while Carlos Peneda and Joseph Kerr tied for third prize. Alexis Chavarria won the children’s category for ages 7 tro 13 years of age. This category also allowed the artist to paint as a group and second prize was also a tie between two groups: Group 1- Sunny, Sue and Colin. Group 2 – Natalyah, Hailie, and Jeremiah.
Mexican muralist Enrique Minjares Padilla was also in town and had recruited art students of St. John’s College to paint a large scale mural of a seagull on one wall of the Institute of Mexico in Belize City, in the same way teaching his young apprentices the techniques of his craft. At the festival he invited artists young and old to join him in painting a mural on the wall of the building that once housed the Bata Shoe Store.
The festival was also a showcase of the culinary arts, and the central area of the park was given over to a food court, which served up a smorgasbord of every type of Belizean cuisine.Miss Deb’s Food-2-go did a roaring trade. For dessert, there was stewed supa and merengue pies, as well as dark Belizean Moho chocolate and cupcakes by Caramelo.The beverage producers also offered traditional Creole wines from cashew, ginger, cassava, craboo and berries.Belikin beer was also in abundance, and these could all be enjoyed to the cool sounds of Carlos Perrote’s of the Cu-gazz jazz ensemble, the OmolewaOsain project.
The artesans who create souvenir artefacts and crafts for the tourist trade were also in abundance, showcasing jewelry, basketware, bowls and other cups and containers made of bamboo, conch shells and other intrinsically Belizean materials. The Unique Belize brand helps market some of the best of this artwork in the shape of Mayan face masks, candle holders, baskets, wall-hangings and other coffee table ornaments.
The Belize Natural Energy for Life group also exhibited the line of arts and crafts they sell to raise funds to provide high school scholarships for needy students of the Cayo district.
One artist had used body paint to turn her body into a living sculpture; and Ozzie the Clown and other artists were also showcasing this living art.More than one group of Garifuna drummers offered musical entertainment at different locations throughout the festival.
The young students of the Belize House of Shotokan karate also displayed their martial arts, and there was even a mechanical bull for young “urban cowboys”!
As the sun went down other artists took the main stage, including thet national Youth orchestra, taking the party well into the night!
Museum of Belize representing at Street Art Festival 2017!
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