Well, the day finally arrived and the Belize City mural has been unveiled. The project is part of a countrywide commissioned event for the September festivities by the National Celebrations Commission. The storyboard, created by three well-known Belize City artists, is a retrospective of the country's forty years of independence painted onto the fence at Roger's Stadium at the corner of Dolphin Street and Cemetery Road. The work took two weeks to complete and the ribbon-cutting ceremony was held today. News Five's Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Seven unique images expressing all things Belizean - from the Father of the Nation George Price and Philip Goldson in black and white and transitioning to the bold cultural diversity of the country and ending with the present-day battle with the COVID-19 pandemic. It's a fusion of art and culture and a proud moment for the city.
Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor
"The mural essentially depicts through their eyes - it is not through my eyes or the minister's eyes, but through their eyes - the journey of an independent Belize since 1981. In their vision, they also ensured that they included the ethnic diversity of Belize as a nation. You certainly can relate to having Lord Rhaburn in there, Leela Vernon, the jankunu dancers. And so the artists really were able to bring together the Belize journey from our inception in 1981 up to where we are today."
David Kuan-Chou Chien, Taiwanese Ambassador to Belize
"I have witnessed many beautiful murals demonstrated by talented and gifted Belizean artists in Dangriga, Orange Walk and Corozal. These murals show us the creativity energy and patience of the artists. They not only contribute to the beautification of the city, but also enlighten people's awareness in the sense of belonging for the very city they can call home."
The independence mural was created by Keion Griffith, Alex Sanker and Chelsea Johnston, who began the process a little over two week ago. They say that it is proof that Belizeans have talent.
Alex Sanker, Artist
"Weh stand out outta this whole mural yah is that I had a seventy-two-year-old gentleman came on a bike and ih sit right here watch we di paint - me and Chelsea; Keion was on that side - and weh almost hurt me dah when he asked me weh part of the state unu from. You know what that di tell you my brother. The thing is there is the talent here; we are not given the opportunities."
Chelsea Johnston, Artist
"Being a female in the industry. People look at artists as a male-type thing; muralist as a male-type thing. And they came out here sweating and I was in the sun hot sweating just like them. We can do it as females also. We have a lot of females that are very creative and painting-wise also."
"Nobody did this mural individually; we three did it. We bucked heads at first, but we quickly realised that it is three different artists, it's three different personality, but at the end of the day, we came together."
Chair of the National Celebrations Commission and Minister of Culture, Francis Fonseca says that there must be a renewed focus on Belizean artists and culture.
Francis Fonseca, Minister of Culture
"It's always such a great pleasure to see an idea come to life and that is what this mural project is really about; that's what it represents. The National Celebrations Commission having an idea and that idea coming to life on the walls across our country because there are nine beautiful murals. Eight just like the one you see behind us in every municipality. So it has been a fantastic project. What I have enjoyed the most has been the community spirit that these projects have created in every municipality."