Roberto Guerrero - Carving out his niche in San Pedro

Local artist Roberto Guerrero

Our island has been blessed with a rich source of natural beauty that has made it the number one tourist destination in Belize. Every year thousands of visitors come to our Isla Bonita and a wide majority leave satisfied having chosen Ambergris Caye as their vacation choice. Even though the memories will be in their minds, sometimes a souvenir helps them remember the beauty of our island. San Pedro has fathered many artists that contribute to the promotion of our island. One of San Pedro's finest artists is Mr. Roberto "Robbie" Guerrero.

Robbie was born to Mr. Efrain Guerrero, J.P. and Mrs. Cleotilda Guerrero during Hurricane Hattie. He was raised among six brothers and three sisters. Robbie attended San Pedro R. C. School and graduated in 1979 from San Pedro High School.

At a very young age, he developed an interest in art. This began during his primary school years. The school would hold competitions for students to paint portraits to be used for Stations of the Cross during Lent. The teachers would judge the paintings and almost always, Robbie's would be the winner. Comic books were, at that time, a treat for a youngster and wherever he was able to get hold of one he would make comic drawings of the characters. Robbie recalls making many drawings of "Kaliman" a hero portrayed in Spanish comics. When he was only nine years old he also developed a keen interest in the art of tattooing. After classes he would join Mr. Genaro Nuñez (deceased) to pursue another skill, working with coral and turtle shell souvenirs. Mr. Nuñez was one of San Pedro's best artisans and Robbie was proud to work with him on a part time basis. He also learned the art of dissecting star fish which was a popular souvenir sought by tourists at the time. Robbie realized that this type of work brought him a lot of self satisfaction and decided to stick with it. He worked with his brother, Mr. Efrain Guerrero Jr. (also an artist) for about three years and also for other gift shops in town.

On August 24th, 1986 he married Mina Vasquez, now an assistant teacher at Lydia's Institute of Fine Education. Together they have three children Roberto Jr. now 12, Melissa now 8 and Jules now 4 years old.

Roberto opened his own shop - Dolphin Gift Shop on Pescador Drive where he worked for seven years. He supplied most of the stores and gift shops in town with his wide variety of work. To date he still supplies well known shops like Cottage Gift Shop, Tabony Industries, Ramon's Gift Shop and other shops in Belize City.

He has recently moved his location, now called Chacmool Arts, to his home at Boca del Rio. There he has a wide, open-air display of his work which includes jewelry, wood, palmetto root and coconut carvings. Some of his most recent work using palmetto stick roots (depicting African heads) can be seen at the Green Reef Gallery on Barrier Reef Drive.

Robbie's biggest plan is to restructure his location to make it look like a fishing village depicting San Pedro of the past. He is also awaiting an opportunity to travel to Tasco, Mexico for a two-year period to study the art of sculpturing. Robbie said, "I would like my children to develop a love for this type of work so that one day they can help me and turn this into a family business." His art has been exported to many places in Mexico, as well as, the cities of Miami, Houston, and New Orleans in the U.S. He is presently carving the insides of three wooden bowls (over 100 years old) portraying San Pedro's past and Belize's flora and fauna.

Robbie's interest and dedication in promoting San Pedro and Belize through his fine art have earned him the recognition he deserves in "Our Community."

Roberto Guerrero - Carving out his niche in San Pedro

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