Historic Inauguration of Museum of Belizean Art Celebrated

Historic Inauguration of Museum of Belizean Art Celebrated

Today marks a historic day for Art in Belize. The National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), the Museum of Belize, and the Houses of Culture inaugurated the Museum of Belizean Art (MOBA) earlier today. MOBA’s core purpose is to provide artists with a platform to push artistic boundaries. Reporter Kendra Romero was at the inauguration ceremony.  Here is her report. 

Kendra Romero, Love News: The walls that encase the old Government House are now donned with locally produced paintings, sculptures, and art, making up the exhibition dubbed, Museum of Belizean Art, also known as MOBA. More than five dozen pieces are showcasing the artistic talents and visions of 68 artists; some who have passed, some who have retired, and some who are now dabbling in creativity.  The exhibition, launched by the Museum of Belize and Houses of Culture is a fixed installation that recognizes the local arts.  Curator, Gilvano Swasey, has expressed excitement at the launch, describing it as one of the most momentous events in visual arts.

Gilvano Swasey, Curator, MOBA: “This is a very proud moment for me as an artist. I’ve been doing art since 1995 and I’ve done many exhibits and I’ve participated in exhibits locally and internationally. But for the first time we have Belizean art on this scale meaning the diversity of the artist, the diversity of the work, the diversity of the stories and as someone had mentioned is that you have husband and wife team, you have Penn Cayetano and Ingrid Cayetano. You have Nelson Young and Nicole Gallego they were partners and so you also would see how art influences each other. There’s Benjamin Nicholas and Isiah Nicholas, father and son you see similarities in their style, their stories but also you would see differences in their time period. So this is one of the best things that has happened to the visual arts and I encourage everyone to come and see it and we’re hoping to take it to a next level where we can use the grounds. This is a beautiful space. You imagine sculptures out here and little benches where you can sit down and do your little homework or just chill. This is prime property, we own the place so let’s make the best of it.”

Kendra Romero, Love News: Minister Francis Fonseca, who is known to be an advocate for everything local, told Love News that his appreciation for visual and musical talents runs deep.  He foresees the various areas of the Orange Economy coming together nicely as the ministry works at embracing and fostering those in the industry.

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “I think this really is a platform for us to take art in Belize to another level. We’re here today showcasing the creativity, the innovation, the passion of our Belizean artists and our creative people and I think that’s important. That’s always important for a country to do, to make sure we’re giving a space to our artists for them to communicate their work with the masses. So it’s an exciting day and I think as I said we can build on this. This is very good beginning and I’m very excited about the future of art in Belize. But it will be a revolving exhibit so we’ll have other artists and we try to include young people, new artists, artists who have been around for a while and also artists who have passed on we pay tribute to their work.”

Kendra Romero, Love News: After the official ceremony, guests, including elected officials like the Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner, and Minister Henry Usher were able to get an up-close look at the art pieces.

Henry Charles Usher, PUP Chairman: “I enjoy the work of Penn Cayetano. Certainly he’s the master but the one right behind us there Mr.Nicholas the Last Supper with cassava and fish, very unique and certainly a different perspective on the Last Supper. So really each has its own merits and we should appreciate each artist and the work that they create.”

Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “I’m always fan of Penn Cayetano but I’m also a fan of some of the new artists that are coming along. I like Shahira Young I think she does great work and so I’m really pleased with what I’ve seen here today.”

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “I’m a huge collector of art so you know Papo Alamilla I love his work, I have a number of his pieces. Penn Cayetano of course, Benjamin Nicholas, Isaiah Nicholas, you know these are all great artists. The Garcia sisters you know their sledge work the carvings that we have here today. We also have work done by Ingrid Cayetano so there are so many fantastic pieces, Richard Holder, Gilvano Swasey, a lot of amazing pieces that I very very much enjoy and I think the Belizean people when they get an opportunity to see them will thoroughly enjoy and be excited about it.”
Kendra Romero, Love News: The public is being invited to visit the House of Culture on the weekdays between the hours of 9am and 4pm.  Reporting for Love News, I am Kendra Romero.

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