FROM CHANNEL 5 BELIZE
You have probably seen their work on display, but never all together in the same place. News Five's Janelle Chanona reports on thirty-three artists and what they have in common.
Janelle Chanona, Reporting
This morning members of the local artistic community celebrated the launch of a new book: Made in Belize. The sixty-eight page publication profiles the multi-talented sculptors, painters, photographers and cartoonists working in Belize and was produced by U.S. art history student, Maggie Turner.
Maggie Turner, Author, Made in Belize
“It seemed like a really exciting time for everything to be developing and I wanted to be a part of that and learn more about it.”
Turner spent several summers travelling throughout the country to interview the thirty-three featured artists.
“I think it was a variety of stories and that’s what so exciting. It’s not that Belize is producing one kind of art. Each of the thirty-three artists is doing something completely different but all with a really, really intense passion and that’s the thread that links them together.”
“Since this project began four years ago, of course there have been new artists coming up that are not in the book so I’ll have to come back and do a next edition.”
“Some people might be saying it took a foreigner to come and tell our story. As an artist do you fell that, no, that once the story is told that’s the point? “
Gilvano Swasey, Curator, Image Factory
“Yes, I look at it that way. I’ve always been very critical of that same position where it says a good man is never honoured in his country, no? It always takes someone.”
“But how I look at this whole project is not who is doing it but basically what are they doing? And what she has done has been one of the most important thing, documenting. You have to document things and this is a documentation for everyone, it can be used as a tourist book, get rid of Destination Belize, show the artists because the artists don’t just paint pretty pictures, they document our lives. You look in there you’ll see historical images, you look in there you’ll see George Gabb’s Sleeping Giant that shows how he fought against the British by creating a sculpture with Mayan eyes, Garifuna nose, whatever like that. So it’s kind of like a family album, you look in this book and you learn about who we are and why we are here.”
Copies of the book are available at the Image Factory and other bookstores for twenty-five dollars each. Reporting for News Five, I am Janelle Chanona.
CHANNEL 7 BELIZE
In ten years 200 exhibitions have been opened, 75 publications have been printed, and hundreds of artists have been featured at the Image Factory. This morning the factory launched what just might its definitive publication. Keith Swift has more.
Keith Swift Reporting,
Its entitled: Made in Belize and the book contains artworks from 33 contemporary Belizean artists. From Richard Holder's epic 'Last Supper,' George Gabb's historic 'Sleeping Giant,' and Angela Gegg's 'Mixed Media.'
Angela Gegg, Featured Artist
"This piece was actually my 2004 Subconscious Works of Art Exhibit. One of my buyers owns it. It is a gigantic piece. It is very big and pretty much represents me as an abstract, surrealist artist."
The book, which was released in three covers, was compiled by Maggie Turner. She says it began as a class project 4 years ago.
Maggie Turner, Author
"It started with a paper that I wrote four years ago and I interviewed nine of the artists for that paper and then decided that what good would the paper do for Belize; Belize needed something a little more tangible, a resource, a book. So I came up with that idea to come back and do more research for something a little bit more complex with Yasser. He invited me back for the summer to start working on the book."
These 33 images from 33 artists were chosen from among a pool of hundreds but Turner says making the selections were easy.
With each artist I brought my camera and just took a lot of different photographs and picking the portrait of them was pretty easy and then I just really picked which works struck an interest with me."
And apart from picture - the book also details a "whose who" in art in Belize.
"There is a picture of each artist and a picture of each of their work so its nice to be able to put a name to a face. But the text is the important part. All these artists have such amazing stories about how they started drawing or painting and how what they are working on right now. So I think the text is the most important part."
Turner worked closely on the project with Image Factory Curator Gilvano Swasey.
Gilvano Swasey, Curator - Image Factory
"This whole book is a very unique experience and it's a great combination to anything you have in your home, even if you don't collect art and you just love it. It shows how creative we are."
For Image Factory boss Yasser Musa, Made in Belize is more than just a book of pictures - it is an important piece of Belizean cultural history.
Yasser Musa, Image Factory
"The book is an important record for Belize. Since our independence the role of the artist has become an important one in the identity building of our nation. Our national identity is constantly under attack and the role of the artist in 2007 is even more significant today. This publication adds to the image of Belize. It catalogues and documents cultural workers doing their thing."