If you’ve been reading this blog for a while (about a year and a half…) you know that I like to collect art from local artists when I visit new places. You can check out my post about the Little Monster I found in San Diego here.
On our recent visit to Belize (for our Honeymoon), I found a ton of art that I wanted to buy. Sadly, I am not rich nor did I have enough room in my suitcase to bring all of it home so I had to choose a few choice pieces. I thought long and hard about which stuff really showed off the Belizean talents…I didn’t want to forget all of the great stuff I saw!
While we saw a lot of great art inland, it wasn’t until we stayed on the island of Ambergris Caye that I found all of my souvenirs. In downtown San Pedro there is a popular bar called Fido’s (fee-does). Matt and I went there for dinner one night and while we were waiting for our food I noticed a sweet little art store inside the bar called Belizean Arts. Needless to say, I went exploring on my own and ended up leaving Matt alone at the table for a good half hour by himself. I couldn’t help it though! It was a super small little store/gallery, but the amount of art in there was insane. There was art covering every wall and sitting on the floor in piles. Not only were there paintings, but there were sculptures and jewelry and basically anything you could think of. The best part of all? Everything was created by local artists! In fact, Matt and I got to see many of them bringing their art into the store that night while we sat at the bar. Soooooo cool. I love when I feel like I am a part of a different art culture, even if it is only for a short time. It is obvious that the Belizean people are very proud of their art and are very supportive of their local artists. They are like famous people down there. Gone are the days when you are treated like a hero in the US for being a good artist. It was nice to see people be appreciated for their talents in that manner. Our hotel even decorated their entire premises with items purchased from local artists. Talk about being in heaven…I loved it!
I have to add to this little story and say that not only was there a lot of art, but the art was phenomenal. If I didn’t think it was rude to take pictures of other people’s art in a gallery, I would have taken a million and posted it to this blog for you all to see. These artists were awesome! I was super impressed…which of course meant that I visited the gallery quite a few times and spent so much time in there that the girl at the desk knew me. I almost feel bad because I’m sure she thought I was going to purchase a big painting, and I ended up only getting some smaller souvenirs, but I would like to write her and tell her how much I enjoyed seeing what they had to offer. It was probably one of my favorite parts of our trip!
So, on with the story. Here are some of the pieces that I got while we were there.
I couldn’t afford to buy any of the paintings that were in the gallery, nor do I have somewhere to put them…so instead I bought some hand painted magnets.
You’ll have to excuse me because I have no idea who the artist was who painted these magnets. All I know is that they are awesome. I love how they paint a whole scene with only a few brush strokes. Amazing.
Of course we couldn’t just get one, so we got one that says Belize to represent our time on the mainland and then one that says San Pedro to represent our time on Ambergris Caye. Matt and I like to collect magnets when we visit different places, so it was like killing two birds with one stone. Sweet.
I couldn’t let that be the only thing we took away from this awesome little gallery though so I also picked up this fabulous fish sculpture which I love and adore.
While we were in Belize, Matt and I also took a day to see the Mayan ruins. The Belizean people convinced us that we needed to travel to Tikal, Guatemala if we wanted to see the best example. So, since we wanted to get more stamps on our passports, we decided to give it a go. While we were there we stopped off at this small little souvenir shop to pick up what would be our THIRD tour guide for the day (cause everyone needs three tour guides at a time). While we were there, I picked up some sweet stuff. Of course, I got some Guatemalan coffee which I have yet to try because I am off caffeine for the time being. We also got to try some natural chewing gum…which is absolutely disgusting. But, while chomping on some raw chewing gum, we got to check out a carver. He actually sat around in this little gift shop and carved wooden figures all day. Sooooo cool. It was really neat to watch him work, so of course we had to purchase something made by him.
Matt loves turtles, so that was an obvious choice. I mean, check out the detail on that little guy. That is some intense carving…especially since he is so small!
Since Matt got a souvenir, I was then entitled to one of my own so I picked out this handmade vase.
So that’s it! Those are our gifts to ourselves and they are nicely decorating our home now I can’t wait for the day we go back there so I can get some more art….for serious.