The Placencia 16th Annual Sidewalk Art Festival is in full swing yet again. Boasting some of the most unique and vibrant art from Belizeans, the annual art festival is not one to be missed around this time of the year. The February sun is blazing while the breeze off the sea provides a refreshing reprieve. It’s an honor to partake in the local fanfare of a Belizean festival and many of our Itz’ana homeowners and staff are milling about amongst the crowd.
Perfectly painted flower petals so real looking, you swear the petals would move if you touched them. Painted by Kygo Moralez, a young Belizean boy from Independence who is as talented with his drawings and photography as he is with the paint brush. An underwater scene so vibrant you want to dive right in and swim alongside the turtle diving deep. This one crafted by Placencia Office Supply owner, Laura Godfrey, who also has her greeting cards for sale. The Sierra Brothers who are sons of the owner of Omar’s Creole Grub have done it again, their bright colored depictions of Belizean life jumping off the canvases. Local rastafarian, Tyrone Lockwood, known for his woodwork, proudly has his ziricote (ironwood) carved bowls and animals on display. Sheldon Duncan, Beach Captain at Chabil Mar Resort, has his signature lobster sausages on the grill, the scent wafting down the sidewalk and drawing in the crowds. The locals who live along the sidewalk have brought out the lawn chairs and sit with their babies on their knees watching visitors to their country enjoy the vibrant scene. “Cashews for Sale!” you hear from the man who picked and prepared them himself. Lizard Juice- a Caye Caulker invention and local favorite is for sale in a fashion reminiscent of a lemonade stand.
The BTIA and Rotary club both have their beer tents set up, run by local village volunteers. The local Humane Society has a kissing booth where they offer puppy or kitten kisses for a donation of any size. A steel drum beats, slapped in time by a man in garifuna dress and children run down the sidewalk with their frozen ice cups half full and faces covered in sticky red; their medals still proudly displayed from their 5K run that morning in Seine Bight.
The thing about Belize art is its bright and bold and in your face, much like the place and people who inhabit the country and create the art. There’s nothing subtle or bashful about it. As you walk down the sidewalk, you’re privy to scenes of scarlet macaws nestled together on the branches of a fruit tree, sharp nosed marlin jumping high out of the water hooked to the line of an excited creole fisherman or the sandy covered bums of bathing belizean beauties. “This is who we are, this is what we do, this is what we’re proud of” their paintings scream. The Mayan ladies have their thatch baskets woven and on display, their embroidered blankets housing beaded jewels and clay pipes for sale. Locally made granola, whole root turmeric paste, coffee scrubs, coconut oil and other natural goods from around the country are yours to buy at half of what you’d pay for it in North America. It’s natural, it’s real, it’s homemade and handcrafted as a true representation of the Belizean culture through art. Itz’ana invites you to come and wander our famous sidewalk next February at the 17th Annual Sidewalk Arts Festival. You won’t be disappointed!