I could decide to be bitter and recount, in great detail, my termination as a Program Officer at ICA. It would be easy for me to retell that drama, as every detail of it is fresh and crisp in mind. The irony of it all was that I was terminated while brainstorming and planning the 2010 Women in Art exhibit, a new idea I was toying with; Pumps N Dubs (which would highlight women fashion designers and disc jockeys, both predominantly male fields) and another event which would feature theatre. But as my mother has so wisely told me through the years, basing her advice on the old Aesop’s fable, “don’t be sour grapes!”
To elaborate on that anecdote, the story tells of a fox and a bunch of grapes which he so greatly desired. When the fox realised that he was unable to get the grapes, he decided that he would simply convince himself that these were sour.
Definitely this tactic is widely utilized by persons to cope with failure because it is simple and seems to work. If I can’t get something; I will simply tell myself that I didn’t really want it because it is no good.
Let me state now, that I in no way intend to use that tactic in this article.
The Institute of Creative Arts, via their program officer, has stated that over thirty women artists will display art in this year’s exhibit. They also have decided to, probably in honour of the Maya calendar; focus the exhibit around the Goddess Ixchel. The Program Officer also mentioned that the exhibit will feature famous artists like Carolyn Carr alongside upcoming artists like Stacy Rodriguez. Though I certainly applaud ICA for attempting to present a variety of artists with different trajectories, I must say that I believe that an institution, which is an arm of the National Institute of Culture and History, could certainly have provided a wider assortment. When it comes to upcoming artists, the Institute of Creative Arts should have visited and accepted entries from schools in each of the six districts and the islands. I say this because when I was still in the habit of perusing facebook, I saw excellent work from lots of young Belizean women. The absolutely exciting thing about this was that it was not only the traditional art forms which are consumed in Belize, but also fashion, digital imaging and jewellery.
An exhibit like this one, which advertises itself as representative of the art that women are making, should try to give the richest display possible. It is all good and fine to keep presenting the same art genres year in and year out, but to truly represent the Belizean art scene ICA would need to widen its scope. I have nothing against painting, it is a medium which I utilize frequently, but we need to show our Belizean populous the wide range of genres in visual art.
I can say that even as I produce art on a near monthly basis, I have yet to receive any invitation to participate in a Women in Art exhibit which ICA organises with the idea to showcase women in art. Agreeably, the art I make is not generally the art you would see in exhibits in Belize. Last March, I exhibited in the Image Factory, along with an excellent female painter Jill Burgess. The exhibit El Fleco + Vixens, Bitches and Whores, seriously misunderstood women featured an e-book by Yasser Musa el Fleco, where I was interviewed about life, being an artist and resigning from art school and ‘9 to 5’ jobs. This March, I hope to see the Institute of Creative Arts showcasing a wider cross section of women artists. With all the things that divide us, especially we of the fairer sex, I would hope that art doesn’t act as yet another divider.