Posts tagged Belize

Belize’s got Talent! – Meet woodcrafter Tony

Tony in front of his own build house in Belize

When searching for talent in Belize, one can not pass Belize city. In a previous post I made a small comment about this barricaded city where it is highly recommended not to go outside at night. Fortunately however, there is a lot more to meet the (western) eye then a bunch of marijuana-selling dollar-hunters with an identity crisis between rasta and hardcore gangster-bad-assyness.

Belize’s got talent! And not just a little bit. To my surprise there are numeral institutions in place that help local talent to flourish. Especially when looking beyond the handicraft-market build around the entrance for cruise-ship hop-on-hop-off-tourists (where I got the feeling that mostly resellers pray for the big spenders). The Image Factory proved to be the best place to go and its curator, Gilvano Swasey, pointed me in the right direction for the ‘sexiest’ artists in town. One of them being Ignatius ‘Tony’ Peyrefitte.

I met Tony when he was just busy working on Christmas decorations with friends and family. With the radio playing Christmas-songs and a busy road just in front, this proved to be a rather noisy meeting. However, as you will see in the video, Tony supersedes any noise with his extraordinary woodcrafting talent!

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The wood that Tony uses is collected solely from trees that where already dead when discovered (either by hunters or friends in rural villages). The big piece with the naked lady and the carp was made out of a piece that Tony got 7 to 10 years ago. From this piece he made three other pieces like this and every piece of wood that was not used is reused in other woodcraft-projects. In other words: Tony does not let any wood go to waste!

This time it will not be possible to buy any art from Tony via the Global Trade Project. I made this video to help him in promoting his special woodcraft as he does not have his own website (he doesn’t even have e-mail, yet). However, for the big spenders among you: if you want to contact Tony about a piece seen in the video, or maybe a specific woodcraft wish, you can contact me with the subject ‘Tony’. Also, if you don’t want to forget about Tony, add his web-page as one of your favourites!

Tony will enter the virtual realms of the internet to see this blog, so any comment you leave is best placed in English!

Butterfly Art from Belize – Baron Neal

Baron's first sell on Global Trade Project was to me!

Wow. I’ve been in Belize for little more than a week, but with the people I’ve met and all the things I have done, it seems like more then a month. Searching for talent in a country like this is so incredibly rewarding that I’m afraid that no other way of travelling can ever impress me more. The searching for talent is a story in itself, so I’ll focus on the talented person that I discovered in Santa Elena, next to San Ignasio at the Guatemalan border.

Baron Neal (1989) is the first artist from Central America that is presented on the Global Trade Project. I was fortunate to spend a whole day with him, in which he told me about his life and about the thing he likes doing most: making butterfly art. Making art from butterflies that died of natural cause is not something that would pop up firstly when thinking of Belize. However, when seeing the next video you might think twice. Baron Neal does not let these beautiful creatures go to waste and proves that creative talent can be used in a very interesting and sustainable way.

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Every artist presented will not only be given the opportunity to get internationally known and sell their handicraft globally, they also get their own page on this website. For Baron, this page is Here, you will find more information about him, see more examples of his artwork and information for contacting him.

Baron is very happy with the page on the Global Trade Project, because until now he did not have a website for promotional issues. He plans to use the video to get more attention to his art-work and expend his network of customers.

Because I am on a tight schedule to reach Guatemala, I can’t do the 4-day-order-period which I had in mind. In stead, I took the liberty (the gamble) to buy the three best art-works that Baron currently had laying and send it to Holland (sending costs total: € 63,-). All three are available for purchase in Holland only. First come, first served.


Parrot = 120 BD (60 USD – € 45,20), sending costs: € 21, my taco: € 3,-, incl 6% tax (BTW) = € 73,35
Hummingbird = 100 BD (50 USD – € 37,70), sending costs: € 21, my taco: € 3,-, incl 6% tax (BTW) = € 65,40
Butterfly = 70 BD (35 USD – € 26,40), sending costs: € 21, my taco: € 3,-, incl 6% tax (BTW) = € 53,42

Guarantee: if the art arrives broken or does not arrive at all, you will get your money back.
Products will arrive in Holland around 13 December. Perfect for Christmas!

First to contact me about purchasing one of the above items will get the opportunity to go through with the on-line purchasing process. Subject ‘Purchase Butterfly-art’.

Update: All butterfly-art pieces where sold within a day. To order more directly from Baron, contact him at irysbbutterflyzart (at) hotmail (dot) com

Mayan Territory – A Vision

Melanie Speers, Mayan on a mission

We have arrived in Mayan territory. It took us long enough, as we had to find our way through the well-sculptured palaces, the broad-paved streets and the western tourists in Cancun. After being here for one night we decided that any authenticity left in Mexico certainly would not be waiting for us in a sportsbar filled with Americans, drinking 3 dollar beers while watching usi-armed police patrols strolling passed.

We decided to even skip Chichen Itza, a place of which I’ve been imagining ever since I heard about human sacrifices being shown their own pumping harts just before their head was cut off. I didn’t find it appealing anymore when I heard about the busloads of tourists brought there via the only highway in Yucatan. It was in Tulum where I saw my first Mayan temple and explored underwater caves where supposedly the human skulls and bones are still well preserved on the bottom of endless underwater gorges. In Tulum’s Weary Traveler I also caught up with the backpacking community who gave me a warm welcome with beer and guitar music.

Still, this Mayan story does not begin in Mexico, but in Belize city, where we arrived late at night to find ourselves walking fully packed top and front on deserted roads, between walls of iron fences and barbed wire, saying ‘no thank you’ to vent of all kinds of dodgy, drunk characters, most trying to sell us marijuana, others in the middle of a screaming argument about it. The Lonely planet failed for the first time in preparing me for the culture shock wave that was about to hit. That night I felt that we had arrived on a different planet in some kind of dawn of the dead movie where it is not clear whether one is a prisoner outside or inside the barricades that keep the night away.

After dawn hit Belize the next morning however, it showed the city in a different light. It was this moment when I met Melanie Speer, owner of the North Front street guesthouse where we had decided to take shelter the night before. Because my attempt to explore the realms of Twitter, Couchsurfing and Facebook and its extent throughout the physical world had failed miserably, I was forced to do my own research upon arrival and figured the owner of my hostel would be a logical place to start in my search for talent.

Meeting Melanie almost is enough reason for doing this project. Melanie is from Mayan descendant and she is a woman on a mission. She has a mystical way about her and can tell the Mayan mythology with such passion that you feel yourself surging back to the time when the halfgod twins Ixbalanki and Junapu where rulers of the world. It turns out that Mayan mythology and culture is a lot richer then the gruesome horrific stories that I learned in elementary school. The ancient Greeks could suck a point to that (as we say in Holland). The Mayan’s cultural heritage is very limited however and it is because of this reason that Melanie came up with a plan to breath life in the Mayan culture once more.

Her project is as inspiring as it is challenging. She appropriated a vast area of land with three ancient Mayan temples on it (aligned to the stars, as are all Mayan temples) and made a plan to turn it in to a botanical garden. But nothing ordinary. The national park should entail all the aspects of Mayan culture and preserve it for generations to come. The rich stories of Mayan mythology will both entertain and educate the visitors that will come from around the world. In a convention center build in the form of the big bear star-cluster, cultural exchange and comparison will take place between ancient cultures from everywhere in the world and a quantum physics center will put this area of the world on the map as forerunner of human conscious development once more. As Melanie spent most of her life studying the human mind, this centre should be both an educational center as it is a reference to the evolvement of men on the twenty first of December 2012, when yet another cycle of 13.000 years has been done and the planets are aligned once more for the evolution of mankind.

whether it is true or not isn’t really important. Melanie has a vision and acts upon it. With her energy and passion she will succeed. As they say in Belize: “No douw’t abouw’t it!”.

Meanwhile I’m using my energy to find talent in this highly interesting city and from my experiences so far I am extremely optimistic, but that’s another story!

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