Two well known organizations are today celebrating ten years of promoting the arts in Belize. This morning News Five spoke with the founders of the Image Factory and Stonetree Records to find out what they have accomplished and what are their plans for the future. Yasser Musa, Director, Image Factory "We have surpassed what we set out to do. When we started in 1995 with the first show with Gilvano and Sergio Hoare called the First Realist, our real plan was only to develop more exhibitions to document our visual arts." Jacqueline Woods, Reporting Today the Image Factory celebrates ten years of promoting art through exhibitions in Belize. But as explained by its Director Yasser Musa, there was more than just displays going on North Front Street in the first decade. So what does the future hold for the Image Factory? Yasser Musa "Our view and I have tried to convey this to as many artists as possible, is to yes, have a respect for the history of what has taken place, and to kind of put it in a box and in that way try to erase it so that when you do future projects you are not obligated to what you did before because then you won't be fresh and you won't be innovative. But our agenda for the future is to be forward thinking as we were in the first ten years and try to develop new expressions and try to uplift the next generation of visual artists. We hope the next generation of artists will see the first ten years as something that they can look to. So that is our hope." Works that have been exhibited over the past decade form part of the anniversary celebration.
#4. Proshka the Artist, Angela Gegg - "Girl In Review", Mixed Media 36 by 36
Additionally, artists who have not yet had their pieces promoted at the well-known gallery have also been invited to be part of the event. Yasser Musa "We have gotten a good response. We've gotten over sixty works of art, by over sixty different artists, most of them from Belize?over fifty of them. But we've had artists that have exhibited here from Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, as they have too sent in their works." There are also plans to renovate the Image Factory so cruise ship tourists and other visitors will be able to access the facility from the riverside.
It was a double celebration occurring over the Belize City Swing Bridge as Stonetree Records is also celebrating its tenth birthday. Ivan Duran, Managing Director, Stonetree Records "Since we started in 1995, the idea was to start producing local artists, which you probably remember back in 1995 there were no recording studios in Belize, so artists usually had to go abroad to record, if it was Guatemala City, L.A., New York, or even Mexico City." "We started by recording local artists in Belize. The only other attempt in the past was made by Andy Palacio and Sunrise Records, which they used to have a little studio at the old Bliss, but that was limited production, mainly cassettes. So in 1995 Stonetree was the first company to put out a locally produced CD, which was Andy Palacio's Keimou album and Bredda David's Raw CD."
In the past ten years, the company has produced twenty-five recordings. One issue that remains very much a concern is copyright that does affect the production of music. Ivan Duran "Because at the end of the day it's about the public realizing that the only way they're gonna have new music is if they support the music that is available now by buying original products. And that's the only way that we can continue to produce music and that's the only way why artists will ever pay somebody to go into a studio to record. So that's very critical and we are very fortunate also that in Belize our market has sustained the industry up to this point. We depend one hundred percent on the local market." Duran says he remains encouraged by the fact that they have not seen many instances of local works being pirated. This Duran believes is because Belizeans are beginning to support their local artists.