TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Belize Embassy in Taipei on Wednesday (March 1) unveiled an exhibit showcasing Belizean women and culture in the form of paintings, crafts, and sculptures at the National Central Library to celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8).
“Some of the barriers women face consistently are cultural,” Belize Ambassador to Taiwan Candice Pitts said, including “the ways particular groups in particular societies understand gender, their expectations of womanhood, and their treatment of women and girls.”
“Therefore, deploying cultures to celebrate women can help us to rethink and address some of these problems even at the level of our thoughts and creative imagination,” Pitts said.
Commenting on the importance of women supporting each other, Pitts said, “When one of us make it, all of us make it; when one of us is celebrated, all of us are celebrated.” She also stressed that “when we acknowledge women, we do not devalue men.”
The ambassador also said that women must work together to “level the proverbial playing fields” and to “strike a balance with the genders that will allow women to have fair access, fair participation, fair representation, fair recognition.”
The exhibit features images of women from all walks of life who contribute to Belize society. All of the artwork celebrates womanhood and many of them were made or painted by women, according to the ambassador.
The commissioning of the artwork also provided economic opportunities for these women and their families, Pitts said. There are multiple paintings by Belizeans showcasing the friendship between Belize and Taiwan.
One of the more notable crafts is the table runners woven by Martina Pop, an Indigenous Mayan woman from Belize. Table runners are one of the primary cultural productions of Belize Mayan communities, Pitts said.
The main feature of the art collection is a series of six wooden sculptures, titled “Inspire: The flight of 6 Belizean women,” carved by three sculptors: Curl Gordon, Bobby Westby, and Anthony Vacarro. The project’s commissioning was funded by Taiwan’s Central American Trade Office and received support from Belize City’s Institute of Creative Arts.
The works were made out of wood found in the forest and each was inspired by six real Belize women.
The sculptures “Genesis” and “Mother and Child “ were made by Westby, while the sculptures “Flight” and “Emergence” were made by Vacarro. The sculptures “Mother of Creation Essence” and “Essence” were made by Gordon.
The woodworkers chose to carve larger sculptures than requested, causing a delay in shipping. As a result, the sculptures will be on display beginning March 8.
The exhibit will run from March 1-31.
Belize Ambassador Candice Pitts speaking with Taiwan MOFA Vice Minister Alexander Tah-ray Yui. (Taiwan News, Kelvin Chen photo)
Mayan table runners woven by Martina Pop. (Taiwan News, Kelvin Chen photo)
"Connection" by Gayla. (Taiwan News, Kelvin Chen photo)
Panels displaying notable Belizean women. (Taiwan News, Kelvin Chen photo)
Paintings by Belizean artists. (Taiwan News, Kelvin Chen photo)