Garifuna culture in Belize has fostered and inspired many talented painters, musicians, and craftsmen. Among those most influential is Belizean artist and musician Pen Cayetano. Artist Cayetano began painting in the late 1970’s at a studio in Dangriga. He remained in Dangriga until 1990 when he moved to Germany. Since then, Cayetano has been featured around the world and has become one of Belize’s foremost cultural ambassadors. He is well renowned for his impressionistic style of painting and his dedication to preserve and uphold the origins of his Garifuna culture. On this note, and as part of the celebrations leading up to the Garifuna Settlement Day, The embassy of Venezuela featured Cayetano by hosting an exhibition of Cayetano’s latest work. Cayetano explained that the theme of this particular exhibition is centred one of the spiritual believes of the Garifuna- the beluria.
Though Cayetano incorporates many different styles in his painting, he admits his favourite is impressionism.
Mr. Pen Cayetano- Artist
“I started with the realistic style. I sued to paint with defying details and so. But, that is the way how artist grow in that world of art. I have been painting for more than half of my life. At this time I think I am on the mature stage and really can see my art. I like my impressionistic style…let the people feel more, not showing them the exact detail and let their brains work and find out what is between the canvas and that piece of frame”.
We also got to speak with the Ambassador of Venezuela His Excellency Yoel Pérez Marcano who commented on the excellent artist that Cayetano has proven himself to be and the importance of promoting artists like him.
H. E. Yoel Perez Marcano- Ambassador of Venezuela to Belize
(Translated to English) “Pen Cayetano is an excellent communicator; not only is he an artist but also very studious about social sciences. Therefore, through his art, he explains the origin of his people and allows to understand the past, the present, and the magic-religious manifestations of the Garifuna people. We feel that Belize needs to promote its cultural values; that Belizeans be able to treasure the talent of its own artists”.
Pen Cayetano, encourages all young artists to never stop doing what they do.
Reporter: “What do you want to say to young aspiring artists looking up to Mr. Pen Cayetano?
Mr. Pen Cayetano: “For young aspiring artists, they just have to continue doing their work because, it’s not going to be only in Belize because if they learn about the culture and the history and in music and in art, it’s going to be good for not only for Belize, but for the world because this is a unique place and these young artists got to find a way to make better music and study their culture. If you study it, you will find so much quantities within. The youths got to go back and study their history, so they can know of their culture and talk about their culture in a general way. Just keep on doing what you do to the best of your ability”.
Cayetano is a true Belizean national treasure.