San Ignacio has always been a hub for tourists interested in exploring Western Belize, however, through the years, the town has gained a new appreciation for street art, which in its own right, should be a good reason to visit.
Take, for example, the mural above that welcomes everyone to San Ignacio. This art is at the center of town and is part of the San Ignacio Police Station’s façade. Renowned local artist Pedro Cruz painted the Mural with assistance from his daughter, Chelsea. The mural pays tribute to San Ignacio by showcasing various historic depictions, Maya emblems, and Belizean wildlife.
Next to the Police Station, on the historic Hawksworth Bridge, you can find a less conspicuous piece of art, which is actually my personal favorite. The toucan is the national bird of Belize and can be easily spotted throughout San Ignacio. If you don’t believe me, visit the San Ignacio Hotel or the Cahal Pech Maya Ruins, preferably during the mornings.
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Another mural can be found on the Scotia Bank building. Created by artists Fernando Cruz, Alfonso Galvez, German Figueroa and Jose Guerra-Awe, this mural is called Land of the Gods. According to NICH, the art describes Belize’s transition from old to new. On the left, in sepia tone, it depicts the Belize of old. Images of the Cayo boats docked at the boat landing, the old trains used to transport lumber to the coast, the days when street lights had to be ignited at the end of every day, and a land vibrant with superstition…days when chicle was still harvested and the Union Jack flew in the sky. It illustrates a Belize trapped behind the blanket of colonialism, yet vibrant in its own uniqueness. To the right, the art transitions to vibrant colors highlighting the Belize of today, one that has various industries and tells the story of a young, independent nation reaching for the sun.
Further down the road, behind Belize Bank lies another mural that acknowledges Belize’s past and present. The depictions include the conquest of the Maya, slavery and the colonial era, and from the looks of it, an image of when Hurricane Hattie destroyed Belize City, which was the old capital of Belize.
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Alongside the Belize’s Past and Present mural, is a beautiful painting of Kukulkan, the Maya snake deity. Fortunately, I got to witness the creation of this one, when my friend Jose was painting it. As I mentioned above, he also participated in the creation of the Land of the Gods mural.
The newest street art addition to San Ignacio is a most welcomed one; dubbed A Painted Conversation, the mural has revitalized a dreary wall that shadowed an area where many kids pass en route to two of the local primary schools. Through participatory planning, the artist Natalia Pilato and a group of volunteers enlisted the help of the community to depict a mural that emphasizes San Ignacio. The result is a mural that tells the story of a principal midwife who delivered more than 1,000 babies within the community. This art can be found at the corner of West and Far West Street.
All the murals mentioned above are in San Ignacio’s downtown core and near to each other. If I missed any, or incorrectly named them, shoot me a line and I will update this post.