Graffiti is an emerging form of art in the jewel, through which messages are scribbled or painted on public property. This past Saturday at the Street Art Festival, a number of artists competed in a graffiti contest but their work was not on buildings or sidewalks, instead their message found their way on canvas. This afternoon, the Belize Tourism Board says the unique competition has potential. 


Duane Moody, Reporting

At the Street Art Festival, one of the main areas that drew the attention of art enthusiasts, painters and the general public was the mini graffiti art competition. Organized by the Belize Tourism Board, the competition is an initiative to display talents of the youth.  Graffiti is an art form that has no boundaries or rules and today inside the Belisle Gallery at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts, the pieces were displayed. Public Relations and Media Manager of the B.T.B., Andrea Polanco, spoke of the success of the competition.


Andrea Polanco

Andrea Polanco, Public Relations and Media Manager, B.T.B.

“The purpose of the competition is that the B.T.B. wanted to make some sort of mark in the development of art in Belize and so when the opportunity came up for us to participate in the Street Art Festival, we were wondering what can we do differently?  We brainstormed and said why not do a graffiti competition. So we thought okay, let’s pool together a group young artists, get them to express themselves with respect to using Belize as their source of inspiration. The artists as you can see used a wide variety of mediums to really express themselves. Some of them used glitter and paint, spray paint, airbrush; everything that you can think of. So the level of creativity; we are really, really impressed. It was really a difficult decision to decide who would win this competition.”


And after hours of deliberation by a panel of judges comprising of B.T.B. representatives and artists, Gilvano Swasey and Michael Gordon, the winners were chosen. The Carters, consisting of Shantel and Kristen Carter, Miguel Chan and Moises Granados, won for their piece representing our Mayan and Belizean heritage.


Kristen Carter

Kristen Carter, Winner, Graffiti Competition

“We did this idea because we tried to do it on the foundation of the Mayas and building it up as any company would have started from the bottom up. We all chipped in working very hard together sitting literally on the street of Albert Street; our feet were trembling and everything. At the end of the day, we chose one of the best ideas; best combination together.”

A piece by veteran artist/painter, Brad Steadman, received rave reviews from thousands of persons during the Street Art Festival. His sparkling design took second.


Brad Steadman

Brad Steadman, 2nd Place Winner, Graffiti Competition

“I have a lot of drawings home and this is one of the drawing that I pulled out. It has a lot to do with Belize and so forth. I didn’t want to put Belize so much that people wouldn’t understand it. It is graffiti right. So I have a little graf in it. But it is all representing Belize as the criteria depict.”


Taking third place was student of Wesley High School, Micah Vernon. Vernon’s abstract art piece is his concept of Belize’s multicultural diversity.


Micah Vernon

Micah Vernon, 3rd Place Winner, Graffiti Competition

“My painting represents; it takes every single aspect of Belize: the wildlife, the plants, the people, the culture and it mixes it all into one mesh. So basically the corals are representing different eras in Belize, Belize at different times in its history. The faces on the corals represent different emotions and ethnicities that reside in Belize. The swirl of colors represents how everything just survives in harmony.”


All winners received tours to different parts of the country. Also participating in the competition were Erron Golanche, Briheda Haylock, Gian Novelo and Kody August. All participants received consolation prizes courtesy of the B.T.B. Duane Moody for News Five.