Friday, June 21, 2024

San Pedro’s Edwardo ‘Papo’ Alamilla tops BTB Art competition

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San Pedrano and well-known artist Edwardo ‘Papo’ Alamilla emerged as the top winner of the Belize Tourism Board‘s (BTB) art competition. The Belize Tourism Through Art competition was part of the activities leading up to World Tourism Day on Wednesday, September 27th. Papo Alamilla’s masterpiece, ‘Our People, Our Landscapes, Our Tourism,’ captivated a panel of judges well-versed in the arts by showcasing the country’s tourism landscape in all its beauty, including flora, fauna, and iconic attractions.
BTB launched the competition during August and September when local artists were invited to submit paintings highlighting this year’s theme for World Tourism Day, “Tourism and Green Investments.” Papo competed among 40 other artists who participated from across the country. A total of 19 of the submissions were shortlisted. He shared with The San Pedro Sun that those near him and his family encouraged him to participate in the competition. The island artist said he spent a few weeks thinking about what to paint. When he had the sketches ready, Papo Alamilla said it only took him three days to complete his masterpiece. “I had in mind to highlight our hard-working people like the fishermen, the beauty of our country and culture,” said Alamilla.
The winning painting included a well-known island fisherman, Wilfredo Alamilla Sr. Papo said that he wanted to highlight his fishing practices. “He is into stone crab claw harvesting, an example of sustainable fishing,” he said. Papo described the painting as capturing breathtaking vistas, showcasing the Lighthouse Reef Atoll area and the mesmerizing Great Blue Hole. The painting also includes a Maya Archeological site, a cultural gem drawing tourists to its historical allure. Other features include the great Belize Barrier Reef and mangrove system, havens for numerous fish species. Sports fishing portraying the Grand Slam related to fly-fishing are also depicted along with the untainted splendor of the jungle, unpolluted by airborne contaminants, and featuring the majestic jaguar, the vibrant Macaw, and Belize’s national bird, the Toucan. The artwork also pays homage to the nation’s agricultural abundance, portraying the cane industry and a local woman proudly displaying her bountiful harvest from the fertile land.
Papo Alamilla was awarded the grand prize of $5,000 for this winning piece of art at a special ceremony hosted by the BTB on Wednesday in Belize City. He feels proud of his work and accomplishments, stating that painting is a talent that runs in the family and is a trade he has been doing from a very young age. Even his children have followed in his footsteps, and some of their paintings can be found and purchased at his art studio on Tarpon Street in downtown San Pedro. The island artist welcomes art lovers and even works on customized paintings at his shop.
The event also recognized Kirt Cruz for his dedication, inspiration, and talent. Cruz is another talented artist from San Pedro who is usually busy at work on the north end of Barrier Reef Drive. He plans to use art as a medium for creative expression to assist persons with disabilities.
The top artists of the competition received staycation packages from the following hotels: Chabil Mar, Barefoot Caye Caulker Hotel, Hopkins Bay Resort, Blu Zen Resort, Sunset Caribe, Chaa Creek, San Ignacio Resort Hotel, Island Magic Resort, The Rainforest Lodge at Sleeping Giant, The Lodge at Jaguar Reef, and El Ben Cabañas.
The 19 shortlisted artworks of the competition will remain on exhibit until the end of October at the Belisle Art Gallery at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts in Belize City.

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