On Sunday, I had the opportunity of taking a close-up view of Mr. Pedro Cruz’s mural. It is an amazing art piece which features a collage of historical and wildlife images. It was painted over the welcome sign in San Ignacio. It has images of Cahal Pech, maya masks, and hieroglyphs, as well as wild animals found in the Belizean forests, such as the toucan, tapir, and jaguar. Also depicted are iconic historical and patriotic images like the Belizean Flag, the classic 21 September 1981 emblem and the chicle farmers life. It’s not only a mural; it is an experience, something that all Belizeans should see.
Mr Cruz and I had a nice time just chatting away and talking about creating this massive project. The project came about because the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Council came to him about doing a small painting on the welcome sign in front of the police station in San Ignacio Town. Mr. Pedro Cruz, with the assistance of his daughter, Miss Chelsea Cruz, took it upon themselves to paint the entire wall. The wall measures approximately 160 feet long by 9 feet in height. The mural took approximately 27gallons of assorted colors of paint. Are you wondering if the paint is acrylic? Ha! That would make it unaffordable! He used regular house oil paint and with his expertise of blending and matching, he was able to get the shades he needed. If we start doing some math here, Mr. Cruz told me that the average charge for an artist is BZ$25.00 per square foot, so that means that he would be getting paid BZ$36,000 to do the job. Well, that is not so! He is actually not getting paid to do it.
It was amazing to see him work. I asked him if he planned what was to be drawn. I assumed that he would have had a sketch or plan of what he was going to do, but he said he simply started painting and, whatever came to his mind, he did. My mind was blown away when he told me that. I asked him about scale. How did he know how large to make the tapir, toucan or the howler money? He said he simply used the image in his mind. I thought that is what makes him a professional. The exclusive sponsor for the mural is the San Ignacio Resort Hotel.