Wednesday, July 14, 2010

(Social) Realism: Belize

Benjamin Nicholas (1930)

The Garifuna are an Afro-Caribbean people descended from African slaves who were shipwrecked on the island of St. Vincent and inter-married with the indigenous Carib Indians. Defeated by the British in 1797, they were deported to the islands and coast of Nicaragua, Honduras and Belize. The son of a banana farmer, Benjamin Nicholas was born in 1930 in the southern coastal village of Barranco. He began to draw while attending primary school, and as a young man studied both commercial and fine art in Guatemala. Returning to Belize, he gained the notice of an American collector who sponsored his study of art at the University of Minnesota for three years. Nicholas' paintings depict both the history and the daily life and culture of the Garifuna people around him - from fishing and farming to healing ceremonies and mourning rites.

World (Social) Realist Art
(Index of Countries)
This blog page is part of an ongoing project by artist and part-time lecturer Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin ( to explore Realist / Social Realist art from around the world. The term Realism is used in its broadest sense to include 19th century Realism and Naturalism as well as 20th century Impressionism (which after all was following in the path of Courbet and Millet). Social Realism covers art that seeks to examine the living and working conditions of ordinary people (examples include German Expressionism, American Ashcan School and the Mexican Muralists).

Click here for (Social) Realist Art Definitions, World (Social) Realism and Global Solidarity, Art and Politics, Social Realism in history and Country Index.

Suggestions for appropriate artists from around the world welcome to

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