Under the Shade, I Flourish: The Art Revolution in Belize
Jorge Landero is a painter. He likes to start working at three or four in the morning, after a cup of milk. His open-air studio is a concrete floor walled by a hedge of bamboo, and is frequented by his German shepherd, Max, who cannot be deterred from lapping water out of the paint cans.
Max, Kerry Johan Landero, and Jorge Landero. Bullet Tree, Belize. Printed with subjects’ permission. Photo by Monica Byrne.
Landero says he started painting after years of hating his masonry work. “It was so fucking hard. Nobody bought me a brush…[But] my life was going to be doomed if I was not going to be an artist.”
Now, he paints bright, beautiful canvases that hang in offices, banks, and resorts all over Belize. When Prince Harry visited the country in 2012, a resort owner touched down by helicopter to pick out a gift for him.
I ask Landero, “How would you like to see Belize change?”
“You cannot change Belize,” he says immediately. “The world is always going to be this way.”