Ambassadors of Art
Who we are
Master of Belizean Arts
Pen Cayetano, Artist & musician lives at 3 Aranda Crescent Dangriga, Belize. He is well known as the ‘King of Punta Rock Music’. Pen Cayetano is a painter, singer, songwriter, percussionist, and guitarist. He is recognized as the leading cultural reviver and Ambassador of Garifuna music worldwide. Born in 1954 in Dangriga the cultural capital of Belize, his task was and still is to conserve the culture and to raise consciousness in the people and the youth of modern society. Since the late 1970´s he does so by creating colorful and unique oil paintings that captures the rich Garifuna cultural life and the tapestry of Belize.
Oil on canvas is his medium. The paintings are colorful, recreating the rich tapestry of Belize life and faithfully capturing the Garifuna culture. Pen Cayetano focuses also on historical events and places from Belize.
Perhaps the strongest representative of a people’s culture is the artist, his role is to educate. Pen Cayetano focuses also on historical events and places from Belize. The paintings manifest melancholy, shelter, tranquility, and tradition. Such an art becomes to be the opposite of our modern time, where so many people get lost because of their missing roots. Pen Cayetano did many international exhibitions and is represented in several museums and public collections.
His musical creation the „Punta Rock“, a combination of traditional Garifuna music and strains of modern Rock, was first introduced in 1981 by his Turtle Shell Band. Just like his art it served to express social commentaries and to uplift the Garifuna culture. Punta Rock became a great success in Belize and spread out to the whole Garifuna community in Honduras and the US where it is still the most popular music genre.
In 1990 he moved his studio to Ahrweiler, Germany, where he lived with his family. Cayetano continued to portray the Garifuna culture but also painted landscapes of Germany. He also started the family band “The Cayetanos” in to develop the Punta Rock style even further before returning to Dangriga in 2009 with his German wife Ingrid where they opened the Pen Cayetano Studio Gallery.
On April 24, 2013, Pen Cayetano received the insignia of the “Most Excellent Order of The British Empire” for his outstanding contributions to Belizean popular culture and counts as one of Belize’s foremost cultural ambassadors.
Furthermore, he received numerous awards (selection):
- 2022 George Gabb Award for Visual Arts, Government of Belize, Belize City
- 2020 Artist Emeritus Award, Government of Belize
- 2018 Meritorious Service Award, Government of Belize, Belize City
- 2018 Dedication Belize International Jazz Festival, NICH, Belize City, Belize
- 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc., New York
Ingrid Cayetano – Fine textile art
Born in 1956 in Ahrweiler, Germany, Ingrid Cayetano studied art from 1976 to 1980 at the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne, Germany with Stefan Wewerka and Prof Daniel Spoerri.
Early 1981, the year when Belize gained Independence, she visited Belize and met her husband legendary artist and musician Pen Cayetano. She became the first manager for the Turtle Shell Band, the group that created the now Caribbean famous and national genre of Punta Rock.
Ingrid Cayetano has a unique method of presenting ideas in her needle paintings. She experiments and combines old techniques with new materials. The art is seeing old paintings in a new life-form, modelling portraits and figures with many threads and colours. The fabrics tell a story and are „painted“ with thread and needle.
Ingrid’s various subjects are cultural, emotional, and mostly realistic. Creations are inspired and linked to the artist’s surroundings for example mother and child scenes, portraits – especially extraordinary women, presentation of cultural and historic subjects like dances and rituals.
Since 1978 she has been doing performances and exhibitions in Germany, Europe and abroad. Besides of being an artist, Ingrid Cayetano is the coordinator, manager, mother of three and a member of the family band “The Cayetanos”. Along with her son Ibo she wrote the children book stories “We are free” and “Wanaragua” which were illustrated by her daughter Malí.
She has silently led the family to their present status of international fame and serves as administrator and manager of Pen Cayetano and the Studio Gallery.
“I paint what I see and feel. Art is in my blood and veins. Art is my life and it must come out. My wife Ingrid is my muse and the love of my life.”Pen Cayetano
“As a female artist you must be really strong and work even harder if you have a family. Being an artist is passion, vision, solitude, happiness, pain, and a job for life.”Ingrid Cayetano
Awards and exhibitions
Pen Cayetano has exhibited internationally and is represented in several museums and public collections. He has received numerous awards. In 2013 Pen Cayetano received the insignia of the “Most Excellent Order of The British Empire” (MBE) for his outstanding contribution to Belizean popular culture and is considered one of Belize’s foremost cultural ambassadors.
He was honored with the „Lifetime Achievement Award“ by Garifuna Coalition New York, USA (2019), the Meritorious Service Award (2018) and the Artist Emeritus Award (2020) by the Government of Belize.
In 2022, the National Celebrations Commission (NCC) hosted the Belize@41 Awards Ceremony which recognized seven outstanding and deserving Belizeans. Pen Cayetano received the George Gabb Award for Visual Arts.
Private and public collections
- Collection of Taiwan received by President Tsai Ing-wen
- Museum of Belize, Belize City, Belize
- Interamerican Bank office, Belize City Belize
- Atlantic Bank Ltd. Belize, City Belize
- Museo de la Culturas, Mexico City, Mexico
- Fondo del Sol Visual Arts Centre, Washington D.C, USA
- Townhall, Dangriga, Belize
- National Institute of Culture and History, Belize City, Belize
- Museum der Stadt Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany
- Staatskanzlei, Mainz, Germany
- Embassy of Belize, Washington D.C., USA
- Embassy of Belize, Brussels, Belgium
- High Commission of Belize, London, Great Britain
Selection Pen’s major exhibitions
- 2022 “The Art of Pen Cayetano”, 20th Anniversary Museum of Belize, Belize City
- 2019 “Garifuna Intangible Heritage”, Casita Maria Cultural Centre for Arts & Education, New York City
- 2010 “Pen Cayetano: Master of Belizean Art”, Museum of Mayan Culture, Chetumal, Mexico
- 2001 “The Garifuna Journey“, Cecil Cyrus Squash Complex, Kingston, St. Vincent
- 1999 “Artist Pen Cayetano“, Belize High Commission, London, UK
- 1998 “Bilder aus Belize“, Staatskanzlei, Mainz, Germany
- 1997 African American Museum, New Orleans, USA
- 1989 Fondo del Sol, Washington D.C., USA
- 1987 Museo de las Culturas, Mexico City, Mexico (G)
Selection Ingrid’s major exhibitions
- 2023 Women in Art, Belisle Gallery, Bliss Center for the Performing Arts, Belize
- 2010 “Beyond the Border”, Museum of Mayan Culture, Chetumal, Mexico
- 2008 „Fäden verbinden Frauen“, Travelling Exhibition Europe
- 2006 „UBAGARI“Art, House of Culture, Belize City, Belize
- 2001 „Moderne Stickkunst“, Kultur im Kloster, Waldbreitbach, Germany
- 2000 „Technik und Textil“, Museum der Stadt, Ahrweiler, Germany
- 1998 „Nadel & Faden“, Stadthalle, Osnabrück, Germany
- 1994 Wanderausstellung Europ. Förderpreis Mod.Stickdesign
- 1993 „Karibik-Frauen“, Frauenmuseum, Bonn, Germany
- 1986 „Women & Arts “, National Gallery, Belize City, Belize
- 1982 „One-Way “- Multimedia Show, Moltkerei, Köln, Germany