of Belize is a series
of paintings by GrissyG &
Dismas about strange mythical
creatures believed to populate
the jungles and waters of Belize,
Central America. Read
Discover the fascinating and terrifying cryptids, paranormal and other legendary creatures believed to haunt Belize.
"Legends of Belize" is a series
of 14 paintings, 15 graphic art logos and 14brief descriptions, which interpret Belizean
mythological creatures and document ancient
beliefs that have taught, scared, and intrigued
people for many generations.
Known professionally as GrissyG and Dismas,
the couple was born in Corozal town, Belize,
Central America, but did not meet until 1999
in art class while earning their Associates
Degree at Los Angeles Mission College (LAMC)
in Sylmar, California.
In Painting 305 taught by Barbara Kerwin, studio
arts chairwoman at LAMC, GrissyG and Dismas
created the series titled "Legends of
Developing "Legends of Belize," information
was compiled from childhood tales, interviews
with native Belizeans, books and internet research.
The series also includes visual clues and iconography
that represent Belizean culture.
GrissyG interprets five female mythical seductresses
of Belize. They are "Xtabai", "SeaReyna",
"Sisimita", "Llorona" and
"Sucia". It is believed that the
Xtabai is a spirit who can take on many forms.
Xtabai usually appears as a beautiful woman
then seduces men to follow her into the jungles
of Belize where she leads them to their doom.
GrissyG builds sculptural paintings
of each myth on 2’x 4’ wood panels,
utilizing a wide range of mediums such as metallic
paints, gel mediums, wire, sculpey, aluminum
foil, and other materials. Most textural relief
in the paintings are executed from a technique
developed by GrissyG after taking a cake decorating class.
Incorporating her cake decorating skills
in combination with different gel mediums and
metallic paints GrissyG creates 3-D nightmares of
mysterious mythic females.
Dismas interprets five male mythical
creatures of Belize as large 4’x 6’
drop cloth canvas tapestries. They are "Tata
Duende", "Negro de Agua", "Sisimito",
"Tabai" and "Cadejo." According
to legend, "Tata Duende" is a spirit
who protects the animals and jungles of Belize
appearing to people in the form of a gnome
with backwards feet and a large red hat. "Tata
Duende" is known to play nice and dangerous
tricks on people.
Dismas utilizes a generous pallet of
colors with metallic and glow in the dark paints
in a soak and stained technique to communicate
the mysterious eerie undertone told in stories
of the mythological creatures.
Artists of the 21st century, GrissyG
and Dismas document and share their interpretation
of Belizean myths to the world for future generations
Legends of Belize Art
Click over the Characters to see the Art and learn a little about each one.
All 14 characters can be found in the Legends of Belize books and ebooks :
GrisDismation's trailer for the animated character of Tata Duende
Beware of the mythical jungle man called Tata Duende
Article by Dismas & GrissyG
A sudden whirlwind of leaves and twigs followed by an eerie whistle sends a chill down your spine. An ugly little man wearing a big red hat tugs at your shirt. He politely asks you to show him your hands. You look down and notice he has backwards feet.
Never show the little man your hands…
This is the warning from our grandparents and elders. Beware the mythic spirit called Tata Duende who dwells in the jungles. Descriptions about the hideous spirit frightened us to not go into the jungles or play outdoors late at night. The warnings taught us what to do when and if we ever came in contact with the evil spirit, but most importantly, we learned how to avoid dangerous encounters.
A little bearded man with no thumbs, a big red hat and backwards feet are what some would describe as Tata Duende. Legend has it that no one can ever be sure if the spirit is coming or going because Tata Duende has backwards feet to confuse anyone who dares to follow it. Although, Tata Duende mostly appears in the form of a little man it is also known to deceive people by changing into small animals or even someone familiar, like a family member or a friend.
How do you know if you are in the presence of Tata Duende? Some say you just know, for one can feel it’s supernatural presence. Some also say that the spirit has strange powers and will appear following an eerie whistle. If the whistle sounds nearby then you are safe for the spirit is far away but if the whistle sounds as if it is far away then beware for Tata Duende is nearby. We were always reminded that if we ever encountered the little man to never show it your hands. It is said that Tata Duende lacks thumbs of his own and will request to see your hands. Don’t show the little man your hands because it will steal your thumbs. That’s right, Tata Duende is known to rip thumbs off.
Our grandparents and elders always took precautions and reminded us of how to avoid encounters with the mythic spirit. They would tell us that Tata Duende loves to eat and therefore a small offering of fruits, tamales or even bread would put the spirit in a good mood and it might even consider granting a wish. It is also said that Tata Duende protects the animals of the jungle and if anyone ever causes harm to the animals, then a frightful encounter may be imminent. The best way to avoid an encounter with the spirit is to not harm the animals and jungles.
Many stories and warnings about strange mythical creature that dwell in the jungles and waters of Belize have been told for many generations. Some stories of horrifying encounters filled our memories with creepy descriptions of Tata Duende and many other spine-chilling creatures. The warnings are not to be taken lightly and all the stories have one main underlying message, and that is to respect the animals and jungles. To this very day some say there have been actual encounters and sightings, but none of these mythic creatures have been proven or unproven to exist.
Authors: Dismas & GrissyG Lizárraga,
Dismas and GrissyG are Artists and Animators born in Belize, now residing in California. Together they document and share their interpretation of the Belizean myths through a series of paintings titled Legends of Belize. To learn more about the fascinating and eerie myths of our culture we invite you to visit our website: http://www.grisdismation.com/
or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org