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The Benque House of Culture holds Sawdust Tapestries Exhibition on Good Friday

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Posted: Saturday, April 3, 2021. 12:55 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Despite rain and strong winds, the Benque House of Culture managed to hold the planned Sawdust Tapestries Exhibition on Good Friday.

Holy Week is a big tradition in Benque Viejo del Carmen with Masses, processions and the reenactment of Jesus’ death on the Cross on Good Friday. Additionally, during the Good Friday Stations of the Cross procession people have developed the tradition of doing colourful sawdust carpets on the streets where the procession passes.

The Stations of the Cross were done in the late evening in the area around Mount Carmel Church but with limited number of people observing the COVID-19 guidelines. In the very early morning, the assigned groups started working on the elaboration of the sawdust carpets.

According to Nalleli Yacab, Benque House of Culture (HOC)/NICH coordinator, since the traditional events couldn’t be held, they came up with the idea of having a sawdust tapestries exhibition only.

“Since we didn’t have any event last year, this time around we decided to do the Sawdust Tapestries Exhibition as a tribute to life through art, through sawdust, in the form of carpets as are done on the streets for Good Friday,” Yacab said.

Groups of Benqueños mixed sawdust with 12 different colour dyes. Yacab said Mayor Jorge Rosales assisted them in getting material which includes the sawdust from the Wood Stop in Belmopan, vinegar, alcohol, salt, and gloves. Mayor Rosales was also instrumental in getting the permission to have the event and ensuring that they had police patrols in the area during the exhibition.

Yacab also said that they had the unconditional support from the National Institute of Culture and History, which the Benque House of Culture is a part of.

Yacab says that due to the COVID-19 restrictions only 12 groups were allowed to make their carpets at the Centennial Memorial Park and on the steps of Mount Carmel Church in shifts starting at 5:30 a.m. The groups had up to two hours to work on their exhibits.

But the weather affected their work. “First, it rained a lot and then strong winds,” Yacab said. “But we’re managing, thanks to God.”

The groups were only allowed up to ten people to work on their carpets.

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