To the present, 2018 has been a busy year. In January through February, had an exhibit “Guardians of the Arts: Prints of Guatemalan Artists and Artisans” at Flower City Arts Book Arts Center, here in Rochester, NY. It was a joy to collaborate with the staff of the Center. Their expertise in designing and hanging of forty prints and their professional handling of all aspects of my exhibit was impressive. (4. Photos taken at the opening) To put in more good words for Flower City Arts Book Arts Center –– it offers many opportunities for students to learn how to use different of kinds of printing presses, and knowledgeable teachers will instruct them.
To the present, I’ve given four lectures, two in Rochester, NY and two in Portland, OR. Also gave a short presentation at the annual WARP conference, this year in Decorah, IO. As part of my presentations, along with my powerpoint talk, I share my Mayan textiles collection with attendees.
In all my talks I stress how weaving and fiber arts fit holistically with other indigenous arts and crafts of Guatemala.
The Powerpoint section of my lecture follows the basic outline of my book, that is:
1. How crafts help sustain culture.
2. The changing aspects of arts and crafts and culture.
3. The unique role of weaving and crafts during the civil war of the 80s (la Violencia)
4. The ecological dimensions of arts and crafts.
5. A call to support Guatemalan artists and artisans: “To Treasure and Nurture”.
In January, when I signed up to speak to the Rochester Committee on Latin America and to show my Powerpoint, I knew those coming would also have special interest in the political and human rights situation there. In fact, although I follow my basic Powerpoint, each lecture I give is somewhat different according to the kind of people attending and the venue. As I prepare to do a new talk, different realizations about my material come to me which makes giving the process very enjoyable. Guatemala has such a rich culture that I often feel I have just touched the surface during the all the years I have studied it. After the ROCLA lecture, in late January. gave another in conjunction with my exhibit at Flower City Arts Center.
In April, presenting my two talks and Powerpoints to the Portland Hand Weavers Guild held the special advantage in that I was “home” in Portland, where I had grown up and I was speaking to people who would understand me in a different way than in other areas. A number of members who attended, had traveled to Guatemala, and had special knowledge about it. They also brought their own textile collections which added to the interest of the meetings.
Some other opportunities to give lectures may present themselves in 2018, but during the rest of the year, I will concentrate on the reprinting of the coloring book Artes y Artesanías Mayas de Guatemala, It was last printed in 2012 and no more copies are available. Now seventeen years since it first came out, my publisher, Ediciones Del Pensativo plans a new edition with a new introduction and suggestions for its use.
While in Guatemala in late 2016, I found continued support from my Maya educator colleagues for the use of the coloring book, which is utilized by teachers in bilingual Maya/Spanish schools and in other programs. It’s two fold purpose asserts the importance of Mayan languages while, at the same time, teaches about the cultural value of the arts and crafts of Guatemala.
It feels a privilege to be able to continue my Pro Arte Maya Project –– and thinking of all my efforts as a whole, it helps me to understand how the many strands of my life and work come together allowing me to do art with a social purpose.