The Legacy of Mesoamerican Astronomical Knowledge
Art Exhibit: July 22-28, The Galería, Panajachel, Lake AtitlánAstronomy, mythology, the calendar and the spirit world were all of extreme importance to the ancient Mesoamericans. Artist-scholar Dave Schaefer renders these themes in multiple sets of dimensions this month in Panajachel, Lake Atitlán. Some of his images are realized with acrylic on canvas; others are sculpted in exquisite papier-maché.
“In many pieces,” Schaefer notes, “I try to invoke the Classic tradition, where hieroglyphs and ‘distance numbers’ connect past and present in ways that demonstrate that this ancient practice is still functional and quite beautiful to behold.” His exhibit, 6 Sky, will open July 22 at The Galería in Panajachel and run to July 28. A slideshow presentation and discussion will take place on Saturday, July 25. The opening, exhibit and presentation all begin at 5 p.m.
In his seven years in Panajachel, Schaefer has worked as a teacher and guide. He recently chose an academic path, which may challenge certain pre-conceptions in Mesoamerican studies.
“One thing holding back our advancements in understanding,” he suggests, “is the idea that key dates recorded in ancient times using the Long Count calendar—several thousands of years into the past and including the 3113 B.C.E. ‘Creation’ event—are mere products of the Maya imagination. However, geological data and corroborative patterns in other ancient traditions suggest that these dates and the unexplained events they record are in fact not only accurate but invaluable.
“By exploring these topics through art, we have a chance to reconstruct vital knowledge that was forgotten long ago.”