Artist Profile: Carlotta Boettcher

URBAN PORTRAITS “San Francisco 70s: Urban Portraits” will open on Feb. 11 at 5 p.m. at Galería Panza Verde, 5a avenida sur #19, Antigua. The artist will attend the opening. Carlotta Boettcher’s book of the same title, featuring 103 digitally repaired images, will be available in Antigua in the early spring. Carlotta Boettcher’s photo exhibition, “San Francisco 70s: Urban Portraits,” […]

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Guatemalans Helping Guatemalans

by Elizabeth Bell. Juan Pablo Romero is one of the 10 CNN Heroes who were selected from 150,000 candidates nominated worldwide. He started Los Patojos (The Kids) in his household garage in Jocotenango with three kids and is now a globally recognized hero! Los Patojos was created to promote hope, dignity, trust and a dialog for Jocotenango’s youth. As Juan […]

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Guatemala’s Most Famous Nun

Sor Juana de Maldonado y Paz by Elizabeth Bell, author/historian Guatemala’s most famous nun is Sor Juana de Maldonado y Paz (1598-1668), who lived at the Convento of La Concepción (La Antigua Guatemala). Ironically, very little “real” information is known about her although there is quite a bit written about her. We find her mentioned in the English Dominican Friar Thomas […]

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La Chapetona — Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception

by Kerstin Sabene, photos by Kerstin Sabene and Mercedes Mejicanos. It was Sunday, Dec. 8 in La Antigua Guatemala, a magical day I would not soon forget. Friends and I had boarded a brightly colored chicken bus that was headed a few kilometers southwest along the Escuintla road to the neighboring town of Ciudad Vieja, literally Old City. I have […]

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Día de los Muertos: A Celebration of Life in Guatemala

text and photos by Kerstin Sabene. I wasn’t sure what to expect as we headed out to visit the cemetery in Sumpango on Día de los Muertos. Nov. 1 and 2 is a sacred time in Guatemala when families throughout the country gather at cemeteries to honor their loved ones. As I would soon discover, the ritual is as touching […]

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A Kaleidoscope of Color and Tradition

All Saints Day, Nov. 1.  text and photos by Kerstin Sabene. I returned to La Antigua Guatemala last October because I so enjoy living among the ancient ruins and architecture that give this city its stunning colonial atmosphere. I especially love the Guatemalan people and their many sacred traditions and was excited to experience for the first time the colorful […]

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Adopte un Kilómetro!

by Elizabeth Bell, author/historian. At the end of a year in the late 1990s La Antigua Guatemala was full of street trash and potholes, and many of us complained to the mayor. Victor Hugo del Pozo kindly advised that the city had no funds. We sent a “spy” over to the treasury to, indeed, find that the meager budget in those […]

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New U.S. Ambassador isn’t new to Guatemala

by Matt Bokor. A familiar face is returning to the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City. This time, Todd D. Robinson will carry the title of Ambassador. Robinson, a career diplomat with extensive experience in Latin America, served as deputy chief of mission in Guatemala City from 2009 to 2011. President Barack Obama nominated Robinson in June to succeed former Ambassador […]

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Murals in Homage to 13 Baktun

San Juan La Laguna    by Francisco Sandoval. The Tz’tujil town of San Juan La Laguna is located on the southwest bay of Lake Atitlán. It sits against the foothills of the Rostro Maya, a sacred mountain summit that is reminiscent of a Mayan face gazing skyward. Known for its authenticity and tranquility, now there is something else that sets […]

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Carlos Argüello

Visualizing a Digital Future for Latin America PROFILE by Linda Conard. Carlos Argüello—the Oscar-nominated mastermind behind unforgettable visual effects in Hollywood blockbusters like “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “Batman and Robin,” “The Devil’s Advocate,” “The Mummy” and “Armageddon,” and groundbreaking music videos for artists like Michael Jackson and David Byrne—has created never-imagined new worlds on the silver screen. Now he’s using […]

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The Flag(s) of Guatemala

  by Elizabeth Bell. Guatemala’s current flag has flown over the skies of Guatemala since Aug. 17, 1871, although independence from Spain was signed on Sept. 15, 1821. Colonial banners and flags were quite popular before independence and usually incorporated a red and yellow color combination similar to the Spanish flag. In 1822, the Mexican flag flew in Guatemala during […]

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Francisco Marroquín: Guatemala’s first bishop and linguist

by Elizabeth Bell, author/historian. Francisco Marroquín (1499-1563) was the first bishop of Guatemala and the country’s first linguist. Born near Santander, Spain, he studied philosophy and theology and was a professor at the University of Osma. He became a Dominican priest and was at the Spanish royal court where conqueror Pedro de Alvarado met him in 1528 and persuaded him to […]

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Ramón Ávila: Abstractions from Within

ARTIST PROFILE by Linda Conard  photos: Murphy Byrne. When you step into an exhibit of Ramón Ávila’s paintings, you are surrounded by color, emotion and intensity. Many of his oils suggest organic elements, such as earthy roots, plant fibers and even internal organs, in forms that are progressive and reaching, complex and tangled. In other works, distinct lines and robust […]

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Bodacious Buses!

text/photos by Capt. Thor Janson Several years ago a well-known Guatemalan photographer was leafing through one of my books and commented on the many images. Rolando especially liked my photos of the quetzal and the orchids, but when he came to the section that featured ramshackle, rural buses, he asked, “Why would you fill your book with beautiful images of Guatemala […]

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Maya Princesses

Rabin Ajau: The paramount indigenous cultural event of the Mayan world text/photos by Capt. Thor Janson — navigator / explorer (facebook.com/nubliselva) — Candaleria Coquix grew up in the little settlement of Cantón Zapotál, part of the Municipality of San Lucas Tolimán in the Department of Sololá. Just a stone’s throw from a little bay on the southern shore of Lake Atitlán, Zapotal […]

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Fiesta Time in La Antigua!

La Antigua maintains its holiday in honor of St. James on July 25th, and the celebration begins now! by Elizabeth Bell. It’s fiesta time again in La Antigua Guatemala! July 25th is our patron saint’s day—St. James—as the city was founded as Santiago de Guatemala. St. James was an apostle, the conquerors’ patron saint and is Spain’s patron saint today. […]

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Shamanic Rituals and the Power of Belief

“Roads to Adventure” text and photos by Thor Janson (fb.com/nubliselva) The fabric of Mayan life is embedded with a vibrational tonality unique to its culture. Mayan America exists as a parallel reality alongside and surrounded by Latin America, it is a realm where magic and the supernatural thrive as a part of everyday life. Everywhere, just beneath the surface of […]

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The San José Cathedral

Guatemala Insight by Elizabeth Bell. Located across from the central park, it is one of the most spectacular colonial buildings in La Antigua Guatemala. The original cathedral, built in the 1540s, was severely damaged by earthquakes in 1583 and 1600 before being demolished in 1669. Captain Martin de Andújar was in charge of the new construction, but he was relieved […]

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Clowns “Invade” Local AIDS Orphanage

Community Service. text/photo by Benjamin Reeves. Doctor Hunter Dogherty “Patch” Adams in the house There are few phrases more depressing to hear than, “AIDS orphanage.” Yet the Hospicio de San José in Santa Lucía Milpas Altas is anything but a place of sadness, although it is the home for many acutely ill children and adults. The hospicio was established in […]

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Discovering Passion in Guatemala

  by Sri Ram Kaa and Kira Raa Passion! A word that evokes many differing images with diverse expressions of the experience. April is the month in Guatemala where passion ignites its richness with a cacophony of events, emotions and experiences that are here for you to discover. When we live from our passion we experience a richer life. It […]

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Lent and Semana Santa

Antigua recently surpassed Seville, Spain as having the largest Easter Week celebration in the world today! In 1524 the conquerors had barely set foot in Guatemala when they introduced their traditions for Lent and Semana Santa from Seville, Spain. These have evolved over the centuries and Antigua recently surpassed Seville as having the largest celebration in the world today! Carpet […]

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La Camioneta, The journey of one American school bus

by Shannon McCullough Anyone living in or visiting Guatemala knows that the majority of camionetas are converted U.S. school buses. While traveling through Guatemala as part of his Latin American studies, filmmaker Mark Kendall became intrigued with the transformation process after having a conversation with a camioneta driver. It was in that moment he became inspired to share the story […]

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Hugo González Ayala, Grandes Ideas y Pequeños Formatos

by Linda Conard As you approach the landscapes of Hugo González Ayala, you may feel enveloped by the streets of La Antigua Guatemala or the Highland countryside, but it is more of a gentle embrace than entrapment. Hard lines in street scenes curve inward yet remain in perfect perspective, so the viewer almost feels more balanced within the painting than […]

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Theft! The tragedy at El Calvario and the paintings of Tomás de Merlo

by Benjamin Reeves The white walls of El Calvario church in La Antigua are almost bare; virtually their only ornamentation is the skeletons of picture frames, appropriate, perhaps for the biblical Calvary but now only a stark reminder of the church’s former artistic glory. Unknown hoodlums absconded from El Calvario with six paintings by the 18th century colonial artist Tomás […]

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Antigua Over The Years

Since 1992, much effort has been dedicated to preserving Antigua with an eye toward finding a balance between preservation and economic development. It is sometimes difficult to remember how abandoned the city truly was. After the 1773 earthquake, most residents did not want to move to muddy empty lots in Guatemala City during the rainy season. It took a royal […]

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