Juan Matalbatz a.k.a. Aj Pop’o Batz

written by Bob Makransky The only instance, in the entire Spanish conquest of the Americas, when the local chieftain was permitted to retain the power of government. By the year 1543, after several unsuccessful military expeditions against the warlike Q’eqchi’ Indians, the Spanish conquerors were desperate. At the same time, it had become evident to the chieftain of chieftains of […]

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The Art of the Gourd

The women show their latest creations (the author is in the front on the right)

Mayan Hands is a small, fair-trade organization that has been working with Mayan artists since 1989. It works with approximately 200 weavers, organized in groups of 12 to 50 women in 11 western and northern Guatemalan highland communities. Its mission is to assist these women by providing the skills and markets necessary to earn a regular income, enabling them to provide for their families and gain control over their lives.

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Who was St. James?

Santiago monument (photo: César Tián/Revue)

La Antigua Guatemala was founded as Santiago de Guatemala (St. James of Guatemala). Located previously at the Kaqchikel site of Iximché in 1524 and then next door to Ciudad Vieja (San Miguel Escobar) in 1527, the first city council met in this valley on March 10, 1543. Since St. James is the patron saint of Spain and was the patron […]

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Protecting the Past for the Future

Dr. Hansen with mask on excavated structure

Threatened by years of abuse and neglect, the Mirador Basin needs help and it needs it now. The 400-year sliver of history between the biblical Old and New Testaments, sometimes erroneously called the ‘silent years’, packed Planet Earth with progress. Alexander the Great studied at the feet of Aristotle and, zealous to unite the world under Greek culture, conquered his […]

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What is the municipality building at the east entrance to La Antigua?

Training Center in Antigua Guatemala

After much anticipation, the Antigua municipality is building a training center (Centro de Capacitación Municipal) at the entrance to the city—near Santa Inés. The center’s focus on weekdays will be on arts and skills for 9th graders, the diversity of classes include everything from baking to mechanical engineering. On weekends the facility will be open to university extension programs. As […]

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Art Exhibit in Quetzaltenango

Art Exhibit in Quetzaltenango

Twenty-one paintings are featured in the exhibition, Miniaturas por Harry Thomas Danvers, with the inauguration on May 14 at 7pm. Danvers began his artistic career in the early 70s, studying drawing at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas in Guatemala City. He explains about his current show, “The idea with the miniature paintings is to make something small seem large, […]

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What is the procession on April 25?

Trying to keep up with La Antigua’s processions can be a job in itself. Some are celebrated every year … but then there is the occasional “anniversary” procession that may seem to come out of the blue! One procession we can count on is Santo Hermano Pedro Day on Sunday, April 25. Hermano Pedro is buried at San Francisco Church […]

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70 plus 30 Years of Mayan Culture

Photographs by Jeffrey Jay Foxx

written by J. Claire Odland Curating a double show like this is a double joy: Here are glimpses of two great, archival collections on view through April in the Gallery at Indigo Artes. This show, 70 plus 30 Years of Mayan Culture, represents selections from 70 years of Mayan textiles and 30 years of Mayan photographs from the hands of […]

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Nuestros Ángeles

Rae Frese Leeth; Una norteamericana con corazón chapín por Guillermo Monsanto photos by Ange Bourda Al escribir una nota sobre Rae Leeth se hace difícil separar lo emotivo de lo profesional. Por un lado cuenta el desfile de amigos que conforman el rico universo que la rodea y por el otro el enjambre de artistas que tiene o ha tenido […]

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Whack, Thunk and Oof!

A re-enactment of the ancient Mayan ball game of pok-ta-pok text and photos by Michael Sherer Chocoguatemaya (www.chocoguate-maya.org), in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Sports, arranged for a re-enactment of the ancient Maya ball game of pok-ta-pok, in connection with its mission of preserving the Mayan chocolate culture. Corinne Willock, founder, and José Caal, the vice president, were […]

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Coyol Bouquets

Coyol leaves have been part of the Palm Sunday tradition since 1547

Coconut palm…royal palm… date palm…coyol palm…uh, coyol palm? WordWeb Online calls it a tropical American palm with edible nuts and yielding useful fiber. In some countries of Central America, especially Costa Rica and Honduras, it is known for the sweet liquid that flows inside its trunk and is extracted to drink as a 100 per cent natural liquor. Be careful, […]

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How is Valentine’s Day celebrated in Guatemala?

Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) is celebrated by many people throughout the world. In English-speaking countries, it is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other with Valentine’s Day cards (winged cupids are among the favorites), flowers and special dinners. Commercial valentines were introduced in the 1800s. The history of St. Valentine—its patron saint—is shrouded in mystery. Valentine’s […]

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Guatemala Holiday Calendar

All year he hides under the bed or in the junk piled up in the corner, casting misfortune or worse on helpless mortals. But on Monday, Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. sharp, the devil gets his comeuppance, as he is tossed out of the house along with the trash and set ablaze in the Quema del Diablo (Burning the Devil), a tradition in many Guatemalan towns that literally sparks the beginning of the Christmas season. —Juan Carlos Ordóñez

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Linking the Past with the Present

text & photos by Kathy Rousso Ornate textiles often reveal historical records and can be a visual language, but what about a common maguey net bag? In one remote Guatemalan village this utilitarian object can tell us something about the people who make them. In most of the country net bags or morrales are made using various looping techniques. This […]

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Growing the Industry

photos by Laura McNamara A Guatemalan film crew shares a universal story to highlight their country’s unique virtues in filmmaking. This is a movie crew with a vision: Cru Código wants to train the spotlight on Guatemala, demonstrating to the international community that the “Country of Contrasts” is both a desirable and capable location for high-quality, professional filmmaking. “We are […]

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Quick Sketch: Seven Questions for Orestes

The artist with some of his recent creations

Briefly describe your art. My art is to represent everything as much as I can in high texture. What is your favorite art medium? Clay. Then once I fire it, it becomes ceramic. When did you learn how to work with clay and ceramic? I was going to take a class in English literature, but the class was canceled. Then […]

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Cobán’s Rabin Ajau Pageant, Guatemala

text and photos by Gary Kaney Women from more than 90 communities competed last month in the single-most impressive festival of indigenous tradition in Guatemala: the Folkloric Festival of the Rabin Ajau in Cobán and the election of the Princess Tesulutlán. Contestants wore their colorful native finest, including the colorful hüipil, head dress and jewelry unique to their village—but it […]

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Blue and White

Free into the wind —Rudy Girón

Free into the wind, your beautiful flag marks a happy month of national celebration just as Guatemala’s national anthem proclaims. Blue and White are the colors of the flag, with fresh flags and blue-and-white bunting on display all over “Guatemala Feliz,” happy Guatemala, as we near mid-month and Independence Day.  The new flags are indeed a beautifully clear blue and clean white, as are the […]

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Crafting Clay in Tutuapa, Guatemala

text and photos by Kathy Rousso Food tastes better when it is cooked in a clay pot, everyone agrees. While today enamel and aluminum cookware is found in most kitchens, many cooks still have a clay pot or two for their special dish. Before synthetic materials were available, clay pots, in many shapes and sizes, were the only option. Pottery […]

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Ursula Baumann

Art Exhibit and Auction, Thurs., May 14, 7 pm. Theatre El Chapiteau, Panajachel, Lake Atitlán A host of Guatemalans, including four-footed ones, are glad that Ursula Baumann changed continents and careers in 1998. She had been an able but often bored hotel manager in her native Switzerland. For decades she dreamt of making her avocation, painting, into a career. After […]

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