70 plus 30 Years of Mayan Culture
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 two masters well known and loved in La Antigua Guatemala.
Because of their appreciation of Mayan culture, photographer Jeffrey Jay Foxx and the family of collector Hank duFlon (who died in 2007) have dedicated this show to Indigo Artes, the first school for textile and popular arts training in Guatemala. As Indigo Artes is a non-profit organization funded by donations by private individuals, we gratefully acknowledge their generosity. The school is deeply committed to preserving and enhancing indigenous arts and crafts, and to training indigenous artisans in improving their skills and knowledge. The Guatemala government and foundations from the United States, Taiwan and Norway are working with Indigo Artes in a range of development projects.
As artists and ethnologists, Foxx and duFlon were great friends, both loving the beauty of Mayan culture, and exploring, documenting and collecting all over the highlands. In this show, you will see people and artistry that you could never find on your own. With special events like this, and great tours and classes for visitors and artists, Indigo Artes is a meeting place for cultures to connect and artistic creativity to ignite.
Foxx is internationally renowned for his beautiful ethnographic work, photographing indigenous subjects with respect, dignity and sometimes humor. Foxx says, “Photography of the Maya has been the foremost accomplishment of my career.” And when you see his work, you will understand why. I think that no one catches the intimate moment, the personality, like Foxx does. And it is particularly fascinating to see the breadth of Mayan culture extend as it does from Guatemala through southern Mexico. Some of the images in the show are published in his books, the award-winning Living Maya, The Maya Textile Tradition, and Angela Weaves a Dream. A complete presentation of Foxx’s impressive biography and archives is available at www.foxxarchive.com.
DuFlon first came to Guatemala in the 1940s, and these selections from his textile collection include never-before-viewed pieces of museum quality, hand-worked in silk, cotton and wool. A graduate of Princeton and business executive, he became a leading textile expert and would travel with his wife Bobbie from village to village, investigating the details of traditional village styles color by color, weave by weave. Documenting each community’s dress over the years, he created a textile collection of legendary depth and loved sharing it with his many friends.
Indigo Artes Textiles y Populares is located inside the Cultural Center la Azotea, 5 minutes from La Antigua’s Parque Central via the Azotea shuttle.
Please see DateBook for additional information about this show.
About Indigo Artes Textiles y Populares: For information about classes, tours, special events and the scholarship fund, visit www.indigoartestextiles.com. Generous private donors have enabled over 120 students to gain the abilities to earn the income that will support and educate their families, while honoring the historic and priceless Mayan culture.
About the author: J. Claire Odland, director, Indigo Artes Textiles y Populares, and Associate, Anthropology, the Field Museum, Chicago, author of Fashioning Tradition: Mayan Huipiles in the Field Museum Collection and co-author of Unwrapping the Textile Traditions of Madagascar.
Photographs by Jeffrey Jay Foxx and
Textiles from the Hank duFlon Collection