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LORENZO CRUZ SUNU

Lorenzo Cruz Sunu was born in 1981 in the Mayan village of San Pedro. He grew up one of eight children of a poor farming family speaking the native Mayan Tz'utujil dialect of the area and later learning Spanish as his second language. He was interested in art from a very early age but was not able to pursue this dream because of his family's difficult financial situation and dropped out of school to work on farms to help support his family at the age of thirteen. Nevertheless, he was determined to follow his dream and in 1998 had saved enough to attend the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plasticas (National School of Plastic Arts), an institution of higher education for applied fine arts, painting, sculpture and graphic arts in Guatemala City. He was only able to complete three years of the five year program again because of his family's financial situation and returned to his home town to help his father work  on the farm. This did not discourage him from continuing to pursue his passion for painting, and with the support and encouragement of his father, he continued to practice and develop his skills as a painter. 

By 2004, he was enjoying some modest success selling his paintings to galleries in Santiago Atitlan and started to exhibit in galleries in Guatemala city and La Antigua, Guatemala. Encouraged by this he decided to fully apply himself to painting as a profession and to develop his skills and techniques. Since then, he has developed a unique style of depicting the "espaldas" (backs) of the women of different villages of Guatemala showing the "huipiles" (intricately embroidered blouses) they wear, each town having its own particular patterns and colors. He accurately depicts the huipiles of over 20 villages.   

His style of painting employs a technique of applying extremely thick layers of paint to create a deep texture that gives the impression of a three dimensional woven cloth rather than a two dimensional painting. He chose women and their traditional way of life as his subject matter because he wanted to honor them as holders of the Mayan culture and for the central part they play in maintaining the family. His paintings have been exhibited in the US, Canada, and Honduras and he has works in a gallery in Israel and is beginning to gain international recognition for his unique style and the superb execution of his artistry. He continues to live in San Pedro La Laguna in a modest home with his wife and son. 

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The GuateMaya Art and Culture Connection
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