These unique paintings depict images and scenes that are an integral part of village life and Mayan culture and history around Lake Atitlan. Some of the most prevalent themes are planting and harvesting of coffee and corn, the outdoor market place, typical foods, nature and the environment, traditional ceremonies, Mayan “Cosmovision”, and the impact of colonization and globalization on their world. These are all themes the artists feel are important to help increase understanding and appreciation both at home and abroad of their culture and the challenges they face to maintain the integrity of their culture and way of life. 

The artists we work with are from the villages of San Pedro La Laguna and San Juan La Laguna. Many are known for their distinctive style, sometimes known as “art naif” which originated in San Pedro in the late 1920s. The new generation of artists are exploring other styles and themes, particularly their Mayan roots and the impact of colonization and globalization on their culture. Some of the artists’ works have been exhibited in places such as the Smithsonian in Washington and galleries and shows internationally. 

This collection features both better and lesser known artists who paint not so much for individual recognition, but more to celebrate their culture and way of life. They often learn their skills and styles from other artists and family members much in the same way as the textile artists of their communities who have woven their history and culture into their fabrics for centuries.


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