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Andrea Aragón, from the Home series

Andrea Aragón, from the Home series (2009), digital photo print [The Reach Gallery Museum, Abbotsford BC, Jan 22-Apr 26] Collection of the artist

Ancestry and Artistry: Maya Textiles from Guatemala

The Reach Gallery Museum
Abbotsford BC – Jan 22-Apr 26, 2015

The Spanish word traje translates to English as suit or dress. In Guatemala, traje refers specifically to the traditional dress of the Maya, both as a garment and as a signifier of everything from one’s ancestral lineage to one’s community.

But cultures, no matter how long established, are not static. This might explain why the curator Roxanne Shaughnessy has woven into her exhibition the work of contemporary Guatemalan artists Andrea Aragón and Verónica Riedel and American photojournalist Jean-Marie Simon: her aim is to highlight the effect of globalization on the traje today.

In Aragón’s photographs, we can see evidence of a Guatemalan housing boom funded by the thousands of Guatemalans who have left the country to work in the United States. For Riedel, the focus is mestizas, “women who are of mixed white and Maya blood.” And for Simon, author of the 1998 book Guatemala: Eternal Spring, Eternal Tyranny, the focus is civil war.


Michael Turner

 Sun, Feb 8, 2015