Maya Textiles: The Stories They Tell
Maya Textiles: The Stories They Tell
Friends of the Ixchel Museum have just mounted an exhibit at the Esperanza Academy Charter School in Philadelphia, PA. The exhibit opened February 24th and will be up until May 15th, 2023.
The components adorn the hallways of the school’s beautiful Teatro, so theatre audiences will be able to see it. The main feature replicates a Guatemalan street market in Sololá. A longitudinal display section shows the students how the styles and fabrics of Guatemalan textiles have changed over time — and an adjacent display panel highlights the beautiful textiles of Nebaj. Over the course of the installation, Weaving for the Future co-op members will put on live demonstrations for the Esperanza community.
The exhibit was curated by FOIM Board members Chase Davis and Yolanda Alcorta, and coordinated by Jenny Juárez from our Weaving for the Future co-op. During the two-day installation, we had helpers from Esperanza’s art department in addition to our 2023 interns — Lia Marie De la Rosa [Esperanza ‘24], Kylei Irwin [Rowan University] and GG Seibert, Sophia Rodack, and Sara Davis [all Agnes Irwin School ‘25].
Esperanza Academy is pleased to host our FOIM exhibit and the teachers are excited to incorporate it into their curricula whether it be visual arts, history, math, or science.
Ruta Maya Traveling Exhibition
The Ruta Maya traveling exhibition “MAYA:The Great Jaguar Rises” is on at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri. The dates are May – October 25th, 2022 but please go to Ruta Maya and Union Station websites now for photos, videos, and tons of interesting information. FOIM participated by loaning a stunning deer dance costume owned by A.V. Zaugg (photo below).
Fiesta DC celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year during Hispanic Heritage Month. More important – for the first time ever, Guatemala has been selected as the Marca País – the honored country! Multiple events have been orchestrated in Washington DC by the FiestaDC Board and the Guatemalan Organizing Committee (which includes the Embassy and the local Consulate). For more details see www.FiestaDC.org.
Three September events will be held:
- September 17 & 18 at The Wharf – a two-day event aimed at businesses and commercial ventures. From 11am-7pm there will be exhibits and demonstrations. FOIM will have a tent at which two of our co-op weavers will be demonstrating backstrap loom weaving.
- September 24 & 25 is the Fiesta DC proper, with two large tents open from 11am-7pm. FOIM will again have live weavers demonstrating on Guatemalan backstrap looms, as well as a small display of trajes (indigenous dress) and a sale table for our publications. This event is free and open to the public.
- September 25th from 1-4pm there will also be a parade (desfile) of typical outfits from many Latin-American countries. Guatemala will lead off, with Consular staff modeling indumentaria Maya – village dress from a variety of towns. The route will be on Constitution Avenue, between 7th and 14th streets.
Children’s Textile Workshops
Co-developed by the KID Museum (Bethesda, MD) and the FOIM co-operative “Weaving for the Future”.
Five consecutive Sundays beginning September 18th and ending October 16th. Workshop sessions are from 10am-4pm and will be located at The KID Museum in Bethesda, a suburb just outside Washington, DC.
Live Guatemalan backstrap loom weaving demonstrations will be given – accompanied by participatory sessions each Sunday (e.g. dressing dolls in traje, weaving friendship bracelets, etc.). On October 2nd there is a special event with family activities to explore Mayan textiles.
See the KID Museum website for details on times, location, admission, etc.
Feria del Barrio
Sunday, September 11, 2022
Feria del Barrio has been a long-standing festival in the heart of the Philadelphian neighborhood. The 2022 Feria is scheduled for Sunday, September 11, 2022 from 12-6pm, on North Fifth Street between Huntingdon and Somerset Streets. Dancing, music, food, weavers and more! A Garífuna group will perform from 12:20 to 12:55 and marimba and dancing by Maya Awal from 2:00 to 2:45pm. FOIM will sponsor live weavers and set a publications table. For more information, click here.
Threads of Time & Wisdom: Chilean & Guatemalan Fiber Arts
Perhaps you wanted to see our Mayan Traje: A Tradition in Transition exhibit at WheatonArts last year. Well, a portion has been retained for additional months in conjunction with their upcoming exhibit on Mapuche weaving.
Threads of Time & Wisdom: Chilean & Guatemalan Fiber Arts will provide a visual comparison between traditional textiles of two indigenous communities of Latin America—the Chilean Mapuche people and the Guatemalan Maya. Both Mapuche and Mayan artists create artworks that speak about identity and cultural heritage in a modern inter-connected world, weaving ancestral knowledge and wisdom into present-day ways of life.
On view April 1–November 14, 2022
With opening celebrations the first April weekend
For more details, please go to the website location below.
Keep this exhibit in mind if you are visiting the area. And do forward this email to your Mid-Atlantic friends who might be interested!
Bonington Vitrines #18: Story Cloth
March 26 – May 21 2022
This small collection of artefacts, images, and narratives convey findings from recent field and online research into how Guatemalan artisans diversified their textile practices to sustain their communities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Also featured is the Museo Ixchel’s “Connecting with Your Roots” program mentioned in one of our past bulletings. Many useful details are covered in the weblink below.
Mayan Traje Exhibit
A portion of our Mayan Traje: a Tradition in Transition traveling exhibit was on view from Sept. 24 through Dec. 31, 2021 at the Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center in Millville, New Jersey. Their Down Jersey FolkLife programs speak to diverse audiences and include exhibitions, demonstrations by artists/tradition bearers, performances, festivals, classes, training for educators, lectures and seminars. Activities at the Center have ranged from Pinelands basketry and Native American drum-making to Japanese origami and Ukrainian pysanky; from African American doll-making to Palestinian embroidery and Guatemalan weaving.
Threads and Themes of “THE STORIES WE WEAR” – Saturday, September 25, 2021 10am PST
Showcasing 2,500 years of style and adornment through approximately 250 remarkable objects, the new exhibition “The Stories We Wear” at the Penn Museum revealed how clothing and accessories offer powerful expressions of identity—examining the purpose and meaning behind what we wear. In concert with the theme of the exhibition, this program use the diverse textile and clothing collections at the Museum to explore how what we wear tells a story about ourselves: our class, gender, religion, social roles, and status.
Approaching the collections from an archaeological perspective, Dr. Anne Tiballi, consultant for the exhibition, dug deep into several of the exhibitions’ “outfits,” making connections between the technological skill, creativity, and cultural significance of the peoples who made and wore them. Among the items she discussed included a Pre-Columbian Andean warp-patterned tunic, headband, and bag; a Qing Dynasty Chinese court costume; and Early 20th century coconut fiber armor from Kiribati, a Mongolian silk deel and boots, and a Hopi wedding dress.
September 17-October 15, 2021 – Haverford School in Haverford, PA
Haverford School hosted a FOIM-sponsored exhibit featuring pieces ranging from traditional huipiles that display the artistry of the Guatemalan weaving tradition to modern pieces created for daily wear or tourist sale. On display were over 20 huipiles, full outfits, papier mache dolls, fajas, flags, looms, and a wall of pantalones to share with the all boys’ school community. The exhibit also included a display of prints: most notably Barbara Goetz de Nottebohm’s paintings depicting the daily life of Guatemalan street vendors as well as works by Elma Pratt and Fredrick Crocker Jr.
On September 22, as a part of this exhibit, FOIM board member Yolanda Alcorta spent a day conducting multiple workshops with different groups of students who will view the textiles as artists, Spanish students, historians, mathematicians, and/or global studies scholars. Students and staff will also enjoy a visit from a weaver. FOIM provided materials for educators to utilize in various disciplines and a bin of hands-on books, textiles, and other items to share with students. Teachers also have an exhibit Scavenger Hunt (in Spanish and English). FOIM was pleased to engage the support of our high school student interns with the Haverford School exhibit.
For more information about Haverford School’s global studies programs, click here.
Wheaton Conversations: Weaving Life – Maya Fiber Arts – Thursday, September 16, 2021 6pm EDT
Anthropologist Barbara Knoke presented on the textile tradition in Guatemalan Maya lives, especially as a visual artistic expression of ethnic identity. She discussed the transformation and continuation of weaving traditions and their woven symbols.
Ana-Maria Zaugg introduced the talk within the context of the Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Textiles and the US-based Friends of the Ixchel Museum. Ms. Zaugg’s talk can be viewed here.
This event has been archived and is available to view on the WheatonArts YouTube channel (click here to view).
Exhibition: Trajé, Maya Textile Artistry – Opened Sunday August 29, 2021
LSU Textile & Costume Museum
This exhibition featured the Travis Doering Collection of textiles and related artifacts from 40 villages in the Guatemala highlands. Trajé, or traditional dress, has deep cultural significance to the Maya people. The tradition of weaving and use of symbolism has been passed from mothers to daughters for hundreds of years and supports the legacy of craftsmanship that defines the Guatemalan Maya culture. Traditional dress is primarily still worn by women and includes colorful backstrap loom-woven huipiles (blouses), cortes (skirts), cintas (headdresses), rebozzos (shawls), and fajas (belts), examples of which are mounted in the gallery for public viewing.
Additional public lectures will take place in the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters while the Trajé exhibition is open to the public. The museum is open during LSU business hours — Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. — and on the first Sunday of each month from 2 to 4 p.m.
Click here for more information.
Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning: Guatemalan Mayan Weaving
Saturday, August 21, 2021 – 11am EDT
The George Washington University Museum – The Textile Museum
Our own Raymond Senuk presented! Ray gave an introduction to Guatemalan weaving and culture focused on ceremonial textiles from San Pedro Sacatepéquez. San Pedro has a rich repertoire of textiles that were woven to venerate saints. Senuk will introduce examples from his collection and explore how these textiles reveal their age and use in the daily and ritual life of the community.
Ray has collected historic Mayan textiles for more than 40 years, focusing on textiles made before 1940. He has curated numerous exhibitions and authored articles and books, including Maya Textiles of Highland Guatemala (1982), Embroidery – Stitches That Unite Culture (2010) and the Ceremonial Huipil Map (2013). Senuk has donated over 1,500 pieces from his collections to museums and educational institutions across the United States, including The Textile Museum. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in anthropology from Brooklyn College and Yale University.
To listen to the talk, click here.
Maya: The Exhibition – was extended to November 9, 2020
Even if not textiles, this exhibit made its US debut at Cincinnati Museum Center – Cincinnati Museum Center – bringing the mysteries of the Maya to the United States for the first time. Maya: The Exhibition immersed guests in a sophisticated civilization buried in the heart of the rainforest. Guests unearthed a world of innovators and gods at CMC.
Maya: The Exhibition featured over 300 original objects that detail daily life, religion, politics and innovations of the Maya. The exhibit design featured the civilization’s iconic stepped pyramids and the vibrant colors of Maya artwork. Pristinely preserved clay and stucco figurines and elaborate jade and gold jewelry showcase their artistry. Hieroglyphs carved into massive stone slabs demonstrate their sophisticated writing and passion for history. Large stone carvings and massive stucco sculptures portray the large pantheon of Maya deities. And tools and everyday items reveal the foods, work and play that defined daily life. Interactive elements allow guests to get a more intimate look at certain objects and to even manipulate data from modern archaeological equipment that is allowing for greater discoveries. Click here for more information.
Museo Ixchel Wins 7th Place in the IberMuseos 2020 Education Competition
The Museo Ixchel’s program – Connect with Your Roots – was recently awarded a top prize among the over 200 entries. Click here to read all about it (in Spanish!) in the Prensa Libre.
Mayan Traje: A Tradition in Transition
July 21 – October 13, 2019 – Turner and Gilliland Galleries
Friends of the Ixchel Museum staged this significant textile exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles which was well attended and very well received. We showcased outstanding examples of Guatemalan clothing from the early 20th century to contemporary fashion – exclusively from our own textile collection.
KQED (Public Media for Northern California) published an article on their website about the exhibit. To read the article, click here.
500 Years | Life in Resistance
Produced in 2016, this is the third film in a trilogy about Guatemala. This installment explores the sweeping historical significance of the war crimes trial of General Ríos Montt and the toppling of corrupt president Otto Pérez Molina. Director Pamela Yates gracefully engages the indigenous Mayan population who experienced genocide at the hands of a long-standing repressive government. Silenced family members and eyewitnesses come forward to share their individual stories with the desire that their under reported, horrific treatment receive the attention it deserves.
Spoken in Spanish and native Mayan languages, 500 YEARS delicately weaves archival footage with new interviews and emotional courtroom scenes to shine light on a growing movement to fend off the systematic aggression toward an underrepresented people. Focusing on the recent events of a country that has suffered for generations at the hands of a ruling elite, the film hails the nation’s citizens banding together on a quest for justice—and emerging as a beacon of hope. Click here to see film trailer.
IXCANUL – Mayan Language film
‘Ixcanul’ (which translates roughly to ‘volcano’ in the Mayan dialect of Kaqchikel) is an arresting story about two strong indigenous women. The 2015 film is still being shown. Click on the IXCANUL title above for more information.