So I love beauty. Have a pretty keen aesthetic sense. A lot offends me, beauty excites me. I used to think everyone felt this, but I learned that the golden mean and such are not on everyone’s radar. Appreciating beauty made me a patron of the arts a couple summers ago when I was introduced to the Maya artist Nicolas Reanda. I was surprised and hooked by his feminist perspective and contemporary feel.
I applied for a received a scholarship to study the Kaqchikel Maya language in Antigua, Guatemala for six weeks. I’m painfully curious about the Maya. From the ancient civilization to the modern. I want to know how they understood the universe, developed the most accurate calendar, calculated astrological events millions of years into the past and the future, and how they built their civilizations in seemingly inhospitable environments.
Over the course of the summer I ended up making a couple Tz’utujil (tZOO-two-hill) maya friends. The Tz’utujil are known for fishing, running the boats, and farming the volcanic hillsides surrounding Lake Atitilan. One friend in Antigua took me to visit his family back in Santiago Atitlan where I met Reanda. Though his realistic portraits of weathered Maya faces added him to the Lourve, his contemporary work seems to challenge the notion of Latin machismo. To me his work elevates women and humankind’s connection the natural word. To me his work is refreshing and rejuvenating.