|"TWO GUATEMALAN FOLK PAINTERS
"Of the nearly 40 Tz'utuhil Mayan painters of San Pedro la
Laguna in the highlands of Guatemala, Lorenzo Gonzalez Chavajay is
notable for his naive style. After retiring at age 55 from his job
as Municipal treasurer in San Pedro, with no previous art training
he took up drawing to occupy his time, and was soon persuaded by a
friend to work in oils. He patiently depicts the Guatemalan
Indians in frontal poses, drawing them first on paper and then
tracing the outlines on canvas. His paintings are pure color and
light, much like Guatemalan textiles.
"Equally unique is the self-taught style of the young
painter, Victor Vasquez Temo. Victor had always wanted to paint
but his family was too poor to provide materials. He finished six
grades of school and at age fourteen began drawing with pen and
pencil; when his father died he could not go further because of
his obligation to take over as head of the family. In 1992, Joseph
Johnston, guest curator for this exhibition, and Vicente Cumes, a
San Pedro wood carver, saw Victor's rough drawings, provided him
with painting materials and showed him how to stretch a canvas.
Victor felt unsure of himself but was persuaded to develop on his
own without the aid of a teacher. His exuberance spills over into
his paintings, which are crammed with lively people and luxuriant
plants. He is the only Tz'utuhil artist to let the modern world
intrude upon the traditional through the trucks and buses which
appear naturally in his paintings.
"Accompanying this colorful exhibition...will be examples of Guatemalan costume. Margot Blum
Schevill, author of Maya Textiles of Guatemala, has
organized this part of the exhibition."