Winter 2010 Issue Thirteen

Guatemala is a place that attracts people. The beauty of the country, the warmth of the Maya people, and their great need impel people to stick around. Many people passing through get involved in projects and end up staying. The experience profoundly changes the course of their lives, and the lives of others in the process. The story of Nancy, who founded Semillas de Amor (see below) is not un-typical. She traveled to Guatemala to volunteer in a Catholic orphanage for a short time, ended up staying for 17 years, and founded a home for orphaned children.

In doing this newsletter I have become aware of how many different small projects people from the United States, Australia, Canada, and Europe have started to help the Maya people. Hopefully this newsletter can feature the work of each of these projects. Please let me know of any others to include in a future issue of this newsletter. The work of these small individually managed projects reaches the people whereas international aid often does not.

Salud and happy holidays,

Joseph Johnston

  The current and back issues of the Arte Maya Tz'utuhil Newsletter are now available on the Arte Maya Tz'utuhil website. Each newsletter will be added as it comes out.
  In this issue:

Arte Maya 2010 Calendar
25% Off Paintings by Selected Artists
Fran Antmann Photographs
Casa Rosario: Scholarship Program
Hotels in San Pedro
New Emilio Gonzalez Paintings
Semillas de Amor
Amidi: Women who Farm and Weave
  2011 Arte Maya Calendar

"Lavando Ropa" [Washing clothes] by Juan Fermin Gonzalez Morales on the front cover and represents one of twelve different artists in the 2011 Arte Maya Calendar. Juan Fermin Gonzalez was the artist who originated the birds-eye-view style of painting. The galleries in Santiago Atitlan are filled with mass produced paintings by other artists in his style. Juan Fermin, however, is the only artist who paints original themes in this style that represent aspects of the daily life of the Maya.

  Sale: 25% off Paintings by:

Vicenta Puzul de Gonzalez

Vicenta Puzul was the first Tz'utuhil Maya woman painter. She is wife of Mariano Gonzalez Chavajay.



Jose Antonio Gonzalez Escobar

Jose Antonio Gonzalez is the son of the first Tz'utuhil Maya painter. He was the third Tz'utuhil man to take up painting. Only his father and Juan Sisay preceded him.



Antonio Vasquez Yojcom

Antonio Vasquez Yojcom has been painting for nearly twenty years. He lives in San Juan la Laguna.



Domingo Garcia Criado

Domingo Garcia's paintings clearly depict the traje (traditional dress) of San Pedro la Laguna, the town where he lives.


  Fran Antmann Photos

Photo journalist Fran Antmann has been spending time with a number of families in San Pedro where she has visited for the past five years. Gradually earning their trust, Fran has been able to make some very personal and moving photographs. Her website has photos she has taken in San Pedro la Laguna and Chichicastenango as well as other parts of the world. Fran has photographed one of the San Pedro Maya bonesetters, a topic which is discussed by Benjamin D. Paul in his article Maya Bonesetter as Sacred Specialist. Fran's photos of Guatemala can be accessed from her site by clicking on the Portfolio link.

  Casa Rosario Spanish School
  Virma scholarship fund

In mid-October the school year ended in Guatemala; the students are out until mid-January. Many Maya children drop out of school because their families cannot afford minimal tuition and supplies. The Virma program at Casa Rosario is helping thirty children finish high school. Donations of $100 to $200 per year will pay for one child to go to school for a year. 100% of donations to the Virma program go to help the child (Casa Rosario and Arte Maya pay for all operating expenses).

  Hotels in San Pedro la Laguna

The Casa Rosario website has added a new section featuring the hotels of San Pedro. We feature about half the hotels in San Pedro with detailed information, photographs, and prices. On my next trip to Guatemala, I hope to add material for the rest of the hotels.

  New paintings by Emilio Gonzalez Morales

Several new paintings by Emilio Gonzalez arrived via a friend who visited San Pedro la Laguna this summer. Emilio's paintings have taken a new direction.

  Semillas de Amor: a home for at risk children

When the adoption laws in Guatemala changed making foreign adoptions  next to impossible, it left most orphans at risk in poorly run institutions or on the streets to fend for themselves. Semillas de Amor (Seeds of Love) provides a home and education for some of them. Semillas de Amor was founded by Nancy, a woman from the United States. Read the story of how Nancy founded the orphanage after rescuing an abandoned new-born girl who everyone thought would die.  Arte Maya recently donated three paintings for an auction to benefit the school.

  AMIDI: Mayan women who farm and weave

AMIDI (Association of Indigenous Women for Holistic Development) is  a weaving collective that Ana Maria Chali Calan founded.  She lives in  Pachay las Lomas, a small Maya village in the department of Chimaltenango, Guatemala. The photo at right is of Nemecia Atz, one of the most experienced weavers and a founding member of the cooperative. If the link above does not work, sign on to Facebook and search for "AMIDI: Mayan women who farm and weave."