Amy Kaslow Gallery Presents Ancestral Colors

By Editorial Team on May 10, 2021
Dance of Chichi, Juana Calel, Patanatic Community, 46.5” x 24.5”.
Currently on view through June 15, 2021.

Direct from the steep Highlands of Guatemala, we present Ancestral Colors: exquisite indigenous rugs and embroidery cloths created by 18 master Maya artists. Opening with a special Mother’s Day celebration, the exhibition runs now through June 15th, 2021.

Each work is an indigenous woman’s mix of her own ancestral heritage with contemporary society as she seesaws between striving for social change and upholding cherished tradition. Each textile tells a story of triumph and endurance, even sustainability. The artists are members of Multicolores, a collective of highly cultivated weavers and embroiderers, who share techniques and supplies as they pool their efforts and profits. They are standouts in a region of deep poverty and harsh violence, where indigenous women face barriers to education and work, where girls often become mothers before they learn to care for themselves.

“These rugs signify our culture, but also our efforts—how we have worked hard to get ahead,” says exhibiting artist Ramona Cristina Tumax Tzunún. “The rugs are part of us: part of our struggle to be valued, respected and recognized.” Indeed, the artists’ innovation on age-old beliefs and practices also portends social change, because as they tap their talent and highlight their heritage, they elevate their self-worth and their importance in the community. Most become their family’s top income earner: they can afford uniforms to send their children to school, to fund fresh water pumps for the village, to add more nutrition to their diets.

The fine art collection of 27 contemporary floor and wall pieces draws on centuries of Maya women weaving cultural identity and pride into their own huipiles (blouses) and other traditional Mayan clothing. Each geometric design and coloration comes from one of the Kiche, Kaqchiquel and Tzutujil communities that climb the country’s rugged, volcanic mountainside. Mother Earth centers their Maya worldview, one rich with legends and folktales, and the artists give layers of life to these indigenous symbols. Vivid and precise, each of their creations plays on sophisticated mastery of color. Their innovative medium, recycled fabrics, builds on stewardship of the land.

“Pride is what I want to celebrate in this artwork,” says exhibiting artist Hilda Raquel García Tzunún. “I hope this piece conveys joy, brilliance, and hope – these are the emotions I feel when I think of my own Maya identity.”

Multicolores artists created this heritage collection for Amy Kaslow Gallery and we are proud to curate it for collectors drawn to art with impact. The Maya artists’ works have been exhibited in Central America, the US and Canada. Prized at Santa Fe’s International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, they have made their way into the finest private collections in the hemisphere.

Ancestral Colors runs through June 15th at Amy Kaslow Gallery. View the exhibition in person or online at www.amykaslowgallery.com.

Amy Kaslow Gallery is located at 4300 Fordham Rd, NW.