a product message image
{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade

Page 1

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

N

ON

LY

The Soil speaks

IO

The Soil Speaks

RS

La Tierra Habla

VE

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni introducing the Maya Tz'utujil worldview

EW

María Camila Montalvo

PR EV I

in collaboration with Clara Quiacaín, Antonio Pichilla, Domingo Yojcom and Benvenuto Chavajay

1


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

PR

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

2


RS

IO

N

ON

LY

The Soil Speaks

PR EV I

EW

VE

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni


EV IE W

PR

N

IO

RS

VE ON

LY


LY ON N IO RS

VE

The Soil Speaks - La Tierra Habla - ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni introducing the Maya Tz'utujil worldview

EW

This book was produced as part of the exhibition The Soil Speaks - La Tierra Habla - ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni held at The Hessel Museum of Art, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 2020

PR EV I

ISBN: 978-958-48-8551-7

Contributors: Clara Quiacaín, Antonio Pichillá, Domingo Yojcom, Benvenuto Chavajay, Pedro Chavajay Produced and Edited by María Camila Montalvo Copy Editor: Jaclyn Arndt Graphic Design: José Sanín Printed in Bogotá, Colombia by Litho Copias


EV IE W

PR

N

IO

RS

VE ON

LY


ON

LY

This book and the exhibition upon which it is based are the result of three years’ work including research conducted in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala. This project involved the time, willingness and generosity of a number of people, and the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.

N

My deep gratitude goes to Ann Butler, my advisor, whose critical gaze and supportive advice since the beginning of this endeavor have been pivotal for the project. Her readiness to listen to my concerns and her guidance are truly appreciated.

RS

IO

My participation at the Vienal del Lago in San Pedro, in the summer of 2019, was a turning point in this journey that allowed me to get to know a welcoming group of people who were the cornerstone of this research. This would not have been possible without Benvenuto Chavajay’s invitation for this event.

PR EV I

EW

VE

Special regards go to Clara Quiacaín, who heartwarmingly shared her life experience and expertise on textiles with me. I am also indebted to Domingo Yojcom, who shared with me vital materials and references that were important in the development of the research. Also, his invitation to the Center for Scientific and Cultural Research, the visit to the kumuk in San Pedro, and the recorded conversation were great opportunities to comprehend and approach the subjects of this investigation. I would also like to make a special mention of Pedro Chavajay, who helped me with the transcription of Clara’s speech in Tz’utujil language. Thanks to him, this publication reached the goal of being a trilingual one. And last but not least, many thanks go to Antonio Pichillá, who opened the doors of his studio to share his practice with me. He also provided texts to me generously, images, and his knowledge on textiles and Indigenous contemporary art. Furthermore, he coorganized the exhibition and traveled from Guatemala to New York to attend the opening and engage in diverse activities related to it. —María Camila Montalvo


EV IE W

PR

N

IO

RS

VE ON

LY


LY ON

N

San Pedro La Laguna: Introducing a Worldview San Pedro La Laguna: Una cosmovisión Tz’unun Ya’, ja qab’anikiil.

pg. 12-17

pg. 36-42

Space-time: Epistemological Relativism Tiempo-espacio: El relativismo epistemológico

pg. 44-47

“Art” Does Not Exist in the Tz’utujil Language El ‘arte’ no existe en su idioma Tz’utujil Ja art ma k’o ta pa rtzob’al ja Tz’utujil.

pg. 48-51

The “Chunchero”: Artist, Curator, or Healer? El Chunchero: ¿el artista, el curador o el sanador (curador)?

pg. 54-56

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

Notions of Pattern, of Color, of Beauty Noción de patrón, de color, de belleza Ja qotaqiin triij ja, Naq rnoon, ja coloriil, ja jab’eliil.

“Silence” ‘Silencio’ Ma qa na’ tziij

pg. 58-61

Healing the Colonial Wound Sanando la herida colonial

pg. 64-67

A Conclusion—It’s About a Worldview La conclusión: Es sobre una cosmovisión

pg. 82-88


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

El arte indígena guatemalteco, el arte maya, recoge el testimonio comunitario, la historia de la comunidad; encierra lo que los pueblos indígenas son, sienten y hacen; refleja nuestros sufrimientos y aspiraciones, nuestras alegrías, nuestras tristezas. Podría decirse que el arte maya contemporáneo, especialmente la pintura, es una síntesis de lo que somos y aspiramos a ser como colectividad y como pueblos.

PR

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

10


PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

The Indigenous Guatemalan art, the Mayan art, gathers the community testimony, the communal history. It encloses what Indigenous Peoples are, feel, and do. It reflects our sufferings and aspirations, our joys and sorrows. It can be said that contemporary Mayan art, particularly painting, is a synthesis of what we are and what we aspire to become as a community. –Rigoberta Menchú Tum, “The Mayan Art”1


EV IE W

PR

N

IO

RS

VE ON

LY


La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

The Soil speaks

Figure 1. Lorenzo González Morales, Exhumación, 2014-2016. Photo by María Camila Montalvo, taken during her visit to San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala, in the summer of 2019. This work was part of Miradas Biónicas (Bionic looks), a 2017 exhibition organized by artist Benvenuto Chavajay. The exhibition featured three contemporary Mayan Tz’utujil artists who are pioneers of the contemporary painting tradition in their hometown of San Pedro: Juan Fermin González Morales, Emilio González Morales, and Lorenzo González Morales.

13


La Tierra Habla

San Pedro La Laguna: Introducing a Worldview

Indigenous Peoples throughout the world have been working to reverse their invisibility and have been demanding that their humanity be recognized since the colonial agenda first began. The circumstances of colonialism faced by Indigenous Peoples have created a generation of Indigenous artists who are questioning the hegemonic art scene with sharpness and eloquence.

ON

N

The concept of community in Latin America is what recovers the place of Indigenous cultural positions and practices. The Paraguayan curator and critic Ticio Escobar defines the concept of “peoples” as a place built pragmatically and one that is open to variable discourses and practices.4 Indigenous communities in Latin America and their artistic production are evidence that, despite the designs of domination, Indigenous cultural practices can never entirely be destroyed. As Escobar maintains, even the harshest processes of cultural domination or the most ferocious cases of ethnocide cannot fully bring colonization to pass.5 In the areas of Latin America that remained unconquered, Indigenous Peoples produce particular discourses that escaped the program assigned to them by the colonial agenda. Moreover, such communities have created cultural scenarios that resist the homogenous values of the global contemporary art world.

PR

EV IE W

VE

Tz’unun Ya’, ja qab’anikiil

In a conversation between myself and curator Miguel A. López,2 he highlighted that one of the most significant Indigenous self-representation models he has ever known has been executed within the Mayan Tz’utujil community in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala. He pointed out that cultural practitioners in San Pedro have constructed their own narratives without depending on the global appreciation of their practices. These narratives allow artists to enter the contemporary art field with their own statements and stories, to the point that they have reconstructed the history of local painting techniques. These processes have been alive for the last fifteen years in San Pedro.3

IO

San Pedro La Laguna: Una cosmovisión

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

LY

The Soil Speaks

RS

14

The worldviews of Maya communities are unknown to the majority of Latin Americans. This is part of the marginalization that the Maya population has suffered, and still suffers. Nevertheless, the cultural and artistic practices of Maya communities could be a medium through which it is possible to make those worldviews known.


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

IO

N

ON

LY

The curatorial project The Soil Speaks - La Tierra Habla ja rwach’ulef ntz’ijoni aims to introduce Mayan Tz’utujil worldviews to the international art context through their cultural practices. It is comprised of an artistic commission and this publication—in English, Spanish, and Tz’utujil. The exhibition and the publication provide a context for sharing memories based on Latin American Indigenous oral traditions of sharing knowledge. Everything I write here is based on my direct experience through community work and interaction with artists and other cultural practitioners who belong to the Mayan Tz’utujil culture. This text is also based on my research visits to local spaces in Guatemala and to other contexts, such as cultural performances and traditional celebrations.

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

The artist Benvenuto Chavajay invited me, through the Guatemalan Ministry of Culture, to attend the Vienal del Lago (Lake’s Biennial) in San Pedro La Laguna. The Vienal del Lago is an initiative by Chavajay to respond, in his words, “to the damage that art (in its Western meaning) has done to my people.”6 The event is a form of protest against artists who appropriate Lake Atitlán’s imagery. My trip to the Vienal del Lago was a form of community action research.7 However, I would like to clarify that I attempted to work alongside, to talk to, and to think with Mayan Tz’utujil people rather than to find a “native informant”8 or to become an informant myself. What makes the Vienal very compelling is that it does not attempt to represent the life of San Pedro La Laguna. Instead, it finds ways—not theoretically but in praxis9—to convey, from everyday life, the perspective of their cultures. This challenges the common exercise of describing an Indigenous culture from the perspective of the “other.” The Vienal del Lago is written “Vienal” instead of “Bienal”— as it should be in Spanish—as part of the epistemological action that Chavajay attempts to engage in. It is written with the “V” of vida (life) and with the “V” of volcán (volcano),10 in tribute to the three active volcanoes that surround Lake Atitlán. The wordplay also challenges the language that has been imposed upon Indigenous communities by the colonial agenda.11 It was at the Vienal that I met Domingo Yojcom Rocché, a renowned Mayan Tz’utujil mathematician, as well as Antonio Pichillá, a Mayan Tz’utujil contemporary artist based in San Pedro. Since

15


16

The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach’ulef ntz’ijoni

ON

LY

then, I have collaborated with both of them on the present research and on its curatorial component. This collaboration includes decisions within the curatorial framework and the construction of a theoretical framework for the trilingual publication in English, Spanish, and Tz’utujil.

VE

RS

IO

N

Through their facilitation, I have also been able to experience modes of living within the Maya Tz’utujil community. This has allowed me to perceive how the community makes its own definitions. Seen from the outside, the cultural body of an Indigenous community has an exaggerated fragility. But contemplated from the inside, it is perceived as vigorous and able to endure sudden attacks without compromising its integrity or sacrificing its meaning. These definitions allow Indigenous communities to engage in artistic practices and cultural modes of self-representation that are congruent with such communities' political and spiritual demands. In that moment, I had never known a stronger community than that of the Maya Tz’utujil in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala. This strength is what inspired me to produce the present project.

EV IE W

This curatorial exercise is not a study of the artistic production of the Indigenous people of San Pedro. It does not offer an isolated view of each aesthetic manifestation through a traditional art historical methodology, which customarily divides between fields of practice—architecture, painting, sculpture, ceramics, and so on. In line with Indigenous paradigms for sharing knowledge—under which these distinctions are not necessary or do not even exist— my aim is to present the Maya Tz’utujil worldview as a whole, using their contemporary cultural production as a medium to illustrate this cosmology.

PR

Mayan Tz’utujil artistic and cultural practices exist outside Western definitions of art, reflecting a different vision of the world. I am not questioning whether the Maya Tz’utujil community’s material production can be defined as “art.” I am not trying to prove that what they produce aligns with certain artistic values, because they already have a complete understanding of contemporary art. In fact, the Maya Tz’utujil adapt contemporary ideas to their own purposes. To understand their practices, the reader must think outside colonial boundaries.


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

ON

LY

Although it is not easy to circumscribe a domain for the formal values of Maya Tz’utujil artistic practices, this difficulty nevertheless does not pose a barrier to the identification of conceptual and aesthetic operations. Sometimes these operations are hidden within the social functions that cultural practices correspond to. Here, artistic practices are collective rather than individual; they are attached to social codes. The study of artistic practices in the Maya Tz’utujil culture requires methodologies that consider their social functions.

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

N

In addition to conducting community action research I have also immersed myself in Maya literature. This literature includes pre-Hispanic narratives, colonial narratives, contemporary Mayan poetry, and academic writing by Maya Tz’utujil authors, among others. The first such material I considered were the Books of Chilam Balam of Chumayel, sacred texts of the Maya Peoples. These books are called the Chilam Balam because in their pages a character with such a name is mentioned. A prophet with this name and rank seems to have had some fame in the years before the conquest. Ah chila´n or chilam means “interpreter,” and Spanish dictionaries coined the phrase chila’n t’an, meaning “to declare in other language.” Since ah chila´n is also translated to “messenger” or “herald,” it is possible to deduce that the Maya priest who carried this name had the mission of announcing and deciphering the word and will of the gods.12 The Books of Chilam Balam of Chumayel helped me to understand the situation of Maya communities under the Spanish empire. They not only convey stories about Indigenous life but also describe the style and form of Maya culture at the beginning of the sixteenth century. In other words, the Books of Chilam Balam contain the expression of the ancient modes of thinking before the European invasion. Another historical source I turned to, the Popol Vuh, takes its title from the Maya K’iche’ phrase popol wuj, which means “the community book.” It is a collection of mythical, legendary, and historical narratives of the Maya K’iche’ people in Guatemala. The book has been called “the sacred book of the Maya” due to its great historical and spiritual value, and it has allowed me to comprehend Mayan cosmological relationships to land. For instance, the Popol Vuh describes the creation of the first Maya K’iche’ individual out of corn.13

17


18

The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

ON

LY

Other relevant materials came from Humberto Ak’abal (1952–2019), a Mayan K’iche’ poet. He thought and wrote his poems in the K’iche’ language and translated them himself into Spanish. However, some poems, according to him, were impossible to translate. So, he would recite these poems in their original language, giving a sound experience to Spanish-speaking audiences. His words, sounds, noises and silences reveal facts, things, and beings that constitute the sacred cosmology of the Maya Peoples.

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

I also took into account academic texts by the Mayan mathematician Domingo Yojcom, who leads the Center for Scientific and Cultural Research in San Pedro La Laguna. The center, which opened in November 2014, is a social and community nonprofit created for the development of art, science, and culture at the local and national level. Founded by a group of Indigenous professionals from San Pedro, it is an independent, nongovernmental cultural space. I shared time with Yojcom during my visit to San Pedro, and, as mentioned earlier, he is one of the collaborators for this research. The materials provided by Yojcom and the conversations we have had helped me to understand Mayan Tz’utujil structures, such as the strengths-based community, the understanding of time, and the particular relationship between Indigenous Peoples and tourists in San Pedro La Laguna. An interview with Yojcom on his kumuk project is included in this book. The kumuk is a physical space that represents the point where the four large energies that govern the Mayan universe come together.

PR

His research also encouraged me to question gender roles within Mayan contemporary cultural practices. Tz’utujil men are educated through painting, while Tz’utujil women are educated through textile techniques. For instance, within many Maya cultures, men are not allowed to use the telar de cintura (the backstrap weaving loom). Only women can use it, as it represents an extension of the womb. Weaving refers to giving birth; it is the action of creation. For this reason, among Mayan Tz’utujil people, it is difficult to find women practicing what it is conceived of as “contemporary art.” However, these circumstances lead to another discussion that is impossible to fully develop through this project. As an attempt to begin to complicate the understanding of gender roles in this context, I interviewed Clara Quiacaín, a Mayan Tz’utujil weaver and mother of the artist Antonio Pichillá. This interview makes visible the funda-


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

LY

mental role of women not only in Pichillá’s particular artistic practice but in the foundations of Mayan Tz’utujil culture at large.

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

The Mayan literature that I have had the pleasure of reading, the community action research I have undertaken, and my friendships with Pichi (Antonio Pichillá), Nuto (Benvenuto Chavjay), and Domingo (Domingo Yojcom) opened up the pathway to this book, which explores how culture, time, language, history, and spirituality shape the Mayan Tz’utujil worldview.

19


20

The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

A conversation between Clara Quiacaín and Camila Montalvo, with simultaneous interpretation from Tz-utujil to Spanish by Quiacaín’s son, Antonio Pichillá, and accompanied by Benvenuto Chavajay.

IO

N

Una conversación entre Clara Quiacaín y Camila Montalvo, con interpretación simultánea de tz-utujil a español por Antonio Pichilla, hijo de Quaicaín. La conversación estuvo acompañada por Benvenuto Chavajay.

ON

LY

Conversation with Clara Conversación con Clara Jun Tijoo tziij ruk’iin ja naan Clara

RS

A: Antonio Pichilla B: Benvenuto Chavajay

C: Camila Montalvo

VE

Clara: Clara Quiacaín

EV IE W

(Esta conversación ha sido editada para mayor claridad )

PR

A: De un textil es la parte del diseño, porque si yo no cuento bien mis hilos, entonces mi textil no va a salir como yo quiero ¿no? El textil final que sería como el resultado de ese proceso. Entonces si no tomas en cuenta el primer proceso y el segundo proceso obviamente el resultado, la parte final, quizá no es lo que tú esperas para uno decir: Mal resultado ¿no? Uno espera un resultado, el resultado que espera no es eso. Tiene un sistema de nudos, ¿cómo lograste que este rosado metiera para allá y este para allá? Entonces hay una cuestión geométrica, pero eso es a través de la ayuda, de cómo uno va formando los nudos, esa parte, la otra parte, este es un perraje [una manta fina de algodón] ¿no?

(This conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and length)

A:…of a textile is the design step, because if I do not count correctly my threads, then my textile will not come out as I want it, right? The final textile that would be the result of this process. So, if you do not consider the first step and then the second one, at the end, the result might not be what you expected and you end up stating: “A bad result,” right? You expect a specific outcome, and this is not what I was aiming for. It has a knot system. How did you achieve putting the pink one in and the next one the other way? So, there is a geometrical issue, but you get there with help, to know how to shape the knots, here, there. This is a perraje [a fine cotton blanket], right?


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

C: So, you will translate. Will you?

A: Sí, claro.

A: Yes, sure.

C: Quería saber primero, ¿cómo fue el proceso en el que Antonio aprende de ti? ¿Qué pasó cuando Antonio te dijo que él quería aprender a tejer? ¿Cómo fue todo ese proceso en el que Antonio quiso aprender sobre los textiles de su mamá? El proceso en que Antonio te preguntó como ‘Yo quiero aprender’ ¿Cómo le enseñaste tú? ¿Cuándo y cómo le empezaste a enseñar? ¿Cuántos años tenía Antonio?

C: First of all, Clara, I would like to know how the process of Antonio learning from you went. What happened when Antonio told you he wanted to learn to weave? What was the process by which Antonio learned about textiles from his mother? When Antonio told you “I want to learn,” how did you teach him? When and how did you start this process? How old was he?

IO

N

ON

LY

C: Bueno, pero entonces tú traduces ¿sí?

A: [Translation of C’s question to Tz’utujil:] La xak’axaaqaaj ja xb’iqaaj le, jani’ ja toq xink’utuuj chawe, chi nak’ut chinwach, naq k’a xach’ob qaaj chwiij atet chaqajaa’, chi ja b’anooj keem ni ixoq wi’ nb’eno wi, ma aachi ta.

Es la primera reacción ‘Tú no puedes porque seas hombre’.

The first reaction was: “You might not be able to do it because you are a man.”

CLARA: [Responde en Tz’utujil:] Jar Aa Tuun le’: Jar toq xk’utuuj chwe chi nk’ut chwaach, xinmaaj k’a rk’utiik chwach, jani’ nb’aan tre qinooj trij ja q’ambal ja k’a arjaa’ tz’ab’eto k’wiin chi nitzatiik jani’ nb’an tre. Keeri’ xuub’an ja toq xuuq’in k’in xuu keem ja paas, ja k’a toq tzuri ja jari’ xumaaj k’a rb’aniik ja b’irooj ruutzam ja paas, jani nb’an tre ja rximiik, ja ratzb’aliil. Ja k’a toq xumaaj rkemiik xinb’iij k’a tre: ja nab’an le’, jar amajoon rb’aniik xwiniin, xwiniin ja jale’, jar arjaa’ nb’iij: maani ma awxin ta atet, jar aa Tuun nb’iij: xwinin, jar anin ximb’iij chi xwiniin ja xak’am le’

CLARA: [Response in Tz’utujil:] Jar Aa Tuun le’: Jar toq xk’utuuj chwe chi nk’ut chwaach, xinmaaj k’a rk’utiik chwach, jani’ nb’aan tre qinooj trij ja q’ambal ja k’a arjaa’ tz’ab’eto k’wiin chi nitzatiik jani’ nb’an tre. Keeri’ xuub’an ja toq xuuq’in k’in xuu keem ja paas, ja k’a toq tzuri ja jari’ xumaaj k’a rb’aniik ja b’irooj ruutzam ja paas, jani nb’an tre ja rximiik, ja ratzb’aliil. Ja k’a toq xumaaj rkemiik xinb’iij k’a tre: ja nab’an le’, jar amajoon rb’aniik xwiniin, xwiniin ja jale’, jar arjaa’ nb’iij: maani ma awxin ta atet, jar aa Tuun nb’iij: xwinin, jar anin ximb’iij chi xwiniin ja xak’am le’.

[Traducción de A:] Cuando yo le pedí que me enseñara, entonces empezó a enseñarme como a hilar el hilo sobre el urdidor. Entonces yo me senté frente a ella a observarla como ella hacía, después más adelante, entonces así hicimos con la faja. Después

[A’s translation:] When I asked her to teach me, she started showing me how to spin the thread on the warp. So, I sat in front of her to see how she did it, we kept it on and this way we made the waistband. Then she taught me to knit. I watched

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

A: [Traducción de la pregunta de C a Tz’utujil:] La xak’axaaqaaj ja xb’iqaaj le, jani’ ja toq xink’utuuj chawe, chi nak’ut chinwach, naq k’a xach’ob qaaj chwiij atet chaqajaa’, chi ja b’anooj keem ni ixoq wi’ nb’eno wi, ma aachi ta.

21


The Soil Speaks

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

her as well. After that I started to make the ends, which are these [points to a detail of the fabrics he was showing us] . . . Like knotting these parts. She taught me, and afterwards, when I started knitting by myself, she said to me, “What you are doing is mine,” and my reply was, “No, no, no. It is mine.” It was always the same discussion.

C: ¿Y quién ganó?

C: And who won?

ON

LY

me enseñó también como tejer, también la observaba. Entonces después de eso empecé a hacer las puntas, que son estas, [señala los detalles de las puntas en la manta] como a anudar esas partes. También me enseñó, y después cuando empecé a tejer entonces me dijo que ‘Lo que estás haciendo es mío’ y yo le decía ‘No, no, no. Es mío’. Y entonces todo lo que hacíamos ‘No, es mío.’

N

22

CLARA: Yo.

IO

CLARA: [In English: “I did.”]

A: Pues ella, ¿no?

C: Well, nowadays, this has been a whole life tradition and you grew up with it. Clara, you were taught when you were a child. How old were you? At what age did you start knitting? Who taught you?

CLARA: [Responde en Tz’utujil:] Xinmaj b’anooJ keem jar toq waxaq’ii’ njunaa’.

CLARA: [Response in Tz’utujil:] Xinmaj b’anooJ keem jar toq waxaq’ii’ njunaa’.

[Traducción de A:] Empezó a tejer a los ocho años, fue de observación con su mamá.

[A’s translation:] She has been knitting since she was eight and learned watching her mother.

C: Igual que Antonio.

C: Just like Antonio.

CLARA y A [simultáneamente:] Sí.

CLARA and A [simultaneously]: Yes.

CLARA: [Responde en Tz’utujil:] La jani’ xuub’an ja nuutee’ jari’ xintz’at, xinb’an aniin ja toq k’a intinooy na, waxaqii’ ja njunaa’. xintz’at ja jani’ nuub’an tre ja kojoj q’iin, jani’ nb’an tre ja q’inooj, k’in ja q’iin ja rjawaxiik nkoji, ja banoom pi chik, ja naloq na’, jari’ ja xinkoj, xarwari’: ma xink’utuj ta tre ja nuutee’.

CLARA: [Response in Tz’utujil:] La jani’ xuub’an ja nuutee’ jari’ xintz’at, xinb’an aniin ja toq k’a intinooy na, waxaqii’ ja njunaa’. xintz’at ja jani’ nuub’an tre ja kojoj q’iin, jani’ nb’an tre ja q’inooj, k’in ja q’iin ja rjawaxiik nkoji, ja banoom pi chik, ja naloq na’, jari’ ja xinkoj, xarwari’: ma xink’utuj ta tre ja nuutee’.

[Traducción de Antonio:] Observación con su mamá. Cómo eran los hilos, cómo enhebrar los hi-

[A’s translation:] Watching her mother. How the threads were, how to thread a needle, how to

PR

VE

RS

C: Si, bueno, actualmente esto es una tradición de toda tu vida entonces tu creciste a partir de ella, a ti te enseñaron a tejer desde pequeña, ¿Cuántos años tenías? ¿Tú ya lo aprendiste grande? ¿A qué edad empezaste a tejer? ¿Quién te lo enseñó?

EV IE W

A: She did, indeed.


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

knit. After she started knitting on her own, she needed a few special threads, like the ones that are almost ready for usage. They are bought threads, but still they require a technique to use them, so she bought that kind of thread without consulting her mother.

C: ¿A los ocho años?

C: When she was eight?

CLARA: [Responde en Tz’utujil:] Ja k’a naata’ Luu’ Tiaqa Q’iin, ja k’a nuutee’ xk’axaaj k’a naq tre, xerloq’o ja q’iin, ja naata’ xb’iij: ja wi tzeel xtiteli tri’ k’a nrotaqij wi’. Maxko’ xinruuto’ ja naata’, k’in chaqajaa’ ja nuutee, jar toq at tinooy xa natz’at ja naquun

CLARA: [Response in Tz’utujil:]Ja k’a naata’ Luu’ Tiaqa Q’iin, ja k’a nuutee’ xk’axaaj k’a naq tre, xerloq’o ja q’iin, ja naata’ xb’iij: ja wi tzeel xtiteli tri’ k’a nrotaqij wi’. Maxko’ xinruuto’ ja naata’, k’in chaqajaa’ ja nuutee, jar toq at tinooy xa natz’at ja naquun

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

los, hasta el tejer por esa observación. Ella empezó a tejer, y después ella empezó a tejer, y necesitaba algunos hilos un poco especiales, diría como estos, que ya casi vienen preparados. Entonces son hilos que uno ya compra pero que tienen su proceso de colocarlo, entonces ella compró ese hilo sin preguntar a su mamá.

[A’s translation:] Yes. But my grandfather, her father—Pedro Quiacaín—expressed his concern. And my grandmother asked her why she bought the threads: “What if it goes all wrong? Because this has a price.” But my mother always had her father’s strength. Her answer was, “Well, you got to do what you got to do. And if it goes wrong, I will learn.” After then, she had the support of both of them. When you are eight, there is no school. You must watch.

A: Igual como yo hice, es de observación.

A: Just like I did. Through observation.

PR EV I

EW

VE

[Traducción de A:] Si, pero entonces de ahí mi abuelo, que sería su papá ‘Pedro Quiacaín’ dijo. De ahí su mamá le preguntóó que por qué fue a comprar los hilos. Le dijo ‘¿Y si te sale mal? Porque eso tiene un costo’. Pero ella tuvo siempre la fortaleza de su papá. ‘Entonces que se haga lo que hay que hacer ¿no? Y si se hace mal pues de ahí se va a aprender’. Entonces tuvo ese apoyo en cuanto papá y mamá. Como a los ocho años no hay una escuela, es de observación.

B: Qcain es el hilo, entonces como que hay una relación de sentido con la palabra.

B: Qcain is the thread. So, there is a relation of meaning in the word.

C: Si, y es sonoro también. Suena como si cayera en la aguja.

C: Yes. And it is a sound one. Like it relies on the needle.

A: Kiaq sí, q’iinc es rojo, color rojo in es hilo. Kiaq’in traducido es ‘hilo rojo.’ O sea que mi nombre es ‘Antonio Pichillá Hilo Rojo’ si queremos traducirlo. [Su nombre completo es Antonio Pichillá Quiacaín]

A: Kiaq, yes, and q’iinc is red. The thread is a red color. Kiaq´is translated as “red thread.” So, my name translated is “Antonio Pichillá Red Thread.” [His full name is Antonio Pichillá Quiacaín]

C: Divino.

C: Beautiful.

23


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

A: Pichillá is Pich. And my father’s surname, Pich, is “woodpecker,” and Illa is “water.” So, my complete name translated is: Antonio Woodpecker of Water Red Thread. But what is interesting is that the surnames come from a thread, traced by a clan, like dynasties.

C: Y además que, pues tejen ¿no? Entonces tiene una relación. El apellido tiene una relación con lo que hacen, a lo que se dedican.

C: And, in fact, you knit, right? There is a relation. Your surname is related to what you do.

A: Exacto, viene de eso.

C: Is it?

VE

RS

A: Viene de eso. Es como agarrar del apellido de Benvenuto. Chavajay es tierra mojada, mojada la tierra y son constructores de casas, los constructores de casas.

A: Viene de ese clan.

ON

IO

A: Exactly. That is the origin.

C: ¿Viene de eso?

B: Sí, como escultores.

LY

A: Pichillá es Pich’. Y el otro apellido que es el de mi papá ‘Pich’ es pájaro carpintero ‘illa’ es el agua, o sea ‘Antonio Pájaro Carpintero del Agua Hilo Rojo’, si lo queremos traducir. Pero es interesantes porque viene de ese hilo, viene de ese clan, de esos apellidos. Porque son como clanes y dinastías.

N

24

A: Yes. Let’s take Benvenutos’s surname: Chavajay is “wet soil,” and his family build houses.

B: Yes. Like sculptors. A: It comes from that clan.

B: ‘Ixt’ es mujer y ‘tetela’ abuela y niño, o sea es como doncella, es literalmente doncella.

B: Ixt is “woman,” and tetela “grandmother and child.” It means “maiden.”

C: ¿Y eso en que se aplica a ti?

C: And how does this relate to you?

B: Eh, la doncella...[Risas] no, pero Chavajay sí.

B: Ehm, the maiden… [laughs]. No, it doesn’t, but Chavajay does.

C: Like 3D. ¿And what about Ixtetelá? [Ixtetelá is Benvenuto’s second last name]

C: Si, Chavajay sí.

C: Indeed.

C: Pero es que es más el del ‘Hilo Rojo’ suena, es como si sonoramente se metiera en la aguja.

C: But it is more like the sound of “Red Thread.” It’s like the sound of getting the thread into the needle

PR

EV IE W

C: Como el 3D. ¿E Ixtetela? [Ixtetelá es el segundo apellido de Benvenuto’s]


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

A: Qcain, qcain.

C: Sí, bueno, entonces a partir de los ocho años que aprendiste a tejer, ¿te dedicaste enteramente a eso o hacías alguna otra actividad, o ya sólo construías textiles?

C: So, Clara, from age eight, you learned to knit. Did you engage fully in knitting, or did you get involved in other activities as well?

CLARA: [Responde en Tz’utujil:] Ja jujuun keem k’o k’a rb’aniik, rkemiik, ma chi q ata rb’aniik, qatza tam pe ri’: ja rtziaq jar aachi. ja k’a toq loqi ja ni makina ja nt’isb’eej ja tziaq, nuur ya’ kaan k’a nojelaal ja tziaq, nb’aneel k’a ja kitziaq jar aachi’ii’, nojelaal rwach ja keem ximb’an, ximb’an ja kitziaq jar ixoqii’ chaqajaa’, iwataq nojelaal ja lale’.

CLARA: [Response in Tz’utujil:] Ja jujuun keem k’o k’a rb’aniik, rkemiik, ma chi q ata rb’aniik, qatza tam pe ri’: ja rtziaq jar aachi. ja k’a toq loqi ja ni makina ja nt’isb’eej ja tziaq, nuur ya’ kaan k’a nojelaal ja tziaq, nb’aneel k’a ja kitziaq jar aachi’ii’, nojelaal rwach ja keem ximb’an, ximb’an ja kitziaq jar ixoqii’ chaqajaa’, iwataq nojelaal ja lale’.

[Traducción de A:] Cada textil digamos tiene ciertas formulas, cómo hacerlo. No sólo es cómo hacer un textil. Entonces, por ejemplo, este es como un pequeño muestrario: está la camisa del hombre, por ejemplo, entonces ella cuando compraron una máquina para coser, entonces por ejemplo ella era a la que le entregan el textil y era la que se encargaba de cocer en máquina, en máquina industrial. Entonces ella tiene una máquina y lo hace, la camisa del hombre ella la cose. Entonces y se dedicó casi todo el tiempo con el textil pero, el textil de digamos diferentes estilos, porque también en el traje de la mujer tiene su blusa también, tiene su otra fórmula. Entonces ella sabe todo ese proceso.

[A’s translation:] Each textile has a certain way, its own formula, a way to make it. It is not only about how to make the fabric itself. For example, this basic item: the man’s shirt. When they bought a sewing machine, she received the fabrics and was in charge of sewing with the industrial machine. Then, she had a machine and she made the shirt. She engaged fully in textiles in different styles, because women’s garments include a specific type of blouse, with a different formula. So, she knows all these processes.

C: ¿Para el hombre y para la mujer?

C: For men and women?

CLARA: Responde en Tz’utujil: Ja toq k’a nub’aan, ja toq k’o juun ja ma wataq ta, ja ma titeli, nkanooj k’a jani nb’an tre, k’in nb’iil, toq k’a ntzuri.

CLARA: [Response in Tz’utujil:] Ja toq k’a nub’aan, ja toq k’o juun ja ma wataq ta, ja ma titeli, nkanooj k’a jani nb’an tre, k’in nb’iil, toq k’a ntzuri.

[Traducción de A:] Sí, exacto. Como tiene su traje entonces, entonces si tú no sabes algo se pone a hacer hasta que lo descubre y lo hace.

[A’s translation:] Yes, exactly. When you do not know anything about how to make something, you start doing it until you find out how and finally make it.

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

A: Qcain, qcain.

25


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

C: Yes. You learn through experience, empirically.

A: Este, por ejemplo, era de mi papá [muestra unos pantalones que están sobre la mesa].

A: For example, this was my father’s [motions to some pants that are on the table].

C: Sí, eso iba a preguntar yo, por qué eso. ¿Por qué ese es más bonito? Ahí sí lo tiene.

C: I was about to ask about that. How come? Why is it more beautiful than yours?

A: Era de mi papá y este también era de mi papá. Obvio ¿no? Pero ella no solamente hace el de mi papá, entonces pues hace el de mis tíos también, el de unos vecinos que ella mantiene su traje, pero para producir un traje es con mucha anticipación. Por ejemplo, acá ahora la feria de San Pedro es en junio ¿no? Entonces ella ya está preparando el traje de mi papá para junio porque lo debe hacer con tiempo.

A: Both were my father’s. Obviously, right? But she doesn’t make only my father’s. She makes my uncles’, some neighbors’. But to make a costume, you have to prepare it well in advance. Considering that the fair in San Pedro is in June, my mother prepares my father’s suit months prior. She needs time.

C: ¿Y cada vez que hay una fiesta se estrena o se hace un nuevo traje?

C: And whenever there is a party, you use a new costume?

A: Mi papá hace eso. Cada feria es un traje nuevo.

A: My father does that. For each fair, there is a new costume.

C: Pero ese parece nuevo.

C: This looks like a new one.

A.: Sí, él lo usó como una vez. Sólo una vez o dos veces.

A: Yes. He only wore it once. Once or twice.

C: Sí, se ve. Los colores súper vivos.

C: Yes. You can tell. The colors look vivid.

B: Y otro importante también estas cosas que se llaman ‘kiaq’, ‘rpan’, o sea no en el diseño, sino que en la forma como se cose ‘kiaqrpan.’

B: Other important parts are those things that are called kiaq and rpan. Not the design itself, but the way in which the kiaqrpan are sewn.

A: Ese porque en el concepto de bordar, es como un bordado industrial. El concepto de bordar es hacer como adornos. Por ejemplo, ahorita hay pocas mujeres que hacen este y lo que hacen ahora. Como ahora existen las maquinas industriales lo que hacen es llevar la tela a una maquina industrial y como todo es

A: This is because embroidery is an industrial endeavor. The embroidery concept is like making decoration. Nowadays, few women make embroidery by hand. Due to the existence of industrial machines and computers, they pay to get embroidery done quickly. But when

PR

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

C: Sí, como a través de la experiencia. Es empírico, como a través del hacer.

EV IE W

26


La Tierra Habla

computarizado dicen esto y ya te entregan así enterilla, mientras que esto no, tienes que esperar como más de una semana para que la mujer te entregue esto.

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

it involves needlework by hand, you must wait more than a week to get it.

LY

The Soil speaks

C: I know you are not the only person in your family who knits, Clara, but are you the only woman in your family who knits, besides your mother?

CLARA: Sí.

CLARA: Yes.

A: De mi familia, ella es la única que teje. Como te decía antes sólo la mujer podía tejer y nosotros en ese caso somos cuatro hermanos.

A: She is the only one in the family who knits. As I told you before, only women could knit, and we were four brothers.

C: ¿Todos son hombres?

C: All of you are men?

RS

IO

N

ON

C: ¿Y tú eres la única mujer, porque sabemos que no eres la única persona, eres la única mujer que tejes en tu familia? Bueno después de tu mamá.

VE

A: Ajá, no hay mujer. Si tuviéramos una hermana, creo que hubiera continuado con esto. Pero como no hay, estoy yo y soy artista y continúo con el legado.

EW

C: ¿Y en algún momento el papá de Antonio o las familias, hablan, o sea se sorprendieron de que un hombre en la familia se interesara por el textil? ¿Dijeron algo?

PR EV I

A: Esta es [señala la faja que está colgada en la pared] una herramienta también importante para un textil, que es lo que está haciendo ella.

A: Yes. No women. If we had a sister, I believe she would have continued the legacy. But we do not, so I am the artist and I continue it. C: And were the rest of the family and Antonio’s father surprised when he, as a man, showed his interest in textiles? What did they say? A: This [points to a strip that was hung on the wall] is also an important tool for a textile, which is what she is making.

CLARA: [Responde en Tz’utujil:] Eje’ee’ k’a Nekikoti, nekikot k’a trij, xumaj k’a rb’aniik, k’in nerkirato jar ryuqu’.

CLARA: [Response in Tz’utujil:] Eje’ee’ k’a Nekikoti, nekikot k’a trij, xumaj k’a rb’aniik, k’in nerkirato jar ryuqu’.

[Traducción de A:] Se empezaron como a extrañar un poco porque yo empecé a hacer eso y tenía esa herramienta para trabajar.

[A’s translation:] They were a bit surprised because I started doing this and had this tool to work with.

A: Esta herramienta es para sujetarse con el textil, por ejemplo, aquí están mis palos, estos son los palos para tijeras… Entonces lo que se hace… se mete este

A: This tool is to hold yourself to the textile. Here are my sticks for scissors . . . So, what you do is, you place the stick here, you hold the textile when knit-

27


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

ting, hold it here—obviously the thread comes this way. I loosen it and the other sticks come again. I am using threads, and this stick is what holds them. You start knitting and you keep going…

C: ¿Este es como también de cintura? O sea…

C: Is this a waistband?

A: Es de cintura.

A: Yes.

C: O sea, ¿también funciona como textil de cintura?

C: Does it work as a textile for the waist?

A: Si esa es la herramienta para diseñar, esa es la herramienta para tejer.

A: Yes. It is the tool used for design. It is the tool to knit.

C: Ah, sí. Es que cuando fui a San Juan de Atlitlán me dijeron que los hombres no podían usar telar de cintura, que está prohibido.

C: When I visited San Juan de Atitlán [in Guatemala], I was told that men were not allowed to use the waist loom. That it is forbidden.

A: Es que lo está. Es que existe como esa tradición de solamente la mujer puede usar ese.

A: It is forbidden. The tradition states that only women can use it.

C: Si, ahí en San Juan los hombres tejen. Pero solo lo pueden usar de pie.

C: Yes. In San Juan men knit, but they only can do it standing on their feet.

ON

LY

palo acá, se sujeta el textil cuando esta tejiendo, esta sujeta acá, obviamente viene el hilo acá. Suelto y viene le otro palo que está acá, y este palo que está acá. Como acá hay hilos, y este palo va sujetado también es lo que uno tiene acá y empieza a tejer y este, así…

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

28

A: Yes, but it is an almost mechanical issue. The loom is mechanical.

C: Claro con el telar de cintura, es el cuerpo el que teje.

C: Right. The waist loom is a way the body can knit.

A: Este es artesanal, todo es de cintura, todo es otra relación del textil con tu cuerpo, vas tejiendo ¿no? Esta [señala distintos elementos del telar de cintura] que ha venido de acá hasta acá [rodea la cintura por la espalda] de ahí con esta acá [rodea la cintura por delante], y entonces empiezo a tejer ya con unos palos acá [al frente del cuerpo]. Entonces esta, ella lo que nos está hablando lo que nos está enseñando eso con tu pregunta, es eso de un tipo extrañado, con esta mujer quien hace esto y que es esta herramienta que

A: This is artisanal. It is all waist. It is a new relation with your body, you keep knitting. This one [points to the backstrap weaving loom] comes from there to here [around his waist by his back], the next one from there to here [around his waist by his belly], and then I start knitting with some sticks. What she is telling us is that it is strange to teach a man how a woman knits, using this tool, which we call a yuqu, which is a loop that you hold and holds you to the knitting. When

PR

A: Sí, pero de pie es una cuestión que es casi mecánica. El telar, tienen un telar que es mecánico.


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

“something holds” is called yuqu. To unite what is united with home, it points here [motions to the tool]. But this unites the textile with the body, up until one finishes it.

C: claro, es como si el cuerpo se extendiera.

C: Sure, it is like an extension of the body.

Clara: [Risas] Ja Ku’ Chab’aq jaay jari’.

CLARA: [Laughs] Ja Ku’ Chab’aq jaay jari’.

N

ON

LY

nosotros le llamamos “yuqu” es un lazo que te tienes que tejer es sujetado, que te tiene sujetado es “yuqu.” Unir lo que está unido en este caso con la casa, va apuntado acá [señala la herramienta]. Pero esto une textil, y ese textil le une el cuerpo hasta que uno termina con él, esto también es parte de esto.

C: When you became an adult, did you sell some of the textiles to the community, or was it something exclusive for your family?

CLARA: [Responde en Tz’utujil:] Jar arjaa’ ni k’a samaaj wi’, k’in kotaqiij ja winaqii’, neurqaji nkik’axaaj, nk’ib’iij: nqajo’ juun qapaas, nqajo’ juun qatziaq, nb’iij k’a ja toq k’oli, k’u k’a nkeb’an nkechak kaan, xin cha juutiij, ja wi newajo ninkowini njach chewe chwaaq, kotaq k’a chi ja keem ni nchak pon wi’ chaaniim.

CLARA: [Response in Tz’utujil:] Jar arjaa’ ni k’a samaaj wi’, k’in kotaqiij ja winaqii’, neurqaji nkik’axaaj, nk’ib’iij: nqajo’ juun qapaas, nqajo’ juun qatziaq, nb’iij k’a ja toq k’oli, k’u k’a nkeb’an nkechak kaan, xin cha juutiij,ja wi newajo ninkowini njach chewe chwaaq,kotaq k’a chi ja keem ni nchak pon wi’ chaaniim.

EW

VE

RS

IO

C: Entonces tú empezaste, cuando haces el textil, digamos ya cuando eres grande, cuando empezaste ya a hacerlo como adulta, ¿en algún momento vendías como a la comunidad o algo o solo era algo interno con la familia?, ¿solo era para los hermanos?

Xoq ojtaqixi chi jari’ nqab’an jar ojooj. Ja k’a kaamiik ma ee k’iiy chi ta nekemooni rumaak k’a ja xten ja xuutij atijaal, k’in kin xuuchek, xumaaj k’a tijoneem, ja wi k’a kowini b’e pan juun universidad, k’in ja ri’ nub’an, ma ti kowin chik nsamajiij ja keem, ma ti kemoon chik chaqajaa’, mix ta k’a nkech’ob’ qaaj:

¿naq k’a tre nb’en keem jar toq k’iiy nch’ek pa nisamaaj?

¿naq k’a tre nb’en keem jar toq k’iiy nch’ek pa nisamaaj?

ja keem kixiin wan ari ja ma xeb’eta pan aatijaal, ja ma k’uchi ta juun kisamaaj.

ja keem kixiin wan ari ja ma xeb’eta pan aatijaal, ja ma k’uchi ta juun kisamaaj.

PR EV I

Xoq ojtaqixi chi jari’ nqab’an jar ojooj. Ja k’a kaamiik ma ee k’iiy chi ta nekemooni rumaak k’a ja xten ja xuutij atijaal, k’in kin xuuchek, xumaaj k’a tijoneem, ja wi k’a kowini b’e pan juun universidad, k’in ja ri’ nub’an, ma ti kowin chik nsamajiij ja keem, ma ti kemoon chik chaqajaa’, mix ta k’a nkech’ob’ qaaj:

29


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

[A’s translation:] She always produced, and people get to know you more and more: “We need something quickly,” “We need a bread for the shoulder,” “We need it next week” . . . “I have one that is almost done . . . If you want, I can finish it and I will give it to you the day after tomorrow.” As you know, textiles need time. So, she used to sell to the family, and that is how people got to know her. As she said, nowadays few people knit. Women used to do it, but now they will not. This might have something to do with the fact that a woman can go to school and became a teacher. Or she might get luckier and earn a bachelor’s degree and have no time to knit at home. Or they might think, “Why knitting, if I make more money with my job?” The ones who knit are the unemployed or the people who never studied.

A: Pero acá hay muchos saberes, hay mucha información, hay matemática pura. Entonces y por esa cuestión también hay muchas niñas mujeres que han dejado de tejer. Porque tienen un trabajo estable. Y esto aparte de que a ellos les gustaba hacer, era su fuente de ingreso. Uno de los motivos por los cuales mi mamá se dedicó a hacer esto, era porque era su fuente de ingreso. Esa era su fuente de ingreso, era su fuente de ingreso principal.

A: But there is lots of wisdom, information, pure mathematics here. That is also a reason why young women have stopped knitting. Because they have a steady job and they like what they are doing in it. My mother had a job, and it was the main source of income.

C: ¿En algún momento te reunías con más mujeres a tejer o era una actividad individual en tu casa?, ¿era privada o era una actividad que te reunía de alguna manera con alguna comunidad?

C: Clara, at some point, did you meet with more women to knit, or it was a lonely and domestic activity? Was it a private activity, or did you get to engage with the community?

CLARA: Sola.

CLARA: By myself.

C: Y cuando Pichi, cuando Antonio hace este tipo de piezas, ¿tú le ayudas o le dices cómo lo tiene que hacer?, ¿le explicas?

C: And when Antonio makes these pieces, do you help him or guide him? Do you explain to him?

ON

LY

[Traducción de A:] Ella producía siempre, y la gente como que te empieza a conocer… ‘necesitamos un afán’, ‘necesitamos un pan al hombro’ ‘y lo necesitamos ya la próxima semana’… ‘si tengo uno que lo tenía bien adelantado’… ‘pero si quieren yo lo cierro y se los entrego pasado mañana’. Ya como saben los textiles son de mucha anticipación por el proceso. Entonces ella vendía con su familia. Y pues de la familia empezó a conocerse y la gente, por ejemplo, actualmente—es lo que dijo ella—de que por ejemplo ahora hay muy poca gente que teje. Antes las mujeres tejían, ahora ya no. Porque puede ser de que esta mujer se fue a la escuela y se graduó de maestra y se quedó dando clases. O si tuvo un poco más de oportunidad, y sacó una licenciatura por ejemplo, y está dedicada a esa profesión, entonces ya no da tiempo venir a tejer en la casa. O también piensan… ¿para qué voy a tejer si yo gano más con mi carrera? ¿Para qué voy a tejer verdad eso son los que no tienen trabajo, los que nunca estudiaron?

PR

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

30


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

CLARA: No, he does it alone.

A: Bueno, por ejemplo, caso respondiendo esa pregunta: esta pieza que está acá porque esa tiene una historia… por esa es una pieza que ella me ayudó en esa parte porque ese es el textil que hace ella. Ese es el patrón, es la fórmula ¿no? Entonces yo compré los hilos negro y amarillo. Entonces voy a hacer una amarilla, ¿no?, entonces cuando ella vio dijo: “¿qué estás haciendo?” estoy haciendo un tejido. Pero en versión amarilla. y ella dijo “¿qué? ¡pero eso no existe!” Este es un textil me atrevo a decir ‘contemporáneo’. Ahí ella me dijo “¿por qué lo hiciste?”… “eso nadie te va a comprar.” De ahí me dijo “bueno tu vos sabes en qué andas” y me dio cierta libertad. Pero cuando tengo dudas, cuando estoy trabajando en ciertas cosas, cuando ahí tengo que preguntar “¿qué pasó con este hilo?” o “¿qué puedo hacer?”, ahí mi mamá viene a ver y me asesora. En esas partes técnicas. Obviamente que en la experiencia es quien sabe, entonces me viene a solucionar esas cosas técnicas.

A: Well, it depends. For instance, this piece has a story. In a way, she helped me because it is made of a textile she makes. It is the pattern, the formula, right? So, I bought yellow and black threads. I was going to make the yellow one. When she saw me, she asked me, “What are you doing?” “I am making a textile, but in yellow,” I said. Her reply was: “What? But that does not exist!” I dared to say this was a contemporary textile. She said, “Why did you make it? No one is going to buy it . . . Well, I guess you know what you are doing,” and gave me some freedom. But when in doubt while working, that is when I have to ask for guidance: “What happened to this thread? What can I do?” And then she comes and gives me advice on technical issues. Obviously, her experience and wisdom are great, so she finds solutions.

C: ¿Tú has, por ejemplo, ido a las exposiciones de arte de Antonio? ¿O has visto, o sea, sigues las obras de arte de Antonio?, ¿las has visto expuestas?, ¿O es más bien un acompañamiento privado desde la casa?

C: Have you ever been to Antonio’s exhibitions, Clara? Do you follow his work? Have you seen his artworks exhibited? Or do you support him from home?

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

CLARA: No, solo.

CLARA: [Responde en Tz’utujil:] Jar aniin inpetnaq intz’atoon ja rsamaaj jar aa Tuun. Inpetnaq k’a kai’ muul, qonojelaal jar ojmookaaj, ojpetnaq qonojelaal.

CLARA: [Response in Tz’utujil:] Jar aniin inpetnaq intz’atoon ja rsamaaj jar aa Tuun. Inpetnaq k’a kai’ muul, qonojelaal jar ojmookaaj, ojpetnaq qonojelaal.

[Traducción de A:] Sí, ella ha participado en mis exposiciones. Por ejemplo, cuando he hecho las individuales, la llevo a ella, llevo a mi papá, a mis hermanos, a mis sobrinos para que vengan y me acompañen.

[A’s translation:] Yes, she has been to my exhibitions. When I have solo exhibitions, I take her, my father, my brothers and nephews to visit them.

C: A todos jajaja.

C: Everyone! [Laughs]

31


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

A: Every single one. We rent a minibus because I want them to be comfortable, right? She feels very pleased when my artworks are hanging in, let’s say, privileged spaces. Also, when I have an exhibition not far from here, she goes. When the exhibitions are group ones, I go by myself.

C: Y en las exposiciones así a las que has ido, ¿te preguntan que si tú le enseñaste a Antonio a hacer las cosas? ¿Te preguntan algo con respecto al trabajo de Antonio o no?

C: Do people ask you if you taught Antonio to knit when you visit his exhibitions, Clara? Do you get asked about Antonio’s work?

CLARA: [Responde en Tz’utujil:] Ja winaqii nkik’axaaj chwe ¿la atet xattijoni jar awaal, chi b’anooj keem? Xiimb’iij chi ma ni, chi 0arjaa’, xa xutz’aat ja nb’an aniin, k’in jani’ nb’an tre, xin che’ chike, ja nek’axani.

CLARA: [Response in Tz’utujil:] Ja winaqii nkik’axaaj chwe ¿la atet xattijoni jar awaal, chi b’anooj keem? Xiimb’iij chi ma ni, chi 0arjaa’, xa xutz’aat ja nb’an aniin, k’in jani’ nb’an tre, xin che’ chike, ja nek’axani.

[Traducción de A:] La gente le pregunta a ella, le preguntaron a ella, de que “¿le enseñaste a tu hijo a tejer?” y ella le respondía “no, él era pura observación de lo que yo hacía.”

[A’s translation:] People used to ask her, and her reply was, “No, he just watched me working the textiles.”

C: Pero si le preguntan.

C: So, she gets asked.

A: Sí, le preguntan. Pero enseñar, no. Entonces, lo que hace esa formación es la observación. Y como eso yo desde pequeño miraba como mi mamá lo hacía, esa formación yo casi ya la tenía en la memoria, solo que no la había puesto en practica de ahí. Cuando yo ya entré en practica de ahí me surgieron varias dudas.

A: Yes. And the answer is that she does not teach. But what shapes people is watching. And because I did it since I was a kid, the training was embedded in my memory, but it took years to put it into practice. Only when I started making things did questions start to arise.

C: Y ¿qué dicen los hermanos de Antonio, de que Antonio haya heredado las actividades de la mamá?

C: And what do his brothers say about Antonio, who inherited his mother’s activity?

ON

LY

A: A todos. Sacamos un microbús. Porque quiero que se vayan cómodos y regresen muy cómodos ¿no? Ella se siente muy satisfecha porque ella mira mis obras colgadas en lugares digamos privilegiados, por llamarlos así. Y también cuando he hecho una exposición acá más o menos cerca, ella va. Cuando las exposiciones son colectivas, pues yo voy solo. Pero cuando son exposiciones individuales pues los he llevado.

PR

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

32


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

CLARA: [Response in Tz’utujil:] Nta b’iix tre, xa tzui, ja toq nub’an ja keem, qas ki’ nuna’ ja keem.

[Traducción de A:] Ella dice que mis hermanos es como que hasta el momento, no ha escuchado comentarios de parte de mis hermanos. Hasta el momento no.

[A’s translation:] She says that, so far, she has not heard any commentaries from my brothers.

C: ¿Y qué hacen ellos?

C: And what do they do for a living?

A: El primero trabaja en el campo.

A: The oldest works in the countryside.

ON

N

C: Here in the village?

IO

C: ¿Acá en el pueblo?

LY

CLARA: [Responde en Tz’utujil:] Nta b’iix tre, xa tzui, ja toq nub’an ja keem, qas ki’ nuna’ ja keem.

A: Yes, they work with my father, who is a farmer.

C: ¿Y tú a veces ayudas con el trabajo en el campo? ¿O únicamente te dedicas al textil?

C: And, Clara, do you help with the farm? Or do you work only with textiles?

CLARA: Solo textil.

VE

RS

A: Acá, trabaja directamente con mi papá como es agricultor.

CLARA: Just textiles. A: Yes, because she has a notion that the men work the land and the women stay at home to prepare the food. Women do everything in the kitchen. It is like a mutual arrangement.

C: ¿Y entonces tú la acompañabas cuando eras el chiquito?

C: So, you were always with her when you were a little kid?

A: Sí, casi la mayor parte, porque mis hermanos eran mayores.

A: Yes. Most of the time, because my brothers are older.

C: Claro, se iban a la finca.

C: Sure. They left to work on the farm.

A: O con mi papá, o se iban a la escuela, y como yo era el último no.

A: Or went out with my father or went to school. Because I was the youngest, I stayed at home.

C: Si quedaba con la mamá.

C: With your mother.

PR EV I

EW

A: Sí, porque se tiene la concepción de que el hombre trabaja el campo, y la mujer se queda en la casa desde temprano y prepara la comida. La mujer termina las cosas de la cocina, es como algo de trabajo mutuo.

33


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

A: Yes. Something like that.

C: Claro y por eso… Bueno, yo no tengo más preguntas, pero ¿hay algo que me quieras contar sobre los textiles o sobre lo que haces? O si estas preparando los trajes para las fiestas de San Pedro. Cualquier cosa que me quieras contar ahora de lo que estás haciendo.

C: I do not have any further questions. Is there anything you want to tell me about the textiles, or about what you do, Clara? Are you working on the costume for the San Pedro festivities? Anything you want to tell me about what you are doing now.

CLARA: [Responde en Tz’utujil:] Ja kaamiik inchapoon rbaniik ja keem, kin k’u k’a nkemo wi, inmajoon sklabix, ki tziaq aachi’ii’, paas, perraj, nk’ayiij ja toq npejti ja maq’iij, nkeloq k’a ja winaqii, ma kin b’e pa k’ayiineem, xa nerurqaji, pa juujuneel, keri’ nkeb’an , ma juutij xkinek’ayiin ta, ni k’ub’i ja taq nuukeem.

CLARA: [Response in Tz’utujil:] Ja kaamiik inchapoon rbaniik ja keem, kin k’u k’a nkemo wi, inmajoon sklabix, ki tziaq aachi’ii’, paas, perraj, nk’ayiij ja toq npejti ja maq’iij, nkeloq k’a ja winaqii, ma kin b’e pa k’ayiineem, xa nerurqaji, pa juujuneel, keri’ nkeb’an , ma juutij xkinek’ayiin ta, ni k’ub’i ja taq nuukeem.

ON

LY

A: Sí, era más como eso.

RS

IO

N

34

[A’s translation:] She is working all the time, producing and preparing new stuff, waistbands, trousers, costumes like those ones [motions to a knit blanket], because when the San Pedro fair is about to start in June, people approach and look for something. So, when that happens, she already has done most of the work. For example, in May, for Mother’s Day, women’s children and husbands look for her products, to buy something like this perraje, a special gift for women that they can wear to church.

B: Es sagrado.

B: It is sacred.

A: Es sagrado, sí. Pero cuando ya entran a la iglesia se pone así [se pone el perraje sobre la cabeza]. Ahora, esto lo usan en la iglesia católica y también la iglesia evangélica, entonces la iglesia evangélica cuando se van lo utilizan de esta manera [dobla el perraje en su brazo, dejándolo caer un poco], significa que vas a la iglesia. Ahora, cuando es autorital, alguien que ocupa un cargo público, eso lo pones así, la mujer lo pone así.

A: Yes, indeed. But when they get in the church, they wear it like this [he puts the perraje on his head]. They wear it to both the Catholic and the Evangelical church. If you go to the Evangelical, you wear it this way [he folds the perraje on his arm]. But when it is worn by an authority figure who works in a public office, a woman has to wear it this way [he demonstrates another way to use the perraje].

C: ¿Pero es sólo la mujer la que usa ese?

C: But only women wear it?

PR

EV IE W

VE

[Traducción de A:] Ella todo el tiempo está trabajando, produciendo o preparando más material, fajas, pantalones, trajes como esos [señala una manta tejida] porque cuando ya llega la feria de San Pedro que es el mes de junio, la gente se acerca y mira. Ella ya tiene adelantado. Por ejemplo, en el mes de mayo es el día de las madres y generalmente las mujeres, los hijos o los esposos de muchas mujeres, la buscan para comprar un perraje como estos. Como un regalo especial a la mujer. Le regalas esto a tu mamá, a tu esposa es algo como muy especial, porque esto lo utilizan cuando van a la iglesia, por ejemplo.


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

A: Only women.

C: ¿Y tú te haces tus propios trajes, Clara?

C: And you make your own costumes, too, Clara?

A: Si. Ella hace todo porque no le va a pedir a alguien más.

A: Yes, she does. She will not ask someone else to do it.

C: No, pero de pronto, o sea, ¿este lo hiciste tú? [señala la blusa que Clara utiliza ese día].

C: But in some cases, . . . Did you make this one [points to the garments Clara was wearing], Antonio?

A: Por ejemplo, ese no este es un distial, pero es lo que, esa es una tela que ya viene, le encargan a alguien que lo hacen ¿no?

A: No. She made it. This is a distial, but is done with fabric made by someone else.

C: Pero digamos para la fiesta de San Pedro, ¿tú te haces un traje a ti?

C: But for the San Pedro festivities, do you make your own costume?

CLARA: Sí. Especial, cada año.

CLARA: Yes. Special, each year.

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

A: Sólo la mujer.

A: Yes. She has her special costumes. The details for each one change. For instance, if it is for a woman who has a religious job, in this case they use a ribbon here [motions to Clara who demonstrates how the perraje braids her hair], which drops all over this way, making it clear that she has this specific job.

C: ¿Como una trenza?

C: Like a braid?

A: Como una trenza. Hay un textil también que está trenzado.

A: Like a braid. There is also a textile that is braided.

[Clara se suelta el pelo y me muestra cómo iría la cinta en la trenza. Luego yo me despido.]

[Clara lets down her hair and shows me how she uses the ribbon in the braid. Then I say goodbye and stand up to leave.]

C: Bueno, muchas gracias. ¡Ay no! Divina ella venir a contarme, muy generosa y con Antonio también, todo, ayudarle.

C: Thanks so much! How lovely of her to come here to tell me about her work. She is very generous with you, Antonio, helping you.

A: Muchas gracias

A: Thank you

CLARA: Muchas gracias. Bueno que le vaya bien.

CLARA: Thank you very much. I wish you well.

PR EV I

EW

VE

A: Sí, tiene como sus trajes especiales. Entonces, por ejemplo, hay un detalle del traje, por ejemplo, cuando una mujer tiene un cargo religioso. En este caso acá ellos meten una cinta, [Señala a Clara quien muestra como el perraje trenza su pelo.] aquí y cae aquí, significa también que tiene como un cargo.

35


PR

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

Se descubrió el cero en la matemática un logro intelectual sorprendente, como el inicio después de la nada y el final que encierra todo, basando el cálculo no solo en los diez dedos, sino en el número veinte contando también los dedos de los pies.


PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

The zero was discovered in mathematics. It was an intellectual breakthrough, just like the beginning after nothingness and the ending that encloses everything. The calculation was based not only on ten fingers, but also on the number twenty—including the toes.

—Antonio Pichillá, 2019


38

The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ON

LY

Notions of Pattern, of Color, of Beauty

VE

RS

IO

N

Noción de patrón, de color, de belleza

EV IE W

Ja qotaqiin triij ja, Naq rnoon, ja coloriil, ja jab’eliil

PR

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

Figure 2. Antonio Pichillá, Quipo (Quipu), 2004, wood and textile, 39” x 19” x 1.5”. Image courtesy of the artist.

Everything is amorphous, confusing. I restlessly look for a bond that integrates with the environment as something singular, not codified. I struggle to give form to these transitory states. B’atz is the name of a day in the Maya calendar that means the beginning and the end, to roll and unroll, to tie and untie. The knot is the bond between beings and their beginnings; it is the union that makes it possible to continue on a certain path. The knot is the articulation between kinfolk and/or enemies that maintains a structure and at the same time creates tension between them. This bond between two or more systems also represents a closure, a forced enclosure that grasps through the ropes and that hinders that liberation of a determined gesture: the knot in the throat that submerges the voice. We are beginning a new era of the Mayan worldview, one associated with important events.14

Within the hegemonic conception of art, geometric abstraction seems to suggest a merely ornamental intention, of graceful forms discharged from symbolic responsibilities. On the


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

ON

LY

other hand, within Indigenous artistic practices, it is difficult to separate the form from the content. Antonio Pichillá’s geometric compositions are “intercultural abstractions,” which he creates using sacred and ritual elements such as candles, baskets, stones, and threads. The knots on his canvases are a reference to Mayan Shamanistic and energetic practices.

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

N

Within the Tz’utujil culture, women educate themselves through textile arts. They are taught to weave from a young age, whereas men take care of other chores. As a matter of fact, they are the only ones who wear the Tz’utujil traditional costume. Pichillá’s approach to fabrics is a legacy handed down by his mother. She is the one who taught him the techniques and uses of fabrics. His pieces are abstractions of childhood souvenirs. He remembers the times in which he would lie in his mother’s lap and see the fabrics up close, getting to know their variety of textures. These became his own wellknown geometric abstractions.

Figure 3. Antonio Pichillá’s studio, San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala, summer of 2019. Photo by María Camila Montalvo

39


40

The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

ON

LY

The artist has appropriated the traditional costume of his hometown of San Pedro La Laguna as a point of departure, as a kind of readymade that represents the relationship between mother, father, grandparents, and the transmission of legacy and knowledge to future generations.15 His Maya cosmology, which is far from the mainstream, is based on the spiritual roots of his culture.

PR

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

Pichillá’s pieces sidestep figurative art because they are linked to socioreligious experiences, which are in themselves unrepresentable. Art critic and curator Ticio Escobar’s analysis is useful here: “This is why Indigenous art is fundamentally abstract; by ignoring the demands of immediate signification, it moves much more by rhetorical constructions than by direct references.”16 For example, the work Nudo (Knot, 2012) uses the semiotic versatility of the straight, horizontal line. In Western cultures, two parallel straight lines crossed by short vertical lines symbolize a railroad track. In the Maya numbering system, the horizontal straight line means five, and each hatch mark means one.17

Color is also a symbol Pichillá uses in his work. He uses black, white, red and yellow. Maya cosmological thinking explains the four angles of the universe by relating them to specific colors.

Figure 4. Antonio Pichillá, Nudo (Knot), 2012, wood and fabric, 48” x 63”. Image courtesy of the artist.


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

The east, where the sun rises, is red. It signifies the beginning of all activity—in time and space—as well as blood. It is the light and illumination of the world that allows existence. The west, on the other hand, is black. It is identified with rest, since it is the point where the sun is hidden, offering time to repair forces and, therefore, restoring hope. The north is white and constitutes wisdom. It is the spiritual angle of the universe. It is the resting place of grandparents and those who have already passed away. It is where living beings are fed and strengthened by breath, and where the energy of humans and nature comes from. It is the space that contains the things that cannot be seen or touched. The south is yellow; it is where material goods are found, as well as all the other things that are necessary for survival. Yellow symbolizes crops. It includes all the things can be seen and touched, and it is where the rain is born. Through these last two colors, white and yellow, the Maya world also expresses duality.18

PR EV I

EW

VE

According to the Maya spiritual text, the Popol Vuh, human bones were made from white and yellow corn. Traditionally, among Maya communities, red, black, white, and yellow, apart from being the colors of corn, represent the creation the inhabitants of the world. These four colors were used for the construction of human beings: white corn for bones, yellow corn for skin, black corn for hair and eyes and red corn for blood.19

The color green is located at the center, where the other four colors intersect. Green is where all the colors come from, and where they all arrive. It signifies the origin of everything created. Green symbolizes the relationship between man and nature. It is Mother Nature. Placed at the center, green represents the neutral space where everyone can coexist.

41


42

The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

ORIENTE EAST

LY

Vida Life

r o j o

ON

kaq

r e d

verde r a x green

n b e l g a r c o k qéq

La esperanza Hope

OCCIDENTE WEST

It is interesting to note that red is placed at the top as a point of reference (fig. 5), where in Western illustrations north would normally go. The Maya worldview situates the east as the fundamental reference for life, because it is the place where the sun rises. For this reason, red is the color we have chosen to use within the curatorial framework of The Soil Speaks - La Tierra Habla - ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni. In The Soil Speaks, the use of red incorporates modes of knowledge, in sensory, intellectual, material, and written forms, of the Mayan Tz’utujil of Guatemala.

PR

piel / skin

á n

SUR SOUTH Lo material Materiality La lluvia Rain

RS

naturaleza / nature

amarillo yellow q

cabello / hair esperanza / hope

EV IE W

Muertos Death Lo espiritual The spiritual Aire Air

s blanco white a q huesos / bones

VE

NORTE NORTH

IO

N

sangre / blood

Figure 5.


La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

The Soil speaks

PR EV I

EW

VE

Figure 6. Antonio Pichillá, Lo Oculto (The hidden), 2005, wood and fabric, 25” x 25” x 9”. Image courtesy of the artist.

In her discussion of the semiotic perspective of the images, the Argentinian writer Ana María Pedroni quotes Florinda Yax, a Maya K’iche’ woman based in Totonicapán, Guatemala. Yax points out that yellow is very important for the Maya K’iche’ Peoples. Yellow symbolizes life and wisdom. It is the color of the flowers that are given when a child is born, and, metaphorically, it is incorporated into some linguistic expressions, such as “Kaán tíj,” meaning “mature or wise words.” When a person needs to face a difficult situation, someone might say that they need yellow words to emerge from their mouth—words that are correct, mature, and wise.20 According to the relationship of wisdom and yellow, Pichillá symbolizes his abuela (grandmother) with this color in his work.

43


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

44

EV IE W

VE

Most of his pieces are called “grandparents” in one form or another. In Maya culture, grandparents do not represent a limitation as they do in Western cultures; they are subjects who are annoying or talk nonsense. The titling of his work demonstrates that the artist grew up inside a cosmology that conceives of grandparents as sacred, standing in a place of authority won by wisdom and respect.21 Likewise, people in San Pedro refer to Lake Atitlán, on the shores of which the town sits, as “the Grandmother.” Since they are surrounded by the stunning view of this beautiful lake, they relate the water to the idea of wisdom inherent within the word “grandmother.”

PR

Pichillá’s artworks link contemporary Maya cultures with their ancestors: the Mayas and grandparents. It hinges around a word— “grandparents”—that has the ability to embody the idea of continuity that is so beautifully embedded within the Maya idea of time. Time, in Maya cultures, is the matrix of everything, and when Maya people talk about their grandparents, they are making reference not only to past generations, but to all generations, going back to the creators of the universe.22 Therefore, grandparents embody wisdom, the knowledge of time and nature at large.23 Knowledge of time and space—which in the end are one and the same—constitutes an important value for Mayan-Tz’utujil Peoples.

Figure 7. Antonio Pichillá, Abuela (Grandmother), 2017, yellow threads, 31.5” x 47.2”. Image courtesy of the artist.


ON

LY

ja q’iij saq ruwi’ – rumeetz’

VE

RS

IO

N

El tiempo es canoso y de pestaña clara

PR EV I

EW

Time is gray-headed and its eyelashes are white


La Tierra Habla

Space-time: Epistemological Relativism

The Mayan Tz’utujil mathematician Domingo Yojcom described to me the association between color and smell. The Tz’utujil use the phrase Chuquuq q’aq to refer to “burnt-black color.” In their language, color is associated with smell because it is related to the process by which the color is made. This process is also related to the materials they use to produce the color, which is, at the same time, connected to how they produce those materials in their community. So, this color itself implies the community’s political and economic structures, based on a specific understanding of time, space, money, and community living. Yojcom calls these differences “epistemological relativism.”

ON

N

To explain the concept of epistemological relativism, Yojcom recounts a story about an experience he had in northern Guatemala with the Mayan K’iche’ community:

PR

EV IE W

VE

RS

Tiempo-espacio: El relativismo epistemológico

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

LY

The Soil Speaks

IO

46

When we had just started working in the area, we were given another partner and appointed to visit a rural community called Laguna Chiquita. This small town, with approximately thirty families, was not registered in the national land registry—as many other communities in Guatemala are not—a fact that makes its geographical location very difficult to find. That morning we traveled to the place. The only clue we had was another community called Las Conchas (located on the roadside), where we started walking from in order to get to Laguna Chiquita. Upon arriving at Las Conchas, we asked a man who was working in a cardamom field: “Sir, could you tell us where Laguna Chiquita is?” The man, pointing with his finger, said: “The Laguna Chiquita community is three rooster crows away,”


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

and then he went back to work. At that moment, another question arose: What does that expression mean? As a physicist, I immediately thought that, if the speed of sound in the air is 340 meters per second, it would be enough to measure the time the rooster opens its beak at the time of singing, multiply it by three, and obtain the distance. But the man was definitely not talking about that; he had another reference system. When I arrived at Laguna Chiquita, I understood that he meant that we had to pass three hills, because the rooster’s crow was barely heard from the top of the first hill, and it was very unlikely one would be able to hear that same song on two consecutive hills.24

This epistemology uses knowledge derived from the daily life of a person within their community; it is about their experience. Although the man in the cardamom field did not use a specific word for either space or time, he created relationships between those ideas and something else in the environment. This fits into Indigenous education scholar Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s point about Indigenous understandings of time and space: “There are positions within time and space in which people and events are located, but these cannot necessarily be described as distinct categories of thought.”25 Yojcom questions why the use of such reference systems is devalued.26 In answer to Yojcom’s question, I again turn to Tuhiwai Smith: “Mathematics has constructed a language which attempts to define with absolute exactness the parameter, dimensions, qualities and possibilities of space.”27 She argues that the use of language establishes the patterns by which different aspects of life are perceived. In other words, while Indigenous people understand themselves in relation to the earth, Western language defines a worldview in which the earth is compartmentalized, conceiving of it as a space that can be more easily defined and measured.28

47


48

The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

LY

This conception of things in the world—space, display, relationships between humans and their territories, cultural development—is always divided between two ideas: space and time.

RS

IO

N

ON

According to the sociologist Aníbal Quijano, with the colonization of the Americas and the establishment of a word system, “a new space/time was constituted materially and subjectively: this is what the concept of modernity names.”29 This idea contrasts with the unified space-time conception in Maya epistemologies, in which time seems not to alter the course of life. For the Maya, time is malleable, like a textile, and it is accurately represented by the snake. In fact, during my visit to San Pedro La Laguna, I realized that its Mayan Tz’utujil inhabitants use Spanish words to speak about days of the week and specific hours. That is, they do not use words from their own language to refer to Western structures of time. These were the only words I could understand when they talked to each other.

PR

EV IE W

VE

Yojcom states that “epistemological relativism implies three social practices: what makes us observe (Nawal Tz’atoj), what makes us make a paradigm shift (Nawal Nuk’uj), and what makes us predict (Nawal watwachiij).”30 In this sense, the dynamics used by Maya communities to structure their knowledge have three points of reference: knowledge of nature, organizational criteria, and experiences.31 This knowledge is about the individual and their environment. In other words, the concept of distance is understood in terms of the relation of the human being to nature, to the earth. This understanding of distance creates a contrast with the Western one, which holds that distance is measurable. Tuhiwai Smith states, “What [distance] has come to stand for is objectivity, which is not measurable to quite the same extent.”32 In Western languages, it is possible to separate (or to distance) an individual from their territory; put another way, it is possible to separate Indigenous Peoples from their lands. And, in the end, this is what colonialism is. I had the opportunity to participate in a talk by Yojcom titled “El Tiempo en el Pensamiento Maya” (Time in the thought of the Maya). I was not only part of the audience, but also acted as translator for the American attendees. My work as translator made me realize, in a profound way, how important metaphors are for


La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

N IO

RS

Figure 8. Domingo Yojcom giving a talk on Mayan astronomy. The slide’s title is “Los Rostros del Tiempo / Ruwach Ruq’ij” (The faces of time). Photo by María Camila Montalvo, taken during her visit to San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala, in the summer of 2019.

ON

LY

The Soil speaks

PR EV I

EW

VE

Mayan languages. In both everyday language and aesthetic language, metaphors create new terms. For instance, time is anthropomorphized and zoomorphized to represent lapses and certain time periods. These are deities. Yojcom calls them “the faces of time.” In other words, in Mayan writing and mathematics, it is possible to “see” time. Metaphors such as “the eyes of the house” to refer to windows, “the breath of the earth” to refer to the fog, and “the book of the war” to refer to the sacred Maya text, the Popol Vuh are common.33

49


50

The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

Feliciano’s sculptures are like stelae, but of our time; he is the true Maya of the 21st century and the artist of the past and present B’ak’tun.

ON

—Benvenuto Chavajay, “Some Words about the Maya Artist’s Work,” Guatemala, 2014

RS

IO

N

Feliciano Pop is an eighty-five-year-old Mayan Tz’utujil sculptor based in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala, who has created a great legacy and is of immeasurable value to the town. He was an active politician, becoming mayor in 1985 and subsequently jailed by a tyrannical government. It is said that Don Feliciano would not allow San Pedro lands to be sold to the richest Guatemalan families and that he used to donate his salary to the town, in keeping with his socialist ideas. His contemporaries respect him and children in the town have learned from his legacy.

PR

EV IE W

VE

Ja art ma k’o ta pa rtzob’al ja Tz’utujil

LY

“Art” Does Not Exist in the Tz’utujil Language El ‘arte’ no existe en su idioma Tz’utujil

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

Don Feliciano’s house is a museum in which he shapes materials to produce different kinds of sculptures. His subjects include religious deities, masks, and portraits of famous people, such as Guatemalan and American presidents, including Barack Obama and Donald Trump. His work has a syncretic character, evidenced by its attempts to reconcile modern and Indigenous paradigms, as well as different religious and spiritual beliefs. His sculptures are found in many places in the world, but he is an unknown artist in his own country. No national collection has any of his pieces, despite his legacy. In collaboration with other artists in the town and with the support of the Guatemalan Ministry of Culture, contemporary artist Benvenuto Chavajay led the production of a documentary on Feliciano Pop, his life and his practice. In this documentary, they discuss language, people, children, and art, among other topics. The documentary constitutes a historiography of San Pedro La Laguna as seen through the artist’s eyes. Additionally, together with his collaborators, Chavajay produced a Cholq’ij-Gregorian almanac for the year 2014 that includes images of Don Feliciano’s work. Two


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

EW

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

thousand copies, printed in Tz’utujil and Spanish, were shared with Maya organizations, education centers, and the community.

PR EV I

Figure 9. Feliciano Pop in his home in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala, summer of 2019. Photo by MarĂ­a Camila Montalvo.

Currently, Don Feliciano is donating everything he earns from his sculptures to charities for children in his town. He sees his work as a daily labor. According to the Paraguayan curator Ticio Escobar, there are many questions about the aesthetic value that an Indigenous person grants to their creations. They often do not consider them works of art, but it is evident that many of their works appeal to the sensitivity of those who view them and are animated by a visceral impulse.34 Related to the structure of the community, the figures illustrate the weight of collective desires.

51


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

52

EV IE W

Generally speaking, Indigenous languages do not have a term for “art,” and the Tz’utujil language is no exception. The reason is that in the Mayan Tz’utujil community, artistic practice constitutes a socially cohesive activity; it synthesizes the collective experience. The effectiveness of Indigenous practices lies in their capacity to reinforce collective desires and create social unity.35

PR

In contemporary Western art criticism, there is an attempt to identify the social meanings and functions of abstract, symmetrical, and refined forms. Escobar relates this approach to the “conceptual” character of Western art history, in the sense that it coincides with the path established by artist Marcel Duchamp during the modernist period of art history. This is the same idea that inscribes objects with an “aura,”36 independent of their expressive or formal values. Outside the circle established by the art gallery or the museum, the urinal and the bicycle wheel do not shine, do not establish a distance, and are not exposed to the gaze; they do not hold any meaning beyond their mundane use value.37 In a similar way, when viewed outside the sacred circle of Indigenous cultures, Indigenous

Figure 10. Antonio Pichillá, Homenaje al abuelo (Tribute to grandfather), 2017, porcelain, metal, and thread, 15” x 23.6” x 13.8”. Image courtesy of the artist.


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

LY

artifacts lose their epistemological relationships. The only thing that continues to matter is their notion of space-time.

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

Within Indigenous cultures, artworks are imbued with mundane utilitarian purposes and exalted cultural purposes. They are tangled with the remnants of unknown forms that do not correspond to the Western idea of art.38 And if one’s native language has become so marked by the dominant culture that it lacks adequate concepts to name that which has been produced outside it, then there is no other choice but to force one’s own concepts.

PR EV I

EW

Figure 11. Antonio Pichillá, Un personaje llamado Martín (A character named Martín), stones, paraffin and handmade textile, 13.70” x 39.40” x 9.80”. Image courtesy of the artist.

53


PR

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

Al pasar por la puerta de tu casa te encontré haciendo tortillas y entonces cruzó por mi mente un abrazo cariñoso al cuello... de tu hermana. Cuando yo pasaba, sentada en cuclillas estabas; sola con tu jícara te encontrabas. Cuando yo pasaba, estabas observando lo alto que estaba tu ombligo. Antes cuando te quería te traía carne de armadillo, pero ahora que ya no te quiero sólo te traigo el fundillo.


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

Asííí. Bomba Jarana Yacuteca.

LY

Kaach y yaakmaneché u bak’e

ON

weech ki tasik tech belaa ma y

IO

N

yaakumaneché cheén u nej ki

VE

RS

tich’iktech Beyooo.

PR EV I

EW

— Bomba39 Yucateca

55


56

The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

So, I don’t do art, I do things that may or may not be art, and it is no longer up to me to define them. Since my parents and my people talk with the stones, with the trees, with the earth itself, they talk with everything and with all meaning.

ON

LY

The “Chunchero”: Artist, Curator, or Healer?

N

—Benvenuto Chavajay, “Soy de la generación de padres analfabetos” (I am from the generation of illiterate parents)

RS

IO

Benvenuto Chavajay calls himself a “chunchero.” It refers to chunche, which is “a common concept or notion in Guatemala that people use to describe things without value, without sense, things that have no worth.”40 He is not an artist; he is a chunchero. In fact, he is the opposite of what Western notions of an artist describe. Yooq’ (Corn tortillas, 2013-2016) were the first sculptural forms that Chavajay was exposed to, by his mother. In Mayan Tz’utujil communities, a mother gives a tortilla to a child who is

PR

EV IE W

VE

El Chunchero: ¿el artista, el curador o el sanador (curador)?

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

Figure 12. Benvenuto Chavajay, Yooq’ (Corn Tortillas), 2013-2016, clay, 6” x 2” x 2”. Image courtesy of the artist.


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

ON

LY

crying. Mothers do this in order to silence their children. Chavajay comments, “If the West has its Henry Moore and Alberto Giacometti, then I have my mother as the artist I knew.”41 Chavajay’s sculpture Yooq’ (2013-2016) represents the beginning of decolonial practice in his body of work.

RS

IO

N

The Popol Vuh, a sacred Maya text, narrates that when the first four Maya K’iche’ people were created from corn, the importance of corn was exalted. This food’s importance has been highlighted for centuries. So, through his work, Chavajay affirms where he comes from. However, a shared characteristic of Chavajay’s works that are under discussion here is that his liberating interests are not expressed literally. He does not have a clear intention for the project itself, but he does have an ambiguous desire. His pieces are confusing and contradictory and always refer to ambiguous objects, and their forms are designed to support history, not to challenge it.

PR EV I

EW

VE

In philosopher Walter Benjamin’s conception of the work of art, primitive worship is the origin of the “aura.” Benjamin argues that “even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: Its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.”42 It is this unique cultural context that he refers to as the “aura.” Within Indigenous communities, the aura of worship remains, and the place of absence allows the difference to be sustained. Traditional rituals surround both bodies and objects with an aura of absence, investing them with the power of the image. Chavajay’s work Yooq’, veiled by the aura, offers other means of complicating the everyday world, of creating folds, and of producing meanings.

57


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

58

PR

EV IE W

VE

Chavajay describes another of his works, Piedras (Stones, 2009), this way: “I put a stethoscope on a stone. What I want to hear is the throbbing and the soul of the stone, because ever since I was little, I saw my dad talking with the stone: he talked, he talked, he talked, and I didn’t understand. It was after I understood and said to myself: ‘Yes, I want to hear the soul of the stone, too,’ but through those things we call art.”43 In this case, contrary to what may be assumed according to common understandings of “art,” Chavajay does not want to intervene with the stone in order to create a sculpture. Since stones are sacred to Maya cultures, Chavajay instead contemplates the stone as it is. This is why he considers himself not a sculptor but a de-sculptor, not a painter but a de-painter.44 He listens to the stone; he remains in silence.

Figure 13. Benvenuto Chavajay, Piedras (Stones), 2009, photography, variable dimensions. Image courtesy of the artist.


PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

No es que las piedras sean mudas, solo guardan silencio. It's not that the stones are mute, they just stay in silence. —Humberto Ak’abal (Maya poet)


60

The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

After being schooled, I asked my father the meaning of “art.” My father said that there was no such thing, as the concept did not even exist. Basically, his answer was silence. From that moment, silence started to be the main focus of my work. So, then, I remembered that my father and his ancestors used to talk to the earth, the water, and the stones. So, it is not that they remain silenced because they are afraid, they do this because they are listening to earth all the time. And this is the starting point of my work.

LY

“Silence”

ON

‘Silencio’

N

Ma qa na’ tziij

RS

IO

—Benvenuto Chavajay, “Why the Indigenous Today?,” lecture, Museum of Modern Art, New York, February 20, 2019

PR

EV IE W

VE

Taking inspiration from musician John Cage’s work 4’33”, Benvenuto Chavajay also materializes silence, but in his case through ancient techniques using baked clay, emphasizing the importance of the connection between the human and the earth in Maya cultures. In relation to his work de la serie 4’33” (from the series 4’33”) (2018), Chavajay explains:

The Western world tells us that they see us with our heads bowed. Yes, that’s right, and I think of my dad, he always has his head bowed. But it’s not because he feels defeated, it’s not because of fear. It’s because he’s talking to the earth; we are talking to the earth. The earth speaks to us, we walk, and we look down because we speak with Mother Nature.45

Through poetic gestures, Chavajay touches upon aspects of the Western perception of Indigenous Peoples. However, his work reaches beyond contemporary cultural spaces, crossing the invisible border between social and artistic practices within Indigenous art (as described in the previous essay).


La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

N IO

RS

Figure 14. Benvenuto Chavajay, de la serie 4’33” (from the series 4’33”), 2018, Music stands and clay, variable dimensions, installation shot from the 14th Cuenca Biennial, Pumapungo Museum, Cuenca, Ecuador. Image courtesy of the artist.

ON

LY

The Soil speaks

PR EV I

EW

VE

In 1952, the Guatemalan long-distance runner Doroteo Guamuch Flores won the Boston Marathon. Since an American journalist couldn’t pronounce his name, it was published as “Mateo Flores.” After the Guatemalan Revolution (1944–54), the biggest Latin American soccer stadium was renamed the Estadio Nacional Mateo Flores. This came as no surprise, as racism and the influence of the United States under widespread globalization is a recognized problem in Guatemala. According to this, Doroteo Guamuch remained in silence until he died, at ninety-two years old, in 2011. In 2012, in an attempt to reverse Guamuch’s misnaming, Chavajay searched for the runner’s ID card, with the intention to use it in one of his artworks. This piece involved him getting a tattoo on his back of the ID of Doroteo Guamuch Flores, in which his real name appears. Chavajay’s project also included a proposal to change the name of the stadium from “Mateo Flores” to “Doroteo Guamuch Flores.” On August 12, 2016—a day of commemoration for the Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala—Chavajay visited congress. With a majority vote, the stadium was renamed the Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores. Now, at every Sunday game at the stadium, people hear the name Doroteo Guamuch. Chavajay has since gotten a new tattoo on his back of the decree that corrected the stadium’s name.46

61


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

PR

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

62

Figure 15. Benvenuto Chavajay, Doroteo Guamuch, 2013, performance documentation. Image courtesy of the artist.


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

ON

LY

The piece, entitled Doroteo Guamuch (2013), is a gesture to heal a wound suffered by peoples who have been silenced and excluded. Silence could be thought of as a problem, but it is also a tool for resistance. In the piece Piedras (Stones, 2009), Chavajay highlights silence as an integral part of the Mayan Tz’utujil culture. On the other hand, he is fighting against the silence that modernity has imposed on his people, under which their names and their voices are silenced.47

N

I would like to finish with a thought from the Colombian curator and researcher Catalina Lozano:

RS

IO

Real representation goes beyond the political system. The representation of Indigenous Peoples and their cultures has been taken over by the nation-states, hence not only silencing their voices but also re-writing their history in favor of nationalistic discourses.48

PR EV I

EW

VE

Hidden and submerged in the sociocultural framework, Chavajay’s work pushes against the weight of colonialism in silence, preserving the memory of his community. At the same time, the artist takes advantage of modern hegemonic art criticism, in which otherness is recognized, to make Indigenous Peoples’ voices heard. Those silences that carry too many screams have, in fact, been heard.

63


EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

Se calentará una piedra plana, envolviéndola en la planta ix koch; se pondrá muy caliente en el abdomen, sobre la piel de la persona enferma. Estas son las palabras de la curación.

PR

El carbón negro es mi símbolo. Contra el asma fuerte lo romperé sobre


PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

la espalda de Itzamcab (tierra-lagarto). Mi compañero es Suhuy-kak (fuego virgen) cuando rompo el asma fuere. ¿Quién ata su arbusto? La planta blanca mudz coc es la ligadura de su arbusto. ¡Hun Ahau! ¡Can Ahau!.

—Libros del judío, del alias de un tal Ricardo Ossado, Ritual de los Bacabes


66

The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

My reflection consists in affirming that painting is a way to erase, a way to clean, a way to heal; it is juxtaposing the color.

ON

—Benvenuto Chavajay, “Soy de la generación de padres analfabetos” (I am from the generation of illiterate parents)

RS

IO

N

Benvenuto Chavajay’s true last name is Ch’ab’aqjaay. It was adapted to the colonial language of Spanish to make it easier for non-Indigenous people to write and pronounce. The artist also uses this fact, which many people commonly experienced, as a decolonial tool related to performative and archival practices. When he was invited to New Mexico to give a talk on his practice, Chavajay found in Pueblo of Acoma mud houses of the kind that he had known in his hometown. This reminded him of how his original name, Ch’ab’aqjaay, means h’ab’aq, “mud,” and jay, “home.” Paradoxically, it was in the territory of the United States where he re-encountered the roots of his name, as well as found a way to use his body as an archive for decolonial materials. In this instance, he did not hesitate to ask a gringo (this how he refers to Americans) to give him a tattoo to accompany the Doroteo Guamuch (2013) work (discussed in the previous section) he already had inscribed on his body. The irony that arises between these two works is that a gringo erased an Indigenous name—Doroteo Guamuch—from the history ofGuatemala, but here a gringo reaffirmed Chavajay’s Indigenous name, Ch’ab’aqjaay. So, in his own words, what Chavajay is doing here is to “resist, exist, and re-exist.”49 He resists modernity, and he re-exists.

PR

EV IE W

VE

In juun k’a chi ke jar ee tatixelaa’ ja xek’eje’ ta pan atijaal

LY

Healing the Colonial Wound Sanando la herida colonial

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

The artist steps back from the culture and the vocabulary that names something that does not belong to him—the Western art canon. He has distanced himself from the subjective oppression produced by Western conceptualization to the point that he has opened up a new archive. His archive is his body. The Argentine semiotician Walter Mignolo contextualizes Chavajay’s work within the framework of “aesthetic restitution.” Mignolo refers to Chavajay’s work as “doing (thinking with hands) to heal the colonial wound.” He points out that Chavajay’s practice is, in


La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

LY

The Soil speaks

N

ON

Figure 16. Benvenuto Chavajay, Ch’ab’aqjaay’, 2014, performance, Duke University, North Carolina, USA. Image courtesy of the artist.

IO

the end, a healing practice in which he replaces Western concepts of art and aesthetics with the sacred sphere and spirituality.50

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

Given the fact that there is no word for “art” in the Tz’utujil language, I suggest that this word could be understood or even replaced by the concept of “healing.” In agreement with Mignolo, I also have the understanding that Chavajay is undertaking such a practice without any guilt. He is healed and is the healer, and he does this with pride. Even more significantly, the artist does not care if his work corresponds to Western art criteria.51 His practice uses the memories, words, noises, silences, colors, and materials of his ancestors, in an attempt to heal the colonial wound.

Figure 17. Benvenuto Chavajay, Oscars, 2018, ceramic and cloth, each 11.8” tall. Image courtesy of LIBERIA gallery, Bogotá, Colombia.

67


68

The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

During the summer of 2018, I curated the exhibition Totems & Trophies in a gallery on the Lower East Side of New York City, which featured seven Latin American artists.52 During the exhibition’s opening reception, other galleries’ in the neighborhood were presenting works of American artists. Through this experience, I perceived that, although five of the seven artists in Totems & Trophies have lived and studied in different Western countries, the subtle but powerful visual properties that distinguish their artistic practices from their North American counterparts remain present. The exhibition also included a piece by Chavajay titled Oscars (2018). It is a sculpture made with clay, which is the same material his Maya ancestors used to create ritualistic figures. The sculptures resemble Oscar statuettes, which is an American symbol and one of the most recognized trophies in the world. After the clay has dried, the artist dresses these figures in Indigenous ornamental aprons.

EV IE W

VE

By merging ancestral and Indigenous techniques to replicate a Western trophy, Chavajay points out the symbolic weight of a Western icon merged with the syncretic character of the practices inherent to his hometown. On the one hand, these pieces denounce the colonization of knowledge and, on the other, use humor as an answer to this terrible persecution. But the pieces’ forms do not accurately translate these conflicts, and do not solve them. Rather, they emphasize the conflicts by highlighting their tensions, their confrontations, their aura.

PR

In a personal conversation with Chavajay, he noted that during the same year he presented his Oscars in that New York–based gallery, the Maya actress Yalitza Aparicio received an Oscar nomination.53 These two facts, he said, are part of a new cultural framework in which artists and cultural practitioners from Indigenous communities around the world are increasingly in the international spotlight. Chavajay associates this with the Maya prophecies contained in the Books of Chilam Balam of Chumayel, which state that the k’atun cycles end in 2012.54 Many new age movements interpreted this prediction as the “end of the world.” However, as the Maya conception of time is not linear, Chavajay said, it is not possible to conceive of the “end of the world.” For Mayas, 2012 opened a new cycle: the “13 baktún,” or the cycle of hope. This corresponds to a period in which “the soil is speaking,” and therefore in which the colonial wound will heal.55


La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

The Soil speaks

PR EV I

EW

VE

Figure 18. Maya actress Yalitza Aparicio on the cover of Vogue Mexico’s December 2018 issue.

Figure 19. Benvenuto Chavajay, Oscars, 2018, ceramic and cloth, each 11.8” tall. Image courtesy of LIBERIA gallery, Bogotá, Colombia.

69


RS

IO

N

ON

LY

Soy de la generaciรณn de padres analfabetos

PR

EV IE W

VE

I am from the generation of illiterate parents


La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

RS

IO

N

ON

Eso que estoy haciendo es el gesto de que estamos retoñando, estamos retornando, pues solo nos vinieron a cubrir no a descubrir. Lo que estamos haciendo nosotros es quitar esa manta, desempolvando y estamos reconociendo muchas cosas, solo estamos quitando ese polvo y diciendo que sí, que estamos retoñando a nivel de la estética y del arte. Otros lo están haciendo de otras maneras. Un amigo está haciendo una investigación sobre la epistemología de la matemática maya, por ejemplo; hay muchas cosas que se están dando y floreciendo. Entonces el doce Baktun no es la muerte sino los que quedamos en el colador y que ya estamos retoñando.

LY

The Soil speaks

PR EV I

EW

VE

What I am doing is making the symbolic gesture that indicates that we are sprouting, we are returning, because they only came to cover us, not to discover us. What we are doing is removing that blanket, dusting it off, and recognizing many things. We are only removing that dust and saying yes, we are being reborn at the level of aesthetics and art. Others are doing it in other ways. A friend is doing research on the epistemology of Mayan mathematics, for example. There are many things that are happening and flourishing. Then the 13 baktún is not death; it is about those who remain in the strainer and who are already sprouting.

—Benvenuto Chavajay, “Soy de la generación de padres analfabetos” (I am from the generation of illiterate parents), 2018

71


ON

LY

Ja Kumuk pa Tzunun Ya’.

VE

RS

IO

N

Ja kumuk jari’ jun k’olb’al, ja nuya’ retaal, chi tri’ nuuk’ulb’i rii’ ja kiji’ nimaq taq achoq’aaq ja chapo yoon rxiin ja kaaj.

PR

EV IE W

Wawee’ k’a nub’een wi juun ja kaaj, ja rwach’uleew k’in ja xib’alb’a. Ja kumuk, jari’ k’a ja retaal ja rnik’ajaal ja tinamit, retaal chaqajaa’ jar b’ar ntzukar to wi’ ja k’aslemaal.


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

ON

LY

Conversation with Domingo Yojcom Conversación con Domingo Yojcom D.Y: Domingo Yojcom

(Esta conversación ha sido editada para mayor claridad )

On the kumuk project in San Pedro La Laguna.

IO

Sobre el kumuk en San Pedro la Laguna.

(This conversation has been slightly edited for clarity and length)

N

C.M: Camila Montalvo

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

D.Y: Bueno, entonces vamos a ver dónde está…[se refiere al archivo de la presentación del proyecto que tiene guardado en su computador] Te decía que cuando, hablando de sincretismo religioso era muy importante para las comunidades Mayas, el paso del sol por el cenit. Porque el sol es un referente importante dentro de todo el pensamiento y sobre todo dentro de la astronomía. En muchas comunidades lo que hacían era poner artefactos que podían registrar ese paso del sol por el cenit, uno de ellos era la cruz, la cruz que se colocaba en diferentes lugares. La gente lo que hacía en esa época, era como hacer sonar cualquier cosa que tenía ruido, es decir, podían ser tecomates, como podía ser un pedazo de hierro. A manera que era para celebrar ese paso del sol por el cenit y eso sucedía el 3 de mayo. Entonces para nosotros aquí en San Pedro, la cruz sería como un marcador de tiempo. Pero cuando vino la iglesia católica, esta transforma toda esa festividad en el día de la santa cruz. Para la gente, la cruz Maya siempre había existido, pero a manera de no entrar como en contradicción con el Español, entonces había que poner la cruz católica. Y se convirtió entonces en un referente no para esta comunidad sino para muchas comunidades.

D.Y: Well. Let’s check where it [the project presentation on his computer] is . . . If we are talking about religious syncretism, the sun reaching its zenith was very important for Maya communities. It is a significant reference within the whole thinking system and, moreover, within astronomy. Many communities used artifacts to trace the passage of the sun to its zenith. One of them was the cross, which was located in different places. What people used to do back then was to make sounds with everything that could generate noise, from tecomates to pieces of iron. In this way they celebrated the sun’s zenith on May 3. So, the cross is a time marker for us who live in San Pedro. But when the Catholic Church arrived here, it transformed this festivity into the Festival of the Crosses. For our peoples, the Maya cross has always existed. But a strategy to avoid contradicting the Spaniards was to use the Catholic cross. Then it became a reference not only for this community, but for many.

73


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

What happened here in San Pedro was precisely that—the kumuk. We inaugurated it on June 21, 2018. Only months later, on May 3, 2019, did we go to put out these candles. There, in the brotherhood of the cross, they decorated this spot. These are the flowers of a meaningful tree. There is a ritual around it. They make a flower necklace. But the most interesting fact is that they came to salute the zenith as they used to. This was not planned. And seeing all the Elders there made my eyes water.

C.M: Están con el traje ceremonial típico y todo [digo refiriéndome a las fotos que Domingo me mostraba mientras me hablaba].

C.M: I can see that they are even wearing the ceremonial costume. [I said regarding the photographs Domingo was showing me while talking to me] .

D.Y: Sí, todo todo. Es que ellos son los mayores del pueblo. Les llaman los principales del pueblom y estos señores de acá son los señores que son de la Acción Católica. Porque en la época de la colonia también la Acción Católica jugó un rol importante en la organización de la iglesia. Y se convierte como el vínculo entre lo que sería los requerimientos de la iglesia católica, versus lo que las tradiciones de la comunidad entendían como sus prácticas. Y entonces escucharlos a ellos ese día, escuchar a este señor y a este otro señor… pues sí. Entonces yo digo no es una locura que se haya vuelto a hacer esto. Para mí esto no es una escultura, deja de tener esa parte visual, sino que ya comienza a jugar un rol más espiritual. ¿Por qué? porque no es que lo diga yo, y es que tampoco yo pagué a esta gente. Es que la gente comienza a retomar nuevamente las practicas ancestrales y eso a mí me parece súper importante.

DY: Yes. They are the village Elders. They are called the “principals of the village,” and these people in this part of the photograph belong to Catholic Action. During colonial times, this organization played an important role in the configuration of the church. It became a link between the requirements of the church and what the community understood as its traditions. Listening to these people on this day—this man, this other one... Well. I have to say it is not by accident that this happened again. I do not consider this [the kumuk] a sculpture. The visual aspect becomes secondary, and a more spiritual role appears. Why? It is not because I say so, or because I am paying these people. People picked up ancestral practices spontaneously, and I find that very important.

ON

LY

Lo que pasó aquí en San Pedro es que justamente esto (el kumuk) lo inauguramos un 21 de junio del 2018. Pasados ya meses, el año pasado cuando llegó el 3 de mayo, nosotros solo fuimos a poner estas velas. Ahí, en la cofradía de la Santa Cruz, ellos son los que adornaron esta parte. Porque estas flores son flores de un árbol muy importante. Hay todo un rito detrás de eso. Hacen un collar de flores. Pero la parte más interesante fue que ellos llegaron justamente para saludar el cenit como se hacía antes. Entonces es algo no planeado, algo no estructurado. Pero ver a todos los ancianos, entonces yo casi lloraba ese día.

PR

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

74

Y entonces ahora si me preguntas cuál es la mayor satisfacción que tengo, quizás la primera, es haber

If you ask me what my greatest fulfillment is, maybe the biggest is to have erected this and the fact they gave me the space. But what happens next will be even bigger. So, yes—I can say people


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

appropriated the kumuk. They appropriated the original meaning of the kumuk for the Tz’utujil system of thought. Proof of this is the fact that people kept saluting the sun, even for years after this space had disappeared.

C.M: Tú me puedes contar sobre la imagen de unas coordenadas en google maps, el mapita que tiene algunas ecuaciones matemáticas. Quisiera saber qué punto indica esa imagen y cómo has llegado a ese punto exacto (el punto donde se construyó el kumuk). ¿Me podrías explicar de una manera un poco cómo fue que llegaste a ese punto matemático exacto? Y, ¿cómo encontraste luego que eso ya había existido en el San Pedro ancestral?

CM: Can you tell me more about the image of a set of coordinates in Google Maps—the small map that has some mathematical equations written on it? I would like to know what this image is showing, and how you reached that exact location, where the kumuk was built. Could you explain to me how you found this mathematical spot? Then, how did you find out that this ritualistic spot had already existed in ancient San Pedro?

D.Y: Bueno, yo creo que el curador y el matemático hacen cosas muy parecidas. Un curador lo que busca son patrones en las piezas del artista. El matemático lo que busca son patrones en los fenómenos. Cuando yo leí un texto de León Portilla, un filólogo mexicano, él escribe en una parte de su libro que el pensamiento Maya tiene cinco puntos, tiene cinco direcciones. Entonces uno creería que las direcciones serían como los cuatro cuadrantes que él menciona, pero entonces me quedé pensando ¿y entonces cual será el quinto cuadrante? o ¿dónde estará el quinto cuadrante?. Cuando me hice esa pregunta, me llevó a pensar en otras posibilidades de poder entender el pensamiento de León Portilla, y por esa razón es que…el mundo parece estar dividido en 5 direcciones. Cuando León Portilla menciona eso, pues inmediatamente yo estaba pensando ¿qué es lo que quiso decir el hombre? hasta después que entendí que la quinta dirección del mundo, a la que él se estaba refiriendo, es la dirección en donde convergen las otras cuatro.

DY: I think a curator and a mathematician undertake similar tasks. A curator looks for patterns in the artworks of an author. A mathematician looks for patterns in phenomena. Miguel León-Portilla, a Mexican philologist, wrote in one of his books that Maya thinking has five points, five directions. So, you might think these directions would match the four quadrants of north, south, east, west. But then I kept thinking: Which is the fifth quadrant? Where is it? When I asked myself that question, I thought about other possibilities of understanding León-Portilla’s thinking, and why the world seems to be divided into five directions. When León-Portilla points out, immediately I thought, “What is he trying to say?” It took me a while to understand that this fifth direction of the world is where all the other ones come together.

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

levantado esto y que me hayan cedido el espacio. Pero lo que pasa después es la mayor satisfacción. Y entonces sí puedo decir que la gente se apropió del kumuk. Del sentido original que tenía el kumuk dentro del pensamiento de los Tz’utujiles. Y la prueba de ello es que la gente, ya ha pasado muchos años de haber desaparecido de este espacio, volvieron a saludar al sol.

75


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

CM: So, you mean the fifth quadrant is the zenith? Where people salute the sun?

D.Y: Entonces cuando él se estaba refiriendo a la quinta dirección del mundo, se estaba refiriendo a la parte espiritual de todo el pensamiento. Y ¿qué es esa parte espiritual? Aquí viene la explicación en torno a esto. Esa parte espiritual no es más que la esencia de todo el pensamiento. Y entonces yo decía que si bien es cierto los Mayas tenían una parte espiritual, entonces ¿cómo esa parte espiritual podía ser reflejada ya en la vida real?

DY: What he means when he is talking about the fifth direction of the world is the spiritual realm of the entire system of thought. What is that spiritual realm? Well, this spiritual part is nothing more than the essence of all thinking. So, I said that, although it is true that the Maya had a spiritual part, how might it have been reflected in real life?

ON

LY

C.M: O sea, ¿el quinto cuadrante es el cenit? ¿es donde se saluda al sol?

IO

N

76

I started using Google Maps to explore the villages that were established in colonial times, between 1528 and 1578. In this period, lots of churches were erected, and curiously the places where the centers of power were located match León-Portilla’s four physical quadrants.

Y entonces yo lo que hice fue determinar con Google Maps dónde estaban los poblados y dónde está el centro, o donde estaba la iglesia más importante. Vemos a San Pedro la Laguna en Google Maps, vamos a repasar el mismo fenómeno, tiene cuatro sectores. Y uno dice ¿eso es casual? Otra vez se repite el fenómeno. Entonces el fenómeno se va repitiendo y entonces me puse a analizar ¿qué era este punto?, el punto espiritual. Pero más que el punto espiritual era el punto energético más importante en la época.

With Google Maps, I established the location of the settlements and the center, or where the most important church was located. When we see San Pedro La Laguna in Google Maps, we notice the same phenomenon: it has four sectors. You might ask yourself, is it just a coincidence? But the pattern keeps repeating, and I analyzed that this point corresponds to the spiritual one. But more than the spiritual, it was the most important energetic field in historical times.

Y aquí había familias, y lo que hacían antes es que ponían como una especie de cruz, también aquí una cruz pequeña [señala una cruz en una foto del pueblo]. Esa cruz no mira para fuera, mira para adentro, claro, mira al sol. Pasó en muchos pueblos en Mesoamérica, siempre había una cruz. Pero no era una cruz realmente, esta ya fue modificación cristiana, porque la base era toda la estructura Maya.

There were families and what they used to do was to put a kind of cross there. Here is a small cross [he points to a cross on his computer's screen]. It was placed looking upward, to the sun. It happened in many villages in Mesoamerica. There was always a cross. But in fact, it was not a cross. This was the Christian modification—the foundation was the whole Maya structure.

PR

EV IE W

VE

RS

Entonces comencé a indagar por Google Maps de los pueblos que fueron fundados en la época de la colonia. Estamos hablando de 1528 y 1578. En esa época fue cuando se fundaron muchas iglesias, y curiosamente la posición donde estaban los centros de los poblados en esa época, coinciden con estos cuadrantes de Portilla.


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

CM: Regarding collective creation, these photos you are showing me feature lots of people who helped you to build the kumuk. You were telling me that some donated money, materials, and manpower. I am interested in the procedure where everyone kept objects inside the kumuk, as if it were an omen. Was it a sort of good luck rite? I don’t understand it.

D.Y: No, eso es una ofrenda.

DY: No. That is an offering.

N

ON

LY

C.M: Y en cuanto a la creación colectiva, esas fotos que me muestras de un montón de gente del pueblo que te ayudó a construir el kumuk. Me contabas que hubo gente que puso dinero, otra gente puso materiales, otra gente puso mano de obra. Y luego me interesa el proceso en el que todos metieron objetos adentro de kumuk como si fuese como un agüero. ¿Es como un ritual de buena suerte?, eso no lo entendí muy bien.

CM: And to whom was the offering given?

D.Y: Si, la noción de lo espiritual y lo sagrado es una construcción social. Y aquí estoy de acuerdo con Peter L. Berger y Thomas Luckmann, que la construcción social no es la realidad. Realmente para nosotros es un sentir colectivo. Las comunidades Mayas tenían ese sentir colectivo bien arraigado. Y en cada construcción que se hacía, independientemente de si sería una casa agrande o chica, siempre había que dejar una ofrenda. Y la ofrenda era como sinónimo de decir que estamos en sintonía con la tierra. Pero cuando se trata de un artefacto o de un centro espiritual, era más evidente la intensidad, la intención era mucho mayor. Entonces lo que ellos hicieron es que había seis cofradías, cada cofradía es como una especie de jarro que es lo que está aquí en la foto.

DY: The notion of the spiritual and sacred is a social construct. Here I agree with Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann when they state that a social construct is not the reality itself. For us, it is a communal feeling, which was strongly rooted in Maya communities. In every building, regardless of its size, you had to give an offering, which was a symbol that we are attuned with the earth. But when the offering was related to an artifact or a spiritual center, the intensity was more apparent. The intention was greater. They had six chests—kind of jars, as you can see in this picture.

C.M: ¿O sea fundieron el concreto encima de cada jarro? No entiendo.

CM: Did they cover each one with concrete? I do not understand.

D.Y: Si, entonces eso esta así. Se dejó acá dentro y después de dejar todas las ofrendas. Ahí están las ofrendas, se tapó y se puso aquí otra piedra encima, se tapó con cemento. Entonces adentro hay una gran riqueza. Bueno, si lo vemos desde un punto de vista económico tiene mucho valor, pero

DY: Yes, and that is how they left them. These are the offerings, and they were covered. A rock was placed on top and it was all sealed with concrete. So, inside there is wealth. From an economic standpoint, it has a high value, but what must be highlighted is the intention people have when they

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

C.M: ¿Una ofrenda a qué, específicamente hacia qué?

77


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

offer something. What was the intention when the kumuk was built? They wanted a healthy village and to keep social problems out.

C.M: Claro, entonces por eso trabajan todos, como es una forma de unirse y de fortalecerse como comunidad.

CM: Sure. So that is the reason everybody works on it. It is a way to unite and strengthen the community.

N

ON

LY

más que la riqueza económica que vemos ahora, la riqueza es la intención que tiene la gente cuando deposita ahí. ¿Cuál era la intención en este momento cuando se construyó? La intención era que se quería tener un pueblo sano y un pueblo que estuviera alejado de los problemas sociales, esa era la intención que tenía.

D.Y: Es decir que como eso se construye, se deposita acá. Por eso se cuida, pero el cuidado es recíproco. Yo lo cuido también me cuida, en esa lógica está. Y eso fue la lógica que yo usé. Por eso mismo si tú ves aquí cuando se depositan las ofrendas, este es el cura y fue él quien depositó también su ofrenda. Entonces yo lo invité y él dijo ‘por supuesto yo voy a traer mi ofrenda, yo lo quiero dejar ahí’.

DY: The reason why it is deposited here is because the kumuk was built. That is why it is looked after, and the care is mutual. The logic is: if I look after it, it will look after me. And I subscribe to that logic. That is why, if you look carefully at this photograph, when the offerings are being deposited, there is a priest, and he also gave an offering. I invited him, and his reply was, “Of course. I am going to bring my offering and leave it there.”

C.M: También me interesa la carga espiritual. El peso espiritual que tiene cada uno de los objetos y desde donde están pensados. Que no es desde la misma postura que lo piensa…

CM: I am also interested in the spiritual burden. The spiritual burden that each object has and how they are understood.

D.Y: Entonces tienes que explicar el sentido de eso, el sentido es un sentido más espiritual, pero es un sentido que tiene esa función … Entonces lo que hay que entender, lo que la gente debe entender es que más que un símbolo es el sentido real y el sentido es lo que yo te había contado hace un momento, la gente le deposita esa fe de protección a lo que está aquí adentro y esta fe atrapada, congelada aquí adentro también lo que se espera, o lo que la comunidad espera es que refleje también esa protección. Eso.

DY: You must explain the meaning of this, which is more spiritual. But despite that, it has a function. So, what you have to understand, what people should understand, is that it's a sense of the real that transcends the symbolic. People put their faith and their desire for protection in what is inside here. And what people expect is the protection of that enclosed and frozen faith.

C.M: Muy bien, me encanta, ¿hay algo que quieras que te parecería importante que debería estar ahí?

CM: Very good. I love this. Is there something meaningful you think must be there?

PR

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

78


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

DY: Yes. It is what people cannot see. Let me explain. People do not see astronomy in the kumuk. They see an object for a rite. But I do not see it that way. In fact, I see it from an astronomical perspective.

C.M: ¿Tu tenías una relación con Dios? Eso me interesa, ¿Qué decías?

CM: Did you have a relation to God? This interests me.

D.Y: Si, porque para mí hoy en día esto está jugando tres roles: el espiritual, lo astronómico, pero también tiene un rol geopolítico. Y dentro de lo espiritual tenemos que entender la espiritualidad desde una visión un poco más holística, que puede concebirse al kumuk como un símbolo de esa espiritualidad que hay en el pueblo. Pero también puede entenderse como el centro de una energía cósmica, o puede entenderse desde el pensamiento como esa esencia del pensamiento y del misticismo también que maneja el pueblo. Podemos verlo así. Pero curiosamente el cura tiene su lectura, es religioso, es cristiano, tiene su mirada. Entonces el religioso ve el kumuk como el escudo de la religión católica. Esta es la explicación que yo escucho del cura. El cura que yo te mostré. Y no se si la gente lo diferencia o no sé si la gente está más confundida. Lo que si es cierto es que hay dos discursos en torno a un mismo objeto, que es la cosa más impresionante que puede haber, hasta podría haber más. Para mí eso es el sincretismo.

DY: Yes. Nowadays this plays three roles: a spiritual, an astronomical, and a geopolitical one. Within the spiritual, we have to understand spirituality from a holistic point of view, through which we can view the kumuk as a symbol of the village spirituality. But it also can be understood as the center of a cosmic energy, or as the essence of thought and the mysticism embedded in the village. We can see it that way. But more interesting is the priest’s point of view. He sees the kumuk as a shield for Catholicism. The priest I already showed you in the photos. And I do not know if people can see the difference or if they are even more confused. What is certain is that there are two discourses on the same object, which is impressive, and it could be more than two. I would say this is syncretism.

C.M: si podrían haber más, pues podría haber más como escultura o monumento, por ejemplo.

CM: There could be more, indeed. Sort of like what happens with sculpture and monuments.

D.Y: Si por la visión del artista. Y desde el punto astronómico, para mi es tan importante porque lo que antes mencionaba hace un momento…. El kumuk significa el origen, pero también como que el final de algo. Este centro de los cuadrantes que, antes de la venida de los españoles, era el marcador de tiempo.

DY: Yes, depending on the artist’s perspective. And the astronomical point of view is important for me, as I was telling you. The kumuk signifies the origin, but also a sort of end of something—the center of the quadrants that, before the arrival of the Spaniards, was a time marker.

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

D.Y: Si, lo que la gente no ve. Yo te voy a explicar lo que la gente no ve. La gente no ve la astronomía ahí. Ve un objeto. Ve como un objeto para hacer un culto, un rito, pero yo no lo veo así. De hecho, yo lo veo más en este aspecto: en el aspecto más astronómico.

79


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

It was the moment to sow their fields. Given we did not have the Gregorian calendar, we did not know when May started. Yes, here we have heavy rains in May, but how people could know the month had begun? It was very important for them to have these references; there is only one day the kumuk does not cast a shadow, and that is the zenith.

Entonces se vuelve un marcador, ¿y que tiene que ver eso con la lluvia? porque solo después de que el sol pasa por el cenit comienza a llover en esta región. Entonces se vuelve un marcador de tiempo.

This way it becomes a time marker. But what does this have to do with rain? Well, only after the sun reaches its zenith does the rain begin to fall in this region.

C.M: Y la lluvia cae en las cosechas, provee alimento, etc…

CM: And rain brings with it the beginning of sowing, food…

D.Y: Entonces tenemos ese punto y los otros cuatro puntos que indican los solsticios y equinoccios. Pero entonces necesitamos un referente. Es como la función astronómica de manera muy simple, y claro, el kumuk está como también alineado lo que pasa con los solsticios. Es la diferencia entre la inclinación de 90 grados que es cuando en ese momento no se proyecta sombra. Eso sucede tanto en los equinoccios como en los solsticios. Ese momento era tan importante, como lo era también importante en este otro punto que era el nadir. Porque los abuelos sabían que el sol cuando estaba aquí era muy evidente. Entonces se celebra el día de muertos, el 2 de noviembre.

DY: So, we have this point, and the other four, which indicate the solstices and the equinoxes. But still, we need a reference. It is like an astronomical function in a simple way, and of course the kumuk is aligned with the solstice. It shows the difference between the ninety-degree angle, when no shadow is cast. This happens both at the solstice and equinox. This moment was as important as the nadir, another of the sun’s points in the sky, directly below the observer. The Elders knew when the sun was here, because it was very apparent. On November 2, the Day of the Dead is celebrated.

C.M: Que es dos días después… no, Halloween, dos días después de Halloween. ¿Tiene algo que ver con Halloween o no? ¿conceptualmente tiene una especie de relación?

CM: Which is two days after Halloween. Does Halloween have something to do with the Day of the Dead? Is there a conceptual relationship?

D.Y: Si, es dos días después de Halloween. La iglesia católica por su lado ¿qué fue lo que hizo?, sobre

DY: Yes, it is two days after Halloween. What the Catholic Church tried to do was to instate

ON

LY

Porque aquí era cuando se comenzaba a sembrar. Como no teníamos un calendario Gregoriano, no sabíamos exactamente cuando pasaba mayo. Aquí comienza a llover fuerte en Mayo, pero como no había Mayo, entonces ¿cómo hacia la gente? Para la gente era muy importante tener estos referentes porque justamente existe un día en que el kumuk no proyecta sombra, y es justamente ese día cuando el sol pasa por el cenit.

PR

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

80


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

All Saints’ Day on November 1. But here, nobody rests on that day. Everybody does it on November 2.

C.M: Que es el día de los muertos.

CM: Which is the Day of the Dead.

D.Y: Que es el día de los muertos. Entonces a esta gente de aquí no le importan los santos, le importan los muertos.

DY: Exactly. People here are not interested in the saints. They care about the dead.

C.M: Claro, que son los ancestros, que son los sabios.

CM: Sure. They are their ancestors, the wise ones.

D.Y: Y eso, el día de muertos, está justamente vinculado con este otro culto. Cuando el sol se pone en el nadir, entonces ellos sabían precisamente el momento. Es decir, si alguien me pregunta cuál es el momento más oscuro del año, pasaría aproximadamente el 2 de noviembre. Porque es justamente cuando el sol esta acá. Eso pensando en nosotros, en la posición. Porque nosotros estamos en Centroamérica, yo no estoy hablando de Sur América y Norte América. Estoy pensando en la posición nuestra, porque estamos casi en el ecuador en esta lógica.

DY: And the Day of the Dead is linked with this other cult. When the sun sets and reaches its nadir, they knew when that precise moment was. This means, if someone asks me which is the darkest time of the year, it would be around November 2, because that is the moment when the sun is here. Bear in mind where we are located—this is Central America, and I am not talking about North or South America. I am considering our location, which is close to the equator.

EW

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

todo en el pensamiento de esta región. La existencia de día de santos, que es el 1 de noviembre, pues realmente es…Querían colocar el día de todos los santos, pero aquí en esta región nadie descansa el 1 todos descansan el 2.

PR EV I

Bueno es eso, desde el punto de vista astronómico pues entonces… ya cuando yo hice, si ves el dibujo esta todo mal. Yo lo dibujé, lo hice en escala en el 2018, pues eran mis primeros dibujos. Y todo esto tenía que llevar números.

From the astronomical point of view, well . . . I did it, and if you look thoroughly at these drawings, everything is wrong. I drew them in 2018, and I used scales, because they were my first drawings. And they had to include numbers.

C.M: Claro, los ciclos.

CM: Right. The cycles.

D.Y: Los ciclos, la altura de las piedras, estos tenían 20 cm, de acá hasta este punto [señala las proporciones en altura del kumuk] tiene 260 cm de altura.

DY: The cycles, the height of the stones. They were twenty centimeters from here to this point [he points to the height of the kumuk], and they are 260 centimeters tall.

81


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

CM: Which corresponds to the 260 days of the calendar.

D.Y: Y las 7 gradas representa la familia. Entonces, si tenía que ver ese punto, pero ya luego la parte desde el punto de vista geopolítico, es que ahí en ese punto… En el “Popol Vuh” había 4 familias importantes, por eso hay 4 colores en la cosmovisión Maya. Y cada familia tenía un color. Bueno, son como equipos. El equipo de los rojos, de los amarillos, de los blancos y de los negros

DY: And the seven tiers represent family. Now, I am going to talk about the geopolitical standpoint. In the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya K’iche’, there are four important families. That’s why there are four colors in Maya cosmology— each one is related to a family. The red, yellow, white, and black teams.

C.M: Mira que eso no sabía. Lo que te decía de las divisiones según el norte, el sur, el oriente y el occidente, tiene que ver con lo mismo ¿no? Entre los rojos, los amarillos, los blancos y los negros…. Con los rojos…. (ver figura 5).

CM: I did not know that. What I was telling you about the divisions according to north, south, east and west intersects with what you are telling me, right? With the red, yellow, white and black. For example, with the red ones. (see figure 5).

D.Y: sí, es más, esto corresponde a una energía. ¿Porqué? Por que el rojo está ligado con el fuego más que con la sangre… ¿porque es tan importante el rojo? El rojo es la representación visual del sol.

DY: Yes. And moreover, this is about an energy. Why? Because red is linked with fire, more than with blood. Why is it so important? Because red is the visual representation of the sun.

Entonces el kumuk sería la zona neutral, si lo quieres ver así. Es el territorio de nadie, es el territorio donde puede haber cualquier manifestación. De los rojos, de los blancos, de los amarillos y de los negros. Por eso se vuelve tan importante, porque es el territorio neutral. Es el territorio donde se generan los diálogos.

Then that makes the kumuk a neutral zone, if you want to see it that way. It is no one’s land, the territory where any manifestation can take place. Of the red, the white, the yellow, and the black ones. This is why it becomes so relevant. Because it is neutral and is a place where dialogue emerges.

ON

LY

C.M: Que son los 260 días del calendario

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

82

PR

Los abuelos tenían siempre la costumbre de hablar alrededor del fuego, porque el fuego se convierte justamente en ese punto, el territorio neutral. Entonces la gente se pone alrededor, pero es metafórico eso que estoy hablando. Ahora este punto, el kumuk, no es metafórico. Es un punto físicamente visible. Ese punto era tan importante, porque solo en ese punto las comunidades podían converger. Solo en ese punto, el entendimiento podía ser más transparente. Pero ese es energético, no lo veo, sólo lo siento.

The Elders had the custom of talking around the fire, because precisely fire becomes the neutral territory. People surround the fire, but it is all metaphoric. Now, the kumuk is not metaphoric at all. It is a visible, physical place. It is important, it is where the communities could come together. Only here can understanding become the clearest. That is why it is energy. I do not see it—I feel it.


LY ON N IO RS VE EW

PR EV I

Figure 20. The kumuk in front of the town's church . San Pedro La Laguna , Guatemala. Image courtesy of Domingo Yojcom.


84

The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

El pedernal rojo es la sagrada piedra de Ah Chac Mucen Cab. La Madre Ceiba Roja, su Centro Escondido, está en el Oriente. El chacalpucté es el árbol de ellos. Suyos son el zapote rojo y los bejucos rojos. Los pavos rojos de cresta amarilla son sus pavos. El maíz rojo y tostado es su maíz (…) La gran Abeja Roja es la que está en el Oriente. Las flores de corola roja son sus jícaras. La flor encarnada es su flor.

ON

LY

A Conclusion— It’s About a Worldview La conclusión: Es sobre una cosmovisión

PR

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

The red flint stone is the stone of the red Mucencab. The red ceiba tree of abundance is his arbor which is set in the east. The red bullet-tree is their tree. The red zapote. . . . The red vine. . . . Reddish are their yellow turkeys. Red toasted [corn] is their corn. The red wild bees are in the east. A large red blossom is their cup. The red Plumeria is their flower.

—Los libros de Chilam Balam de Chumayel (TheBooks of Chilam Balam of Chumayel)56

From the beginning of history, non-Western societies have created meaning through the manipulation of their materials, blending shapes and functions, aesthetics and politics, by means of practices immersed in the daily life of the people.57 All these gestures and objects have strengthened social meanings that extend beyond the global contemporary art realm. Latin America embodies a powerful historical presence, both a complex environmental and geographic landscape, and a place of resistance. Changes in the region’s contemporary socioeconomic realities and new developments in scholarship in the last years have served to incorporate Indigenous contemporary art into mainstream curatorial frameworks.


The Soil speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

N

ON

LY

However, in order to distinguish the cultural practices of a particular segment of society, it is necessary to be aware of the place it occupies in the social and political structure and in the cultural network. Language, religion, and historical consciousness have to be taken into account. This includes Indigenous heritage, the colonial experience, modes of living under geographical and cultural marginalization, and ritualistic images and symbols. Additionally, the self-definitions of Indigenous Peoples established from their cultural singularity must be considered. All of this is what I mean when I use the term “worldview.”

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

Geographically and politically considered, Indigenous cultural practices emerge from both a position of a collective reality and the process by which that position symbolically elaborates the current socioeconomic situation of Indigenous Peoples around the world. Therefore, within Indigenous contemporary art, community becomes fundamental. Indigenous art refers to a set of practices that is inextricable from a strong community, able to produce its own symbols according to collective demands and shared awareness. According to postcolonial theorist Bagele Chilisa, decolonization is a process of positioning the concerns and worldviews of the colonized “others” to open up space for the understanding of their own assumptions and perspectives.58 Within the Maya Tz’utujil worldview, the past lies ahead and the future lies behind. This contradicts Western paradigms in which the future is ahead. According to Mayan Tz’utujil artist Benvenuto Chavajay, this implies that the idea of utopia has been left behind, and, therefore, the cultural practices of the Mayan Tu’tujil are not utopic.59 Decolonization within the art field happens when new ways of comprehending the structures of Western contemporary art emerge. Indigenous contemporary art practices give the museum a new way to see itself. They offer new ways to write the curatorial text. They provide an entire worldview from which a new mode of art criticism can be executed. These new ways are what decolonization is. It is no utopia. In Spanish, the word curador (curator) comes from the verb curar, which means “to heal.” And it is a fact that, in Latin American contemporary art, curators have been accomplishing

85


86

The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

PR

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

their roles as healers by opening up spaces for the voices of the ‘other’ voices that otherwise would not be heard. Since the curatorial framework of The Soil Speaks has been collaboratively conceived, I am not sure who is the healer and who is being healed here. To me, this process has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, by which decolonization is taking place not only in the Western institution where this project is being presented, but also in my mind. The Soil Speaks - La Tierra Habla - ja rwach’ulef ntz’ijoni is not only a space that serves as a transfer point for knowledge anchored to Indigenous practices and worldviews, but it is also a space where the wounds of colonial practice can begin to heal.


LY ON N IO RS VE EW

PR EV I

Figure 21. Antonio Pichillá, Golpes y sanación (Blows and Healing), 2016, oil on canvas whipped with a rope made of Maguey (accompanied by an audio), 47” x 63". Image courtesy of the artist.


88

The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

ON

LY

Blows and Healing Golpes y

PR

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

Sanación

Figure 22. Antonio Pichillá, Golpes y sanación (Blows and Healing), 2018, video, 3’39’’ Image courtesy of the artist.


La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

The Soil speaks

89


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

About the soul:

Podríamos decir que el alma es esa energía que nos mueve. La esencia que no se ve, pero se siente (emociones y sentimientos) - esa parte intangible pero poderosa que mueve al ser humano a accionar de forma positiva o negativa.

The soul is an energy that sets us in motion, an unseen essence that can be felt (emotions, feelings), the intangible but powerful force that moves humans to react either positively or negatively. The soul manifests itself when a person becomes sad, falls in love, gets angry, cries, screams, laughs, and even hates. When the soul becomes “sick,” its energy is unbalanced, the result is its physical manifestation in “psychosomatic” ailments, (headaches, leg cramps, back pain). These imbalances can lead also to anxiety, depression, migraines, and a lack of inner peace, all caused by traumatic experiences such as accidents, rapes, family problems, and love sickness.

RS

IO

N

El alma se manifiesta cuando la persona se pone triste, se enamora, se enoja, llora, grita, ríe y hasta odia. Cuando el alma esta “enferma”, su energía se desequilibra y puede desarrollar lo que se conoce como las enfermedades psicosomáticas (dolor de cabeza, piernas, espalda), manifestaciones físicas del alma. El desequilibrio genera ansiedad, depresión, migraña o falta de paz interior a causa de hechos del pasado, como accidentes, violaciones, problemas intra-familiares y mal de amores.

LY

Sobre el alma:

ON

90

PR

EV IE W

VE

En la tradición Maya existen ceremonias que reestablecen el equilibrio de la energía y sanan los traumas del pasado, las cuales consisten en la recuperación del alma o energía perdida con la ayuda de un Ajq´ij, o guía espiritual Maya. El proceso del ritual es generalmente a media noche. El paciente se queda en su dormitorio mientras el guía va al lugar del trauma (playa, camino, bosque, pueblo o ciudad), y el Ajq´ij habla con la presencia o energía del paciente para que pueda regresar al alma, y la acompaña golpeando el espacio con un lazo de nudos. Estos golpes se realizan en recorrido hasta el dormitorio del paciente. Generalmente en el recorrido del ritual el paciente sufre reacciones como suspiros o sensación de golpes reales, pues el alma está regresando, viajando en el tiempo. Sanar el pasado es estar en el presente para regresar al futuro.

In the Maya tradition, there are ceremonies that restore the balance of energy to the soul and heal past traumas. They consist of traveling to the location of the traumatic event and, with the help of an Ajq’ij, a Maya spiritual guide or expert, recovering the energies of the victim. The ritual usually takes place at midnight. The patient stays in his or her room while the Ajq’ij travels to the location of the traumatic event (whether a beach, road, forest, village, or city), and speaks to the patient’s energy or presence left at the place where the event took place, asking it to return to the person while beating the place with a knotted cord. The blows continue as the spiritual guide and the soul make the return journey to the patient’s location. For the most part, while the ritual is taking place, the patient reacts with emotions, such as sighs, or the feeling of receiving real blows as the soul is returned traveling through time. Healing the past is being in the present to return to the future.

—Antonio Pichillá, 2018


IO

N

ON

LY

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

EW

VE

RS

La Tierra Habla

PR EV I

The Soil Speaks


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

Endnotes

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

1 Rigoberta Menchú Tum, “The Mayan Art,” in ARTE NAÏF (Guatemala: Unesco, Fundación Paiz para la Educación y la Cultura, 2001). My translation.

8 A native informant is someone from a particular race or place who is seen as an expert on that race or place simply by virtue of belonging to it. The Indian philosopher Gayatri Spivak borrows the term from ethnography to points out that the practice of some benevolent cultural nativists today can be compared to this, although the cover story there is of a fully self-present voice-consciousness. Gayatri Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999).

IO

N

2 Miguel A. López is a writer, researcher, and co-director and chief curator at TEOR/ética Gallery in San José, Costa Rica. His work investigates collaborative dynamics and transformations in the understanding of and engagement with politics in Latin America in recent decades. His work also focuses on queer rearticulations of history from a Southern perspective.

LY

Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (Dunedin: University of Otago Press, 1999), 123–28.

ON

92

RS

3 Miguel A. López, conversation with the author, November 4, 2019, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY.

VE

4 Ticio Escobar, El mito del arte y el mito del pueblo: cuestiones sobre arte popular (Santiago de Chile: Ediciones Metales Pesados, 2008), 140.

EV IE W

5 Ticio Escobar and Hilary Macartney, “Parallel Modernities. Notes on Artistic Modernity in the Southern Cone of Latin America: The Case of Paraguay,” Art in Translation 3, no. 1 (2011): https://doi.org/10.2752/17561 3111x12877376766266. 6 Benvenuto Chavajay, “Cultural Translation” (lecture, Why the Indigenous Today?, Museum of Modern Art, New York, February 20, 2019).

PR

7 Community action projects are local initiatives that involve Nation or Tribal research based around claims, by which an Indigenous research agenda is being advanced. Through this form of engagement, Indigenous education scholar Linda Tuhiwai Smith states that the community action projects make possible to locate yourself, geographically and politically, in a set of identities. Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing

9 From non-dualistic Indigenous modes of thinking, new de-colonial energies are born. These energies are the praxis of thinking. People think as every human being does, but they do not need to theorize. Dualism is a Western mode of thinking and the de-colonial task is to delink from the dualism. Within the Indigenous paradigm, gnoseological and aesthetical energies are constructed in the praxis. In other words, de-colonial thinking is constructed in the practice (praxis). The term “praxis” was coined by Mignolo in “Reconstitución Epistémica/estética: La Aesthesis Decolonial Una Década Después,” Calle 14 revista de investigación en el campo del arte 14, no. 25 (2019). 10 Chavajay, “Cultural Translation.” 11 Language plays a fundamental role in this curatorial practice with Mayan Tz’utujil people. The nature of The Soil Speaks requires not only a certain level of bilingualism but also a level of trilingualism, in which my mestizo character plays a certain role. Spanish—despite being the language of the colonizer—has also worked as a space to integrate Western and Indigenous theories. The Tz’utujil language also has its own place within this research, given the fact that it is a source of substantial significance to this book. 12 Miguel Rivera, ed., Chilam Balam de Chumayel (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2017), 10.


La Tierra Habla

27 Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies, 50-56.

LY

13 Popol Vuh: Sacred Book of the Maya K’iche’ people, trans. Allen J. Christenson (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2003), http://www.mesoweb.com/publications/ Christenson/PopolVuh.pdf.

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

28 Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies, 50-56. 29 Aníbal Quijano, “Coloniality of Power and Eurocentrism in Latin America,” International Sociology 15, no. 2 (June 2000): 547.

14 “Antonio Pichillá”, Abstraction in Action, accesed February 25, 2020, http://abstractioninaction.com/ artists/antonio-pichilla/

ON

The Soil speaks

30 Yojcom Rocché, “El relativismo epistemológico,” 111-15. 31 Yojcom Rocché, “El relativismo epistemológico.”

N

15 Alexia Tala, “‘Abuelos’ 07-2017: Antonio Pichillá,” Galería EXTRA, accessed January 17, 2020, https://www. extragaleria.com/abuelos.

IO

32 Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies, 111-15.

16 Escobar, El mito del arte, 74. My translation.

33 Pedroni, El mundo como imagen, 139. 34 Escobar, El mito del arte, 46–57.

18 Pedroni, El mundo como imagen, 70-72.

35 Escobar, El mito del arte, 56.

VE

RS

17 Ana María Pedroni, El mundo como imagen. Ideas para crear imágenes desde la perspectiva semiótica (2002), 95.

19 Pedroni, El mundo como imagen.

36 Philosopher Walter Benjamin’s concept of the “aura” will be further developed later in this publication.

20 Pedroni, El mundo como imagen.

22 Alexia Tala, “‘Abuelos’ 07-2017.”

37 Ticio Escobar, “Arte indígena: el desafío de lo universal,” Revista Transas, October 1, 2018, http:// www.revistatransas.com/2018/10/01/arte-indigena-eldesafio-de-lo-universal.

23 Alexia Tala, “‘Abuelos’ 07-2017.”

38 Escobar, “Arte indígena.”

24 Domingo Yojcom Rocché, “El relativismo epistemológico, condición esencial de la Etnomatemática,” in Memoria del Seminario Latinoamericano: Educación matemática y Etnomatemática en contextos de diversidad cultural y lingüística (Lima, Peru: Ministerio de Educación, 2018), 111-15. My translation.

39 The bombs are brief poetic compositions, sometimes improvised, that are usually recited in the traditional Maya Yukatek celebrations. Its extension does not exceed a stanza. The grace and imagination of the dancer and his sense of humor plays a leading role when the bombs are recited. The bomb tends to be a joke that should produce laughter from the audience.

PR EV I

EW

21 Alexia Tala, “‘Abuelos’ 07-2017.”

25 Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies, 50-56. 40 Chavajay, “Cultural Translation.” 26 Yojcom Rocché, “El relativismo epistemológico.”

93


La Tierra Habla

41 Benvenuto Chavajay, “Soy de la generación de padres analfabetos,” Estudios Artísticos 4, no. 4 (2018): 30-41 My translation. 42 Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” in Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1968), 3.

RS

45 Chavajay, “Soy de la generación de padres analfabetos,” 30-41.

EV IE W

VE

47 Another remarkable example of how silence has been used as a decolonial device comes from Bolivia. In Aymara communities, motorcycle-taxi drivers decided to stablish a silence rule. They do not speak to their white passengers, to the point that they do not even tell them the cost of the transportation services. The drivers let the passengers decide the amount they should pay. In this way, Aymara people use the silence that has been imposed on them as a punishment to be imposed on white people.

48 Catalina Lozano, “No Man’s Land?: Coloniality of Power and Indigenous Struggle in Latin America,” in Sakahan: International Indigenous Art, ed. Greg A. Hill, Candice Hopkins, and Christine Lalonde (Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2013), 115.

PR

52 I curated the exhibition Totems & Trophies for Proxyco Gallery, New York, in the summer of 2018. For more information, see María Camila Montalvo, “‘Totems and Trophies’ exhibition in PROXYCO Gallery,” 2018, https://adorno-liberia.com/Totems-and-trophies-enPROXYCO-Gallery. 53 Roma and The Favourite lead the 2019 Oscar Ballot with 10 nominations each. Both Cuarón and Aparicio’s co-star Marina De Tavira received nods for Best Director and Best Supporting Actress, respectively.

IO

44 Chavajay, “Cultural Translation.”

46 Chavajay, “Cultural Translation.”

51 Mignolo, “Reconstitución Epistémica/estética.”

N

43 Chavajay, “Soy de la generación de padres analfabetos,” 30-41.

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

LY

The Soil Speaks

ON

94

49 Chavajay, “Cultural Translation.” 50 Walter Mignolo, "Reconstitución Epistémica/estética: La Aesthesis Decolonial Una Década Después,” Calle 14 revista de investigación en el campo del arte 14, no. 25 (2019).

54 “A kʼatun is a unit of time in the Mayan calendar equal to 20 tuns or 7200 days, equivalent to 19.713 tropical years. It is the 2nd digit on the normal Maya long count date. . . . The end of the kʼatun was marked by numerous ceremonies and at Tikal the construction of large twin pyramid complexes to host them. The kʼatun was also used to reckon the age of rulers.” Wikipeda, s.v., “Kʼatun,” last modified November 2, 2019, 17:00, https:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%CA%BCatun. 55 Benvenuto Chavajay, conversation with the author, February 2019, New York City. 56 The first lines of the Books of Chilam Balam of Chumayel establish a universal order according to the four directions or parts that comprise the universe. It can be considered a creation account. 57 Escobar, “Arte indígena.” 58 Bagele Chilisa, Indigenous Research Methodologies (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2011), 30. 59 Benvenuto Chavajay, conversation with the author, February 2020, San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala, February 2020.


La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

PR EV I

EW

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

The Soil speaks

95


The Soil Speaks

La Tierra Habla

ja rwach'uleew ntzijoni

PR

EV IE W

VE

RS

IO

N

ON

LY

96

ISBN: 978-958-48-8551-7

9

789584 885517

Profile for María Camila Montalvo Senior

The Soil Speaks. Introducing the Maya Tz'utujil Worldview  

Original research entitled The Soil Speaks, Introducing the Maya Tz’utujil Worlview by María Camila Montalvo. This book is part of The Soil...

The Soil Speaks. Introducing the Maya Tz'utujil Worldview  

Original research entitled The Soil Speaks, Introducing the Maya Tz’utujil Worlview by María Camila Montalvo. This book is part of The Soil...

Advertisement