Ancestry and Artistry: Maya textiles from Guatemala

Date: May 29, 2013 - Jan 12, 2014
Artist: Andrea Aragón, Verónica Riedel and Jean-Marie Simon
Curated by: Roxane Shaughnessy

View Collection Artifacts from this Exhibit

Cloth holds great importance for Guatemala’s indigenous communities, and traditional dress plays an essential role in Maya identity today as a vital link with the ancestral past and a means of cultural reinvention. Whether worn for religious ceremonies or as an emblem of ethnic pride, textiles offer a medium for innovation and creative expression, as well as a marketable product for the tourist industry. Through an array of textiles patterned with evocative designs rich in iconography, Ancestry and Artistry traces a century of dynamic change as well as the remarkable continuity of ancient Maya traditions in the face of significant modernization, political upheaval, and religious transformation.

Integrated into the exhibition is the work of contemporary artists Andrea Aragón, Verónica Riedel, and photo-journalist Jean-Marie Simon.


Additional Information

Organized by the Textile Museum of Canada with the generous support of the Museums Assistance Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage and Joan VanDuzer. The Textile Museum of Canada is grateful for the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.


Related Programs and Events

On view in the exhibition:
"Nox Winter Solstice Ceremony" and "Cuxa, the Mayan Alcohol," excerpts from Unrecorded Spirits: Life in Mayan Guatemala, a film project that explores the experiences of the Mayan K'iché in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, written and directed by Fotis Kanteres.
Preview the video here.

Textile Seminar: Maya Textiles from the TMC Collection
Wednesday, October 2, 2013, 6:30 pm
Register now for this unique behind-the-scenes session with curator Roxane Shaughnessy in our vaults. This hands-on workshop offers an opportunity to explore changing patterns and weaving techniques and learn about the distinguishing features of ancient traditions that still resonate in Maya dress.

TMC Members $20, Non-members $25, Full-time students Pay-What-You-Can. Advance registration is required, space is limited. To register, call 416-599-5321 x2228.

Special School Program with Maya Weaver Maria Xoch Ajcalon 
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Discover Maya culture with this special program in conjunction with the TMC’s exhibition Ancestry & Artistry: Maya Textiles from Guatemala. This two-hour program includes a tour of the exhibition, and a demonstration of backstrap weaving with master weaver Maria Xoch Ajcalon. Students will also have the opportunity to make a friendship bracelet to take home.

$10 per student, suitable for students from Grades 4-10. 
Advance registration is required, space is limited. To register call 416-599-5321 x2228.

Conversation Pieces: An Evening with Collector Donna Stewart and Curator Roxane Shaughnessy 
Monday, November 25, 2013, 6:00 pm
This special evening will offer an intimate and unique perspective into our feature exhibition, Ancestry and Artistry: Maya Textiles from Guatemala. Join us for a cup of fair trade coffee and a gallery walkthrough with one of our leading donors, Donna E. Stewart, MD who will highlight the stories behind key pieces she acquired over fifty years of travel throughout Guatemala.

TMC Members $25, Non-members $30. Advance registration is required, space is limited. To register, call 416-599-5321 x2228.