Another year gone, another continent, painting and drawing again, inspired by the culture we are living with. Maya high civilisation may have collapsed 1200 years ago, but Maya people did not disappear. 8 million of them carry on as they always did, growing maize, scratching living in the highlands of Guatemala. Visiting ruins of their cities, wrestling with their enigmatic script, buying tortillas from them for lunch, Maya world is all around us.
Maya were obsessed with calendar, and the way they reckoned time is complex, slightly bizzare and always inspiring. This critter is a generic depiction of a “winal”, what you would call a 20-day month, done the elaborate way of Copan, in Honduras.
Maya script is structurally similar to Japanese, a mixture of ideograms and sylabic signs. Phonetic values of the written sylabs are known, so you can write in their script even non-Maya names. This is a take on my own name, “Larsen”. Properly transcribed it would go: “Big Chief around here, possibly divine, one La-Se-N”. The snake in the grass is the “N”.
The second name I clobbered together is Natali’s. The furious face is nothing personal, in this position it reads “Na”. Maya glyphs display a wide range of improbably hooked noses. Nothing fanciful there, all the types we have actually met while travelling on local buses.
After year and half of drinking dirty dishwater mascarading as coffee, we are in the land of arabica. A good grafitti I walked past in San Pedro La Laguna inspired this poster, “To die for coffee”. “Q” stands for “quetzal”, a national bird and a local unit of currency. 8 quetzales is about a US$1.
A couple of disturbing murals in Chichicastenango Municipal Market mutated into “God “Q” discoursing with a caterpillar”.