Ah tz' ib (He of the Writing)
Ah tz' ib (He of the Writing)
Oil Paint, Oil Based Paint Pen on Canvas
W32 x H48 x D1.5 inches
2014

I became interested in the Maya hieroglyphic language and, as the name indicates, in the social class of scribe artists responsible for documenting Maya life. The fusion in the Maya society of elaborate visual symbology and egalitarian communication struck me as extremely unique and very elegant. I found the act of repainting the glyphs as breathing new life into the language, recontextualizing the script into a new contemporary position. This pieces is one of a series utilizing interpretations of hieroglyphs from the original Mayan dictionary. I first became intensely interested in not only the story behind the resurgence of the ancient Mayan language within the Ethnic Maya of Guatemala, southern Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula, Belize, El Salvador, and western Honduras. These contemporary cultures represent the living heritage of the ancient Mayan. They have managed to maintain substantial remnants of their ancient cultural heritage specifically through a renewed effort to teach the language in schools. The tremendous complexity and beauty of the written language became apparent to me after watching a nova documentary. I am constantly in awe of this dynamic culture that so beautifully fused linguistics and art. I am also constantly interested in the dichotomous relationship between art, culture and mathematical and astronomical sophistication the Mayan's exhibited, and their historical record of extreme militarism and systemic religious violence. This work is not only designed to continue the resurgence of the language but also to express the importance of language as a transponder and preserver of culture.