top of page

Maya Culture

Many resources are available to help you learn more about the lives and culture of the Maya people.  This page provides some suggestions:

  • Arte Maya Tz'utuhil

  • Films

  • Bibliography

Festival of St. Simon (Maximón), by Victor Vásquez Temó

Arte Maya Tz’utuhil is the preeminent site where you can find out more about these Maya artists and their culture.  Along with biographical information and photos, the site contains a rich archive of  additional works by these artists, and offers a selection of their paintings for sale.

Joseph Johnston, the director and curator of Arte Maya, founded this project in 1990 to help the artists of the burgeoning art scene around Lake Atitlán. The idea was to inspire the artists to go beyond painting quick works for the tourist market, and pay them a fair price so they can take the time necessary to create their best work.

Arte Maya Tz’utuhil has curated and sponsored over fifty exhibitions of the Mayan artists since 1991. The Arte Maya collection of paintings has over three hundred works by more than thirty Maya artists from the four different communities in Guatemala where oil painting took root in the indigenous population.  Arte Maya Tz'utuhil contributed greatly to the creation of The Helen Moran Collection, and collaborates with us on major art exhibitions.

The Painter

Domingo García Criado

A short documentary featuring interviews with the eminent Tz'utuhil Maya artist Pedro Rafaél González Chavajay and insightful commentators.  (2016)

A documentary on the war between the Guatemalan military and the Mayan population, with firsthand accounts by Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu.  (1983)

A story of destinies joined by Guatemala's past, and how a documentary film intertwined with a nation's turbulent history emerges as an active player in the present.  (2011)

A series of short films that document the history and practices of Maya weavers, with intimate views of them weaving and talking about their lives.  

On the slopes of an active volcano in Guatemala, a marriage is arranged for seventeen-year-old María by her Kaqchikel parents. (2015)

From a historic genocide trial to the overthrow of a President, 500 YEARS tells a sweeping story of mounting resistance played out in Guatemala's recent history through the actions and perspectives of the majority indigenous Mayan population, who now stand poised to reimagine their society.  (2017)

A young boy, in an effort to have a normal childhood in 1980's El Salvador, is caught up in a dramatic fight for his life as he desperately tries to avoid the war which is raging all around him.  (2004)

Justice for my sister.jpg

One woman seeks justice for the murder of her sister.  She takes on a giant system with all the odds stacked against her – and her resilience and power are unstoppable.  (2012)

Coe, Michael D., and Houston, Stephen D., The Maya (Ninth edition),Thames & Hudson, London, UK, 2015.

Grandin, G., et al., (Editors), The Guatemala Reader: History, Culture, Politics (The Latin America Readers), Duke University Press, Durham, NC, 2011.

Martin, S., Berrin, K, and Miller, M, Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya, Thames & Hudson, London, UK, 2004.

McConahay, Mary Jo, Maya Roads: One Woman’s Journey Among the People of the Rainforest, Chicago Review Press, Chicago, IL, 2011.

Menchú, Rigoberta, and Elisabeth Burgos-Debray, I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala, Verso Books, Brooklyn, NY, 1985.

Pettersen, Carmen L., The Maya of Guatemala: Life and Dress (English and Spanish Edition), Univ. of Washington Press, 1977.

Schlesinger, S. and Kinzer, S., Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala, (Series on Latin American Studies), David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Cambridge, MA, Revised edition, 2005.

Rogoff, Barbara, Developing Destinies: A Mayan Midwife and Town, Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, 2011.

Schevill, Margot Blum, Maya Textiles of Guatemala: The Gustavus A. Eisen Collection, 1902, University of Texas Press, Austin, TX, 1993.

Vecchiato, Gianni, Guatemala Rainbow, Pomegranate Press, Portland, OR,1989.

bottom of page