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"Maya Woman - Life, Art, Hope: Contemporary Indigenous Paintings from Guatemala

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The Cañada College Art Gallery concludes its Spring program with the interdisciplinary offering, “Maya Woman—Life, Art, Hope: Contemporary Indigenous Paintings from Guatemala.”

These paintings from prominent Tz’utuhil and Kaqchikel Maya artists reveal the beauty and hardship of indigenous women’s lives, as well as the legacy of violence that continues to haunt the country. The exhibit runs through May 25. A reception will be held on Wednesday, April 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the gallery.

A panel discussion on indigenous art, the current crisis of violence against women, and ramifications of the 36-year genocidal war in Guatemala will be held on Wednesday, May 4, at 1:30 pm in Building 3, Room 148. Participants will include Cañada College History instructor Charles Carlson; President of the Latino Empowerment Alliance; Rita Moran, Director of Maya Woman: The Helen Moran Collection; and Mary Jo McConahay, author of the forthcoming Maya Roads: One Woman’s Journey Among the People of the Rainforest.

A new cultural phenomenon of Naïve Art has developed in the remote highlands of Guatemala, in which self-taught artists express in vibrant oil paintings a rich indigenous culture that has survived 500 years of brutal oppression. The Maya Woman exhibit, on loan from The Helen Moran Collection, presents original works from many of the most creative contemporary indigenous artists. The complete collection can be viewed online at www.MayaWomenInArt.org.

Rita Moran, Director of the Collection and a Cañada College student, describes the collection’s mission: “Millions of indigenous women and men living today have survived 36 years of genocidal violence, and continue to suffer from extreme poverty, natural disaster, and the violence of the drug cartels. Tens of thousands have immigrated to the United States. Contemporary indigenous artists, steeped in ancient traditions of wood and stone carving as well as brilliant textile arts, are expressing their identity in art. Through them, the nearly invisible lives of Maya women are coming into focus at last. The Helen Moran Collection promotes the dignity and human rights of these women by presenting contemporary Maya art that brings world attention to their lives. We hope to inspire others to come to their defense.”

The Maya Woman collection honors the late Helen Moran, a Saratoga resident for 50 years.

Cañada College Art Gallery is geared toward an interdisciplinary interpretation of art and culture, serving the public of San Mateo County as well as the college community. Exhibitions and events are free and open to the public.

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