Excerpt from Today we would be kings: Frida Larios’ New Maya Language By Frida Larios in DESIGN>MAGAZINE No. 19.
My journey to revive the visual language of the ancient Maya started in 2004 when I was studying towards a masters in Communication Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London, located only two blocks away from the British Museum which holds some of the most important lintels in the Maya world. I was the first Salvadoran woman to study at Saint Martins. How could I not look for my own roots within an institution, and city, with marked avant-garde tendencies? It was my opportunity to show my peers and now the world how the Maya are one of the founding six pillars of the civilised world, inventors of the notion of zero and of one of the most accurate calendars in history. There is also a lack of recognition of their intelligent and advanced hieroglyphic language’s art form, within Mesoamerica (modern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador) itself, and beyond its boundaries. Now, as an ambassador for INDIGO (Icograda’s International Indigenous Design Network), it is my privilege to promote part of this ancient culture through my design work.
My New Maya Language is a unique system, in content and style, which rescues the ‘dead’ written language created by the Maya across Mesoamerica as far back as 300 BC. My vision for the New Maya Language is to recreate, re-compose and develop contemporary applications in different media: art, product and fashion design, brand identities, information design, wayfinding and education systems for archaeological sites and public spaces, as well as children’s toys. Through these diverse applications I aspire to promote iconographic meanings, education and play, whether it is by instigating conceptual thinking through a 0–12 year-old child’s game, T-shirts or simply by creating appreciation through my artworks, which to-date have been acquired by collectors around the world. Antonio Avia, Indigenous Education Director for the Organisation of Iberoamerican States had this to say about my artworks: “… your work presents another form of seeing, understanding, recreating, and above all, employing again in daily life, millenary means of expression. I am fascinated by this new vision of the glyphs.”
Continue reading this article in DESIGN>MAGAZINE No. 19.
The book I wrote, illustrated and designed the 120-page New Maya Language book so that people could learn about the original language of the Maya in a simple and practical way and to decode my new interpretation to others. The main chapter provides the formula for each of my pictograms, original hieroglyphs on the left page and the new hieroglyphs or result on the right. Finally I showcase various design applications.
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