Frida, Maya Language and Joya de Cerén [English version]

Art, Design, Frida Larios, Graphic Design, Indigenous, Language, New Maya Language, Sustainable Design
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Frida Larios’s murals at the Joya de Cerén Archaeological Park

Note: This article was originally published in Spanish on the blogs of El Faro newspaper in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Thank you, HondurasWeekly.com for translating to a wider audience./

Written by  Miguel Huezo Mixco

Ancestral heritage needs to reinvent itself, or die. Design, with its ability to synthesize and develop, interpret and create realities, is a powerful tool for representing and reviving our past. For these purposes, Frida Larios has created a “new Maya language.” The past is not a “sacred” place. The gods did not inspire the creators of the Temple of the Great Jaguar in Tikal, and the sculptors of the stelae at Copán. Neither artisans at Joya de Cerén. The “sacred” becomes untouchable and just an elected group possesses the power to change it. Such ideas produce arbitrary behavior.

The demolition of Fernando Llort’s mural, in 2011, was attempted to be justified by saying it contained signs outside the Catholic tradition, and the artist was accused of commercially promoting himself, as if that was sin. You have to be alert when there is pontification in the name of religion or science…

It is worth remembering these sad events, because now some sustain that the mural of Frida Larios in Joya de Ceren Archaeological Park in San Juan Ópico, El Salvador, is a kind of profanation to the spirit of the ancestors. Many of us do not think alike, and believe that the mural has given a new shine to that extraordinary place.

Because in El Salvador there has not been a constructive debate on the social uses of heritage, the idea prevails that the valuation of the past is an exclusive power of historians, archaeologists and restorers. But we must not forget that artists have a central role in this task. In this case, design in its many branches, is crucial so that more people appreciate and preserve their patrimonial heritage; as García Canclini says so that “the past has a future”.

The mural offers a version of the destruction of the ancient settlement of Joya de Ceren by a volcanic eruption, which occurred in the seventh century AC, with iconography sustained on the graph of the old village artisans. The enhancement of Joya de Ceren’s World Heritage, happens, among other reasons, for the need of the historian and archaeologist’s account to intersect and be combined with the artist’s.

El Salvador has a rich cultural heritage that is still undervalued and under enhanced. In part, because the matter has been addressed with a conservationist strategy. Cultural policy has a huge challenge to be linked conceptually to other networks, such as tourism, mass communication, entertainment, and with the social context of inequality and poverty that serves as a framework. This will open to us the possibilities offered by new languages, including art, so that the past matters to us, so that it becomes actual. (8/30/14)

“Frida Larios: Businesswoman, Artisan, Preservationist” #NewMayaLanguage Interview by Hat Trick Magazine, UK

Art, Copan, Design, El Salvador, Fashion design, Frida Larios, Graphic Design, Guatemala, Jewellery Design, Kuching, Language, London, New Maya Language, Sustainable Design, Tyler Orsburn

I had previously published an excerpt of this interview; this is the editable full text version. You can see spreads and access the original interview here. Minor up-dates have been made to the text.

Frida Larios, International Indigenous Design Network (INDIGO) Ambassador, designer and creator of a new pictographic language.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I think it is safe to say that I am a multi-tasker extraordinaire. I went to a private German School (odd thing I know, but it was only a block away from my parents house) in San Salvador where I was raised. My peers in school always remember me painting with a full set of large-format paper, brushes and temperas displayed on my desk while paying attention and participating in a lesson about heavy German, Bertolt Brecht-type literature–all at the same time. I was attracted to both: art and sports since I was a little girl. From five until fifteen I was a gymnast representing my country at international level. I then moved on to indoor volleyball where I was part of the national team for five years and finally settled with beach volleyball. From 1996 until 2003 me and my partner were reigning Central American champions traveling in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour across Europe and South America. Beach volleyball was my passion, but design was equally as inspiring and important to me, I had learned that since my school days, so I never ceased to do either. It wasn’t easy as it meant waking up at 5am every day for practice so that I could have a full day of study, while I was finishing college, or designing, while I was managing my design studio. Then in 2003 I moved to London to study a masters degree in communication design in one of the most prestigious design schools in the world: Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design sponsored by the government of El Salvador through a sister Fulbright scholarship programme by FANTEL/LASPAU/Harvard. I had already lived on and off in London and the west coast of England while I was completing a bachelors degree in Graphic Design at University College Falmouth.

2. What was the inspiration behind your New Mayan Language Art Project?
Being far away from my home country while living in London, but at the same time being so close to one of the mecca’s of contemporary art and culture brought me close to my own roots. Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design was two blocks away from the British Museum in Holborn, which holds the most beautiful carved lintels in the Maya world from the Yaxchilán site. Being in touch with both: thousands of years old and at the same time the most contemporary art expressions sparked the idea of reviving the dead Maya hieroglyphic language.

There were other important motivations too. As an educator to first year Graphic Design students in San Salvador in what was my first Professor position at the young age of 26, I discovered that they were tending to imitate northern graphic styles. Like in many design disciplines the norm is to look to what is fashionable in the western world, rather than sourcing from your own native background. Au contraire, natives have been discriminated in the Mesoamerican region (modern Central America) for centuries since Spanish colonial times. When a teenager wants to say to another that they are being “uncool” they say: “No seas indio! (don’t be an indigenous.)” This says us a lot of the inner sentiments towards our native ancestors. I am hoping my project is a humble inspiration to those young designers so that they too start looking inside their local heritage for innovation.

3. When did you know that you wanted to be an artist? Ever since I was in middle school. I would sell hand-crafted cards for valentines and mothers day to my school mates. I knew I wanted to become a graphic designer then, but never knew I would be taken beyond that initial call and become so passionate about my culture and its application in different disciplines. Some people take time to find out their intent in life, some people never find out, and I feel incredibly grateful that I have always been guided to do what I love.

My mother has been a flower designer and artist, she has always had an eye for what is aesthetically enhancing in her environment and a love for nature. My father is a master in fito pathology (study of plant diseases) who researched the natural balance between insects and crops. I think this is why I have a systematic and organic way of approaching design. I can actually say I do come from a family of artists and sporties. Gabriela Larios the sister who follows me, is an illustrator and surface designer living in London. She is also a former national El Salvador team representative in cycling. My “little” sister Andrea Jeffcoat lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She studied ceramic jewellery art and is a fab Zumba instructor.

4. What was your discipline in Art School? My bachelors degree was in Graphic Design; my thesis at University College Falmouth was also a culturally rooted project. My masters degree was in Communication Design with an emphasis in typography and historically relevant wayshowing. My masters thesis was my New Maya Language project which was originally inspired by the content of a UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site in El Salvador buried under volcanic ash for 1500 years and unearthed in the 1970’s–similar to the Pompeii in Italy archaeological park.

After our Central Saint Martins masters exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London, I continued to evolve my project–like many of my talented peers who have also been commended for their own unique projects.

It’s been nearly ten years now since I conceived the New Maya Language and it has certainly developed into a multiple avenues project that has life in: sign, typography, surface, fashion, accessory, and educational toy design. It even has the potential to become an iPhone app to teach children about the Maya language.

In my vision: It has no limits. I am willing to expand it as far as my imagination takes it with the intent of making my culture (or a part of it) known to the world, to my fellow Mesoamerican citizens, and to the living Maya themselves.

5. What kind of classes did you teach at the London College of Fashion?
I taught Digital Surface Design for Textiles as part of different fashion related courses. Because of my graphics background and Adobe Creative Suite software knowledge I was able to guide their digital creative process. I was always impressed by their innate ability to express patterns using crafted or digitally generated visual resources. You can see some of my students surface designs outcome in this video on my YouTube channel.

6. How do you currently define the relationship between art & fashion?
All the art and design fields are blending these days, there are no boundaries as brands look to provide their audiences with unusual ideas. Collaborations between bloggers and fashion designers or between actors and musicians, for example, are at the order of day. It would be nice to see even less common collaborations that brought awareness about cultural, social, health and environmental issues to the mainstream public. Only major brands have the power to access a truly worldwide audience and they need to be even more conscious of their role and how they influence even the youngest minds these days.

7. Where can we find your book on the New Maya Language?
The 115-page, 100% hand-bound New Maya Language book is printed on thick 160 gsm water-colour paper, and translated in four languages: English, Spanish, Maya, and visually. It beautifully compiles and decodes the New Maya Language project. The first chapter explains the complex original Maya hieroglyphic language. The second chapter’s large illustrations provide the formula for each New Maya Language pictogram. And finally, the third chapter showcases various design applications used by governmental and private entities.

Renowned Peabody Museum, Harvard epigrapher Alexandre Tokovinine describes the works in my book with these words:

“Even though there has been a growing body of scholarly works devoted to the subject of Maya calligraphy, few artists systematically sought their inspiration in Maya letters beyond mere reproduction of certain glyphs and glyphic patterns, usually in the context of contemporary indigenous art.  Frida’s project stands apart as an attempt to explore and reinvent Maya calligraphy as a symbolic and aesthetic system from an artist’s viewpoint.  The New Maya Language creates its own world that blends Maya imagery and symbolism with Frida’s unique vision in a series of artworks which would make an ancient calligrapher proud.”

The book can be found at the Centre for Typographic Research at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing; at the White House in Washington DC, at the Embassy of El Salvador in The Hague and Paris; at the Museum of National Identity in Tegucigalpa; and in the hands of private collectors in Chicago, Paris, London, etc. It was the only Latin American typo-work selected for exhibition with 80 other from around the world, at Beijing Typography 2009 at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, China.

It can be purchased at Hacienda San Lucas in the Copan Maya archaeological site in Honduras and be custom ordered online through my website: http://www.fridalarios.com

Do you have artist that you look up to? If so, please tell us? Frida Kahlo, and not because of the name! But because she developed a visual surrealist movement that has indirectly influenced Latin American literature (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende et. al) to date.

And of course: the Maya artists. They were renaissance men. Surely comparable to Leonardo, Rafael, Michelangelo, who were not only fine artists, they were architects, sculptors, interior designers, poets, and even engineers. In other words: liberal innovators. And so were the Maya artists who were Royal scribes and book keepers. In being so they held the knowledge of what they had to write about: history, politics, astronomy, mathematics, and art in general. Their beautiful calligraphic works are quite unknown to a non-Mayanist audience. No artist today can claim to master all these disciplines.

9. How can people learn more about you and your artwork and where to purchase?
The homepage on my website showcases the whole collection of picto-glyphs©. This is the series applied to paintings, prints, fashion, accessories and toy products.

We have a permanent gallery and Frida Larios boutique with my original artworks at Hacienda San Lucas located in the major Maya archaological site of Copán Ruinas, Honduras. Online, Pinterest is becoming a good place to view and purchase my paintings and products too: http://pinterest.com/fridalarios. Here you can also view photos of artworks displayed on collectors’ homes around the world. When you want to order people contact us directly through the contact form on my website.

10. Tell us more about the INDIGO group?
INDIGO is the International Indigenous Design Network a branch of ICOGRADA the International Council of Communication Design. INDIGO is an open platform that connects both Indigenous and non Indigenous designers worldwide in an effort to explore traditional design and its contemporary interpretations. INDIGO facilitates discussion, initiates collaborative projects, exhibitions and conferences but also showcases other relevant initiatives from all over the world. It seeks to understand design that is inspired by or rooted in Indigenous culture, traditions, imagery, lifestyle, etc.

We believe indigenous design should be a present and future innovation reference to designers who look to produce sustainable design concepts. Contemporary designers need to consider his or her local heritage at the time of designing–INDIGO encourages and reinforces this notion.

My role as an Advisor for INDIGO is to create an environment for the exchange of knowledge and ideas. I offer the network local access and insights, help shape projects and initiatives. I am very active within the network of Ambassadors. I am currently a member of the Sarawak, Malaysia International Design Week 2012 programming committee and other committees key to shaping the vision and future of INDIGO.

11. When did you know that you wanted to use your art to help people?
My projects, not only New Maya Language, have always had a cultural component. We used to run a design agency in San Salvador and London with my sister and our projects were used as case studies in various publications because they represented the Central American graphic spirit and style.

12. What are you future project plans? Any more language projects?
As always, I am multi-tasking galore. I just had a baby (two months old today!) and I have another wonderful four-year old. That would be enough for anyone, but not for Frida. I spent 2011 coming up with nine (yes only nine, but each one could be a whole thesis) new picto-glyphs© inspired by the Maya concept of the universe: the sky, the earth, and the underground. That is all I can say about them because they are still confidential and under a special key locked website. From this series I am working on a collaboration with Pattern People to create surface designs. Potential clients interested in this collection should contact us. I am also working on prototypes for a new jewellery collection.

One of the most exciting projects coming up is a collaboration with my sister Gabriela Larios and Miguel Hernández with Latinotype.com to release two new Central American typefaces.

We have a series of exhibition engagements with my talented photographer,husband Tyler Orsburn. The exhibition is called New Maya Life and shows both his intimate portraits of living Maya people and my New Maya hieroglyphics. New Maya Life was shown from November 2012 – February 2013 at the Honduran Museum for National Identity (Museo para la Identidad Nacional) accompanying a major University of Pennsylvania archaeological Maya exhibition called Maya 2012: Lords of Time; at the prestigious Centro Cultural Luis Cardoza y Aragón, part of the Embassy of Mexico in Guatemala; and at the John James Audubon Museum in Kentucky, USA in 2014.

And lastly, yes, I worked on a new language project in collaboration with a fellow INDIGO Ambassador. We hosted a workshop titled: Reinterpreting Malay Iconography into Contemporary Craft and Design during the ICOGRADA international Design Week in Sarawak, Malaysia from October 15 -21, 2012. See: sarawak.icograda.org/speakers

Thank you Frida for taking the time to let us know all about yourself!

Be sure to follow Frida and all her ventures via the following sites:

Browse: http://www.fridalarios.com
Subscribe: https://fridalarios.wordpress.com
Follow: http://twitter.com/fridalarios
Like: http://facebook.com/LariosFrida
Interest: http://pinterest.com/fridalarios

“L’alphabet maya des temps modernes” Section #Culture–Courrier international–no 1166 du 7-13 mars 2013 #NewMayaLanguage

Copan, Design, El Salvador, Frida Larios, Graphic Design, Language, New Maya Language, Paris, Sustainable Design

“Communiquer aujourd’hui en recyclant les pictogrammes précolombiens : c’est le projet ambitieux dans lequel s’est lancée la graphiste salvadorienne Frida Larios.” CourierInternational.com

Courrier International Spread 1

L’artiste salvadorienne Frida Larios s’est lancée dans un projet ambitieux : revisiter les hiéroglyphes précolombiens pour leur insuffler une nouvelle signification.

Poussée par le désir de s’extraire du quotidien, et lassée du minimalisme qui envahissait Londres [où elle était installée], la designer salvadorienne Frida Larios s’est lancée dans l’élaboration d’un “nouveau langage maya”. Elle a conçu un système visuel et conceptuel inspiré du système d’écriture précolombien. Pour cela, elle a redessiné les symboles ancestraux pour les adapter à la vie moderne, en remplaçant un élément du signifié par un autre, identifiable par nos contemporains.
Pour démarrer son projet [qui visait à l’origine à composer une nouvelle signalétique pour des sites archéologiques précolombiens], elle s’est entourée d’anthropologues et de chercheurs. Un lieu l’a beaucoup inspirée : l’Hacienda San Lucas, dans la ville de Copán [dans l’ouest du Honduras], située sur les ruines de la grande cité précolombienne de Copán. Sur place, s’enthousiasme-t-elle, flotte encore la présence sensible de Yax Kuk Mo, le premier roi de Copán [Ve siècle].
Ce travail a abouti à un premier livre, intitulé Nuevo lenguaje maya [“nouveau langage maya”, inédit en français]. Frida Larios y retrace l’histoire du site archéologique de Joya de Cerén, situé au Salvador. L’ouvrage passe également en revue toute une série d’articles textiles, de bijoux, de jouets éducatifs et de logos de marque que la designer a créés en s’inspirant des pictogrammes mayas. Les dix années qu’elle a passé hors du Salvador ne l’empêchent pas d’avoir une opinion bien arrêtée sur la façon dont le pays gère son héritage culturel.

Comment est-ce possible, alors que l’on réside à Londres, de se prendre d’intérêt pour la civilisation maya ?
C’est vrai, la culture précolombienne est la dernière chose à laquelle on pense quand on est à Londres. Mais la capitale britannique compose un environnement si avant-gardiste, si prompt à casser les codes, ancré dans une tradition artistique si particulière… C’est ce qui m’a donné envie de défis. En 2004, quand j’ai pris la décision de me consacrer aux hiéroglyphes, j’en avais assez du minimalisme ambiant. D’où ma décision de travailler sur les formes mayas, qui sont naturelles, organiques, riches de symbolisme – tout ce qui me fascine dans l’art précolombien.

Vous dites n’être experte ni en hiéroglyphes ni en anthropologie. Sur qui avez-vous pu compter pour vous imprégner du côté mystique de ce langage symbolique ?
C’est ma passion. J’avais déjà cette préoccupation quand j’ai fondé mon agence de design graphique il y a dix ans, ici au Salvador. J’avais un style inspiré du folklore, qui a par la suite fait école. Il est arrivé un moment où j’ai décidé d’arrêter le design pour me consacrer entièrement à mon “nouveau langage maya”. Je sens que je pourrais aller plus loin encore, dans une certaine mesure, être plus moderne. Mais, en même temps, la composante pédagogique du projet me contraint à une certaine clarté et concision.

Quels sont vos projets pour la suite ?
Dans mon livre, je présente déjà quelques transpositions de hiéroglyphes mayas à des fins commerciales. Je travaille aussi à un second volume, qui sera consacré aux dieux du monde souterrain. Mais franchement il y a des millions de sources d’inspiration possibles. Pour le volume en chantier, je n’ai pu étudier que les vases, je ne suis donc pas partie de hiéroglyphes classiques. Par
exemple, les chauves-souris y sont représentées de diverses façons, mais avec des traits récurrents, comme les taches du jaguar.

Vous dites n’être experte ni en hiéroglyphes ni en anthropologie. Sur qui avez-vous pu compter pour vous imprégner du côté mystique de ce langage symbolique ?
J’ai rencontré plusieurs chercheurs du British Museum qui travaillent sur le sujet. J’ai également suivi un cours avec Timothy Laughton, professeur à l’université de l’Essex, en Angleterre, qui m’a aussi conseillée pour mon projet. Par ailleurs, vivre à Copán m’a été très utile, parce que c’est le lieu de travail de nombreux chercheurs et anthropologues. Pouvoir parler avec eux a été très enrichissant, pour moi qui viens du monde des arts et du design.

Pourquoi vous êtes-vous d’abord intéressée au site Joya de Cerén ?
Tout d’abord, parce que le site se trouve au Salvador et que des gens ordinaires vivaient là. Il ne s’agissait pas de grands temples où avaient lieu les rituels officiels. Ce site donne à voir des aspects de la vie quotidienne, auxquels M. et Mme Tout-le- Monde peuvent plus facilement s’identifier.

Cette trame narrative aide à la compréhension du site. Comment avez-vous procédé pour
élaborer votre “nouveau langage maya”?
J’ai commencé par établir un classement des hiéroglyphes. Je les ai redessinés et vectorisés, mais sans leur donner de couleurs. Cela m’a servi de point d’entrée dans la pensée maya, pour initier un processus d’empathie avec l’artiste. Ensuite, des impératifs de la communication se sont imposés,
car il s’agissait de dessiner des logos. Il était impensable pour moi d’utiliser à ce moment une signalétique universelle. Les idées me sont venues naturellement, de la volonté de faire revivre l’Histoire à travers la signalétique locale. Par exemple, dans leur langage, le hiéroglyphe d’un volcan
en éruption n’existait pas, mais il y avait des sous-hiéroglyphes pour le composer. Je m’en suis servi pour créer de nouvelles combinaisons, de nouvelles compositions, et leur donner un sens plus fort.

Que voulez-vous dire par “empathie de l’artiste” ?
C’est ce que j’appelle l’oeil du créateur, il voit plus loin qu’un individu lambda. Dans ce cas précis, il s’agissait de percevoir les intentions des artistes mayas, mais à la lumière de recherches épigraphiques réalisées en amont. Il y a des signes qui ressemblent à quelque chose mais en désignent une autre : par exemple, ce hiéroglyphe qui montre un enfant à la tête fendue, aux airs
de petit homme, désigne en fait la naissance du maïs… Tout est comme ça chez les Mayas : tout est dans la mythologie, dans la métaphore, dans la sémantique. Et c’est pour cela qu’avoir vécu à Copán m’a aidée. C’est comme si les Mayas habitaient toujours le lieu. On a le sentiment que Yax Kuk Mo, le premier roi de Copán, continue de régner en maître. Des lecteurs ont pleuré en découvrant mon livre : pour eux, c’est comme s’il ouvrait une fenêtre sur quelque chose qu’ils ne comprenaient pas.

A quoi attribuez-vous le peu d’empressement de l’Etat salvadorien à diffuser l’histoire culturelle du pays ?
Il n’existe aucune volonté en ce sens. Prenons l’exemple du système d’écriture des Mayas. Ils ont fonctionné pendant cinq cents ans avec un mode de communication commun à toute la Méso-Amérique. Aujourd’hui, pour défendre ce patrimoine, il faudrait que tous les ministères de la
Culture concernés par cette région décident de coordonner leurs efforts.

—María Luz Nóchez

Repéres Frida Bio

NUEVA VIDA #MAYA: Book, Paintings, Photo, Jewellery and Fashion Expo and Conference Opens Today

Art, Design, Fashion design, Frida Larios, Graphic Design, Guatemala, Jewellery Design, Language, Mexico, New Maya Language, Photography, Photojournalism, Sustainable Design, Tyler Orsburn

NUEVA VIDA MAYA

NEW MAYA LANGUAGE conference, book presentation, paintings, jewellery, and dress collection; and NEW MAYA LIFE wood-printed photography series in collaboration with my husband Tyler Orsburn, opens today at 18.30 at the Embassy of México in Guatemala.

La Embajada de México en Guatemala
tiene el gusto de invitarle a la inauguración
de la exposición y conferencia:

NUEVA VIDA MAYA

Libro, pintura, fotografía*, joyería y
textiles de la artista Frida Larios

Jueves 17 de enero del 2013
18.30 horas
Centro Cultural “Luis Cardoza y Aragón”
Embajada de México
*En colaboración con el fotoperiodista Tyler Orsburn
La muestra permanecerá abierta hasta el 22 de febrero
en horario de 9.00 a 17.00 horas de lunes a viernes

Surface Asia Magazine Publication: Rediscovering @Icograda #NewMayaLanguage

Australia, Design, Fashion design, Frida Larios, Jewellery Design, Kuching, Language, New Maya Language, New Zealand, Sarawak, Sustainable Design
(CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT) Iban Tattoos by Ernesto Kalum; Karijini National Park Visitor Centre by David Lancashire; The Teraph Cabinet series by Helmut Lueckenhausen; Green Child Puzzle by Frida Larios

(CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT) Iban Tattoos by Ernesto Kalum; Karijini National Park Visitor Centre by David Lancashire; The Teraph Cabinet series by Helmut Lueckenhausen; Green Child Puzzle by Frida Larios

“In the process of globalisation, everybody is losing a bit of his individuality … It is very timely for us designers to explore this issue – to rediscover who we are, and to celebrate our unique heritage. Let us take a step back so that we can go forward.” Russell Kennedy, Icograda past president.

Text extract
Frida Larios is an Ambassador for INDIGO – the International Indigenous Design Network. Originally from San Salvador, Larios was inspired by Maya heritage, especially in the ancient Maya hieroglyphs. Her work during her postgraduate study gave birth to the “New Maya Language,” a set of twenty-three hieroglyphs that tells the story of her studied site, the Joya de Cerén UNESCO World Heritage Archaeological Site. The design process of “New Maya Language” involved streamlining the iconography of the ancient writing system and combining it with a modern visual vocabulary to create a standardised pictogram system that is comprehensible to contemporary audience. The result is a set of modern yet ancestral icons that is versatile in various applications: 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. Larios says that:

“by reviving and celebrating the Maya cultural and visual identity, the ‘New Maya Language’ can inspire current and future generations and bring new life to the sacred stones.”

In keeping with the intention of safeguarding traditional culture, Larios has fostered close collaboration with indigenous craftsmen to produce items using local resources.
www.fridalarios.com

2012: The Maya Era + New Maya Life Exhibitions | 2012: El Tiempo de los Mayas y Nueva Vida Maya por @FridaLarios y @TylerOrsburn

Art, Copan, Frida Larios, Graphic Design, Jewellery Design, New Maya Language, Photography, Photojournalism, Sustainable Design, Tegucigalpa

Museo para la Identidad Nacional

2012: EL TIEMPO DE LOS MAYAS

El Museo para la Identidad Nacional en coordinación con el Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia, IHAH y la Secretaría de Cultura, Artes y Deportes, organiza la exposición 2012:  EL TIEMPO DE LOS MAYAS.

La exhibición reúne una colección de piezas importantes producto de investigaciones realizadas en el Parque Arqueológico de Copán y que por primera vez se muestran al público; durante el recorrido los visitantes podrán apreciar estas significativas piezas arqueológicas, conocer sobre los secretos del calendario maya vinculado al año 2012 y completar el recorrido con una sala dedicada a una visión moderna y contemporánea del arte maya a través de las pinturas de la artista Frida Larios y las fotografías sobre la cultura y vida cotidiana de los actuales mayas de Tyler Orsburn; esta exhibición integrada se titula: NUEVA VIDA MAYA.

Los principales temas que se abordan en el proyecto expositivo son los siguientes:

El “DESCUBRIMIENTO” DE LOS MAYAS

El investigador William Fash, en su introducción a la historia de las investigaciones arqueológicas en las Ruinas de Copán, hace referencia al primer informe acerca del sitio arqueológico escrito por Diego García de Palacio en 1576 para el rey español Felipe II. En su relato constata haber visto en pie seis de las estelas de la Gran Plaza que años después, en 1839, John Lloyd Stephens, alcanzó a vislumbrar en medio de la exuberante selva tropical del Occidente de Honduras.

¿QUIENES ERÁN LOS MAYAS?

Los antiguos mayas construyeron una de las civilizaciones más enigmáticas y atractivas del mundo antiguo. Cuando los conquistadores españoles “descubrieron” a los mayas hace más de 500 años, muchos no podían creer que nativos americanos pudieran haber desarrollado ciudades, arte, escritura y otros sellos que indicaran alto grado de civilización. Por consecuencia, los europeos del siglo XVI fácilmente aceptaron el mito que los mayas y otras civilizaciones indígenas fueron trasladadas a las Américas por migraciones del mundo antiguo “perdido” antes de 1492, quienes les trasladaron sus conocimientos. Sin embargo no existen evidencias arqueológicas que sustenten lo anterior.

LA ESCALINATA DE LOS JEROGLÍFICOS EN COPAN

Entre las obras arquitectónicas de Copán se encuentra un monumento único del mundo antiguo: la Escalinata de los Jeroglíficos de la Estructura 10L-26, completadas en 755 d.C.  Cada bloque está tallado con inscripciones jeroglíficas que suman 2,200 glifos en total, el más extenso texto precolombino conocido en las Américas.

Copán se hizo famosa en 1841 gracias a la publicación del libro de John Lloyd Stephens y Frederick Catherwood  Incidentes del Viaje a Centro América, Chiapas y Yucatán, pero no fue hasta en 1885 cuando la Escalinata fue encontrada por el pionero arqueólogo británico Alfred P. Maudslay, quien la nombró apropiadamente.  El arqueólogo Sylvanus Morley la llamó la Atenas del Nuevo Mundo.

Los bloques con jeroglíficos fueron limpiados, fotografiados, enumerados y luego trasladados a la plaza. Ahí, fueron puestos en soporte de piedra y fotografiados. Luego, se hicieron moldes de muchas de las piezas, una tarea laboriosa. No fue hasta en 1930 que la Escalinata fue reconstruida a la manera en que podemos apreciarla hoy mediante un convenio con la Institución Carnegie de Washington.

Este enorme texto tallado en piedra, fue uno de los motivos para que la UNESCO incluyera a Copán en la lista de sitios culturales patrimonio de la humanidad.

LOS SEÑORES DEL TIEMPO

Los mayas son el único pueblo centroamericano que ha legado al mundo conocimientos de matemáticas y astronomía. Estos saberes precolombinos han sido escritos (tallados) en piedra y en libros de papel amate llamados “códices”.

Los conocimientos matemáticos y astronómicos son la base del calendario maya que les permitió calcular con anticipación acontecimientos importantes y saber que omnipresente ser natural dominaría una fecha determinada con sus atributos positivos o negativos.

Los sacerdotes del calendario, llamados “Señores de los días” (aj k’ inob ) podían hacer sus pronósticos y preparar las ceremonias para influir en las fuerzas sobrenaturales, sobre los individuos y las comunidades.

LOS MAYAS Y EL AÑO 2012

Los textos mayas antiguos nos hablan de la destrucción y reconstrucción del mundo, un proceso que puede tener similitud con el apocalipsis cristiano.  La esencia de esto es que hay que destruir la tierra antigua para hacer una nueva tierra, más productiva.

Los orígenes y relevancia del fenómeno maya 2012, lo encontramos en los misterios de la Cuenta Larga. La historia comienza el 13 de agosto de 3,114 a.C. cuando los textos describen el fin del 13 Baktun, esta fecha se registra retrospectivamente en textos como el Código de Dresde.

El  21 de diciembre de 2012 de nuestra era, será el final del décimo tercer ciclo Baktún 5,125 años después del ciclo anterior en 3,114 a.C. Mucha gente cree que este aniversario es de gran importancia cósmica y que significará el amanecer de una nueva era o un catastrófico colapso del mundo o el fin del mismo. Sin embargo los mayas no predijeron que pasaría exactamente con la llegada del decimo tercer Baktún. La fecha 2012 es mencionada sólo una vez en un fragmento de un monumento del sitio conocido como Tortuguero en México. Es simplemente usado como una fecha “ancla”, algo común en los textos mayas que enlazan eventos presentes.

LOS MAYAS HOY

El territorio maya continúa abarcando cinco países: México, Belice, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador. En Guatemala existen alrededor de seis millones que pertenecen a este grupo étnico que tienen como idioma materno 29 lenguas mayas. En Belice constituyen alrededor de un 20% de su población.

Una serie de factores adversos se registran desde el colapso inicial en 850/900 d.C del orden político-religioso maya: la fragmentación de su cultura durante el periodo postclásico;  la destrucción causada por los españoles y las nuevas enfermedades; la conversión forzada  al catolicismo.

A la llegada de los españoles muchos grupos maya-chortí se encontraban en el Sudeste de Honduras y en Copán. Los indígenas de habla chortí pertenecen cultural y lingüísticamente a los grupos mayas meridionales ubicados en las zonas altas de México y Guatemala. Copán está ubicado en el área chortí del mundo maya quienes presentaron férrea resistencia a los españoles encabezados por su cacique Copán Galel.

Actualmente habitan principalmente en el Departamento de Copán y su municipio Copán Ruinas. La población chortí ubicada del lado hondureño en la frontera entre Guatemala y Honduras, no conserva la lengua ni su traje tradicional. Constituyen una población de entre 3,500 y 4,000 habitantes y tienen apariencia ladina (persona no indígena) que conservan rasgos culturales de los antiguos mayas y que se suman a la diversidad cultural de Honduras.

3 pensamientos en “2012: EL TIEMPO DE LOS MAYAS”

  1. Tienen ustedes conocimiento del programa que se desarrollara en Copan para el 21 de Diciembre? o podria sugerirme un correo electronico o # telefonico donde pueda informarme?
    Muchas gracias,
    Lurbin

#NewMayaLanguage receives a special MENTION by the III Iberoamerican Design Biennale #BID12 Jury

Copan, Design, Fashion design, Frida Larios, Jewellery Design, Language, Madrid, New Maya Language, Sustainable Design

Frida-Larios-Erupting-Volcano-Runway_BID12

The III Iberoamerican Design Bienal 2012 jury awarded a special MENTION representing El Salvador to my sustainable jewellery collection: SKYBAND, and: HARVESTING HANDS fashion line under the Emerging Design, Innovation and Future call for entries.

NEW MAYA LANGUAGE: HARVESTING HANDS and CELESTIAL BAND [see more designs here] will be specially highlighted and physically exhibited within the Iberoamerican Design Biennale beautiful exhibition space in Madrid, Spain in November 2012 and its catalogue, with over 20 participating countries. Truly an honour.
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El jurado de la III Bienal Iberoamericana de Diseño 2012, en el marco de la convocatoria “Diseño Emergente, Innovación y Futuro”, otorgó una MENCIÓN especial a mi colección de joyería sostenible BANDA CELESTIAL y de ropa MANOS COSECHANDO representando a El Salvador.

NUEVO LENGUAJE MAYA: MANOS COSECHANDO y BANDA CELESTIAL [ver más diseños aquí] será expuesto, de forma física y especialmente destacada, dentro de la Exposición en la Central de Diseño Matadero en Madrid en Noviembre 2012 y en su catálogo. Realmente un honor.

GRACIAS! Bid12 – III Bienal Iberoamericana de Diseño

ACAS-UniversityCollegeLondon-low-01

The Anglo Central American Society invites you to a lecture about the Mayan Predictions: Maya: End of Days?

When? Wednesday, 24 October 2012 at 6pm

Where? Denys Holland Lecture Theatre, UCL Faculty of Laws, Bentham House, Endsleigh Gardens, WC1H 0EG London

Who? Lectures by Elizabeth Graham, PhD; Elizabeth Baquedano, PhD and Francisco Diego, PhD

NEW MAYA LANGUAGE sustainable jewellery pieces, book and toy exhibition by Frida Larios.

Members – £5
Non-members – £10
UCL students – Free

With many thanks to ACAS [through its Chairman, Judith Pollard, and Vice-chairman, Edith Ball] for supporting the New Maya Language cultural and sustainable message.

www.anglocasociety.org.uk

Art, Copan, Frida Larios, Jewellery Design, Language, London, New Maya Language, Sustainable Design

“Frida Larios: Businesswoman, Artisan, Preservationist” #NewMayaLanguage Feature Interview by Hat Trick Magazine, UK

Art, Copan, Design, Fashion design, Frida Larios, Graphic Design, Jewellery Design, Language, London, New Maya Language, Photography, Photojournalism, Sarawak, Sustainable Design, Tyler Orsburn, Washington DC

Excerpt from Hat Trick Magazine 9-page feature in their September 2012, Volume 1 Issue 2.

Frida Larios, International Indigenous Design Network (INDIGO) Ambassador, designer and creator of a new pictographic language.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I think it is safe to say that I am a multi-tasker extraordinaire. I went to a private German School (odd thing I know, but it was only a block away from my parents house) in San Salvador where I was raised. My peers in school always remember me painting with a full set of large-format paper, brushes and temperas displayed on my desk while paying attention and participating in a lesson about heavy German, Bertolt Brecht-type literature–all at the same time. I was attracted to both: art and sports since I was a little girl. From five until fifteen I was a gymnast representing my country at international level. I then moved on to indoor volleyball where I was part of the national team for five years and finally settled with beach volleyball. From 1996 until 2003 me and my partner were reigning Central American champions traveling in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour across Europe and South America. Beach volleyball was my passion, but design was equally as inspiring and important to me, I had learned that since my school days, so I never ceased to do either. It wasn’t easy as it meant waking up at 5am every day for practice so that I could have a full day of study, while I was finishing college, or designing, while I was managing my design studio. Then in 2003 I moved to London to study a masters degree in communication design in one of the most prestigious design schools in the world: Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design sponsored by the government of El Salvador through a sister fullbright scholarship programme. I had already lived on and off in London and the west coast of England while I was completing a bachelors degree in Graphic Design at University College Falmouth.

2. What was the inspiration behind your New Mayan Language Art Project?
Being far away from my home country while living in London, but at the same time being so close to one of the mecca’s of contemporary art and culture brought me close to my own roots. Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design was two blocks away from the British Museum in Holborn, which holds the most beautiful carved lintels in the Maya world from the Yaxchilán site. Being in touch with both: thousands of years old and at the same time the most contemporary art expressions sparked the idea of reviving the dead Maya hieroglyphic language.

Continue reading the rest of the 12-question interview in Hat Trick’s ISSUU edition page 28.

Mi Diseño y Artesania Sostenible de Joyería seleccionado para Exhibición y Finalista para Premio Bienal Iberoamericana de Diseño en Madrid BID12

Design, Frida Larios, Jewellery Design, Madrid, New Maya Language, Sustainable Design
Banda-Celestial-Joyeria-Piedra-Pendientes-Brazalete

Banda Celestial colección de joyería sostenible en piedra, una de las tres colecciones bajo el tema Nuevo Lenguaje Maya seleccionadas por el jurado de la BID12

Manos-Coschando-Dijes-Jade-Piedra-Obsidiana

Manos Cosechando colección de joyería sostenible jade sobre piedra, una de las tres colecciones bajo el tema Nuevo Lenguaje Maya seleccionadas por el jurado de la BID12

Plantando_Semillas_Huipil_Pasarela

Plantando Semillas huipil fabricado a mano bajo el tema Nuevo Lenguaje Maya. Parte de colección de ropa seleccionada por el jurado de la BID12

Mi trabajo Nuevo Lenguaje Maya: Manos Cosechando y Banda Celestial ha sido seleccionado para formar parte de la Exposición BID12 y es uno de los finalistas a los diferentes premios de esta edición.

La exposición BID12 tendrá lugar en noviembre de 2012. La semana inaugural de la BID será del 26 al 30 de noviembre.

Para la producción de esta línea de accesorios, Frida entrenó a talladores de origen indígena mesoaméricano en una técnica que mezcla de forma innovadora recursos nativos como el jade, la obsidiana, piedra toba y plata reciclada, rescatando así artesanía y habilidades ancestrales en peligro de extinción.

Las narrativas visuales de los diseños recomponen los significados y formas de los jeroglíficos mayas de 2000 años de antigüedad y permiten al portador leer y aprender de formas de vida indígena actuales y ancestrales.