INTERNATIONAL AMBASSADOR ENCOURAGES STUDENTS TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES WITH MAYAN GLYPHS

Anthrodesign, Children, Design, El Salvador, Graphic Design, New Maya Language, Washington DC

POSTED ON OCTOBER 7, 2015

INTERNATIONAL AMBASSADOR ENCOURAGES STUDENTS TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES WITH MAYAN GLYPHS

Milagros Reyes, a 13-year-old from Buck Lodge Middle School in Hyattsville, was fascinated when she learned about a “mini version” of Pompeii in El Salvador.

She had been creating a story using Mayan glyphs, which she learned from Frida Larios, an award-winning typographic artist from El Salvador

Larios works as an artist and ambassador for the International Indigenous Design Network. She collaborates with cultural institutions in El Salvador, as well as at the Salvadoran embassy in Washington, where she facilitates workshops that encourage young Salvadorans in the U.S. to embrace their native culture through art.

She brought this knowledge to campus Tuesday as a part of “Imaging Homeland and Belonging.” The event took place in Stamp Student Union’s Art and Learning Center.

The workshop attracted a large and diverse group of students.

For those of Latino/a heritage, and it provided an opportunity for them to reflect on [part of] their cultural roots and their idea of home.

For Frankie Jovel, a senior and a member of Lambda Theta Phi, a Latino fraternity on campus, this event helped him get closer to his Salvadoran heritage.

“This motivates me to look into my culture,” Jovel said. He was using the glyphs to write a sentence about corn tamales, which he said he loves to eat.

As an introduction to the event, Larios presented on Mayan culture and history, in which she discussed the meaning of the ancient glyphs and distributed a colorful guide that showed the various designs along with their English meanings.

“The Mayas were such thinkers. They are the ones who invented the number zero. They had a whole cosmology with constellations and stars. They domesticated corn and they invented chocolate. We owe a lot of things to the Maya. So we need to learn about them like we learn about the Greeks,” Rodríguez said.

Larios said she wants to show that Mayan glyphs are deeply rooted within people of Central American origin.

“We are genetically drawn to these forms due to the fact that the [Mesoamerican Indigenous] lived 2,000 years—maybe less—but the time we were colonized was even shorter. We belong to the region. We are natives. By exposing young people to the language, there is greater capacity for learning, because there’s empathy,” Larios said.

With the help of archaeological experts, Larios is working to [preserve] Mayan script. She is illustrating in bright, contemporary style that is immediately attractive.

One of her projects is a children’s book titled, The Village that was Buried by an Erupting Volcano, which she wrote and illustrated using Mayan glyphs. The book tells the story of an indigenous Mayan village in El Salvador preserved under volcanic ash for nearly 1,500 years.

Known as the Joya de Cerén Archaeological Park, this village is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“That’s my mission—to transmit cultural heritage in a ludic, interpretative manner, using design as a tool,” Larios said.

She also designed the uniforms that the Salvadoran team wore to the 2015 pan-American games in Toronto. The uniforms, which were inspired by traditional Salvadoran costumes, were white and blue and adorned with ancient Mayan symbols.

However, Larios says it isn’t easy to encourage people in El Salvador to wear traditional costumes.

“It was a challenge because of the lack of attachment to traditional costumes. It’s a stigma. It’s persecution against indigenous peoples because they represent the peasant class, the class that [historically started] upheavals,” Larios said.

Featured Photo Credit: Belqui Ríos, a senior family science major taking a course called “Great Themes of the Hispanic Literatures; Home, Homeland and Be/longings in U.S. Latina/o Texts.” For students like Ríos, the workshop provided an opportunity to reflect on their cultural roots and the idea of home. (Gabriela Martinez/For The Bloc)

Gabriela Martinez is a communications graduate assistant at the College of Arts and Humanities and may be reached at gcmdavila@gmail.com

Advertisements

Talk: Ancient glyphs inspiring new Maya design at the Smithsonian Latino Center

Anthrodesign, Art, El Salvador, Guatemala, Talk, Washington DC

Published by Hola Cultura, Washington, DC, June, 2015

A Maya-inspired design by Frida Larios. Photo by Oliver Garretson

A Maya-inspired design by Frida Larios. Photo by Tyler Orsburn

At the Smithsonian Latino Center recently, two designers decked out in colorful Central American outfits discussed how the ancient art of their Mayan ancestors influences their work; a design methodology that goes beyond  artistic endeavor.

Frida Larios, an ambassador for the International Design Network, is the creator of the New Maya Language; a multimedia design project. She is an author, lecturer, facilitator, typography consultant and educational product designer. Originally from El Salvador, she sported a contemporary tunic styled with modernized indigenous symbols at the May 28 talk.

Manuel León is a multimedia graphic designer originally from Chichicastenago, Guatemala. He is the owner of the design studio Potencial Puro and the art director and website designer for the United States Institute of Peace.León was dressed head-to-toe in traditional Maya clothing.

While the indigenous regalia looked a bit out of place in the conference room of the Center’s Southwest Washington D.C. office building, they had the full attention of the small audience of Smithsonian staffers and others who take special interest in Latino or indigenous cultures.

Larios and León are in the midst of creating a Maya design collective dedicated to Maya knowledge, symbolism, and preservation of their identity as indigenous people.

Their similar methodologies and values brought them together. They draw a deep influence from the Maya to inspire new art forms, while using ancient symbolism as a means to inspire people of Mayan descent to take an interest in their rich cultural heritage. They look to inspire others to take an interest in their heritage as Mayans and build a common understanding of its relevance. It’s a design methodology that could be used with other indigenous cultures to help people discover aspects of their identity in the same way it helped Larios delve more deeply into her identity as a Salvadorian, she said.

By reinterpreting ancient symbols they aim to breath new life into them. Larios said they envision their Maya design collective will “preserve our heritage and make it relevant to today’s citizens, using design as a bridge.”

In other words, design is the medium through which they connect the past and the present by adapting the Mayan visual language in a way that is understood in today’s world. These changes could be seen as the changes any language goes through over the course of time. Likewise, adaptation prevents Mayan hieroglyphics from becoming merely the subject material for history books.

For Larios, pictograms are stories. In some of her work she utilizes pictograms everyone knows, like a skull and crossbones. Then, integrates this common symbol into modern symbols to create a new idea—a new Maya language. These symbols are incorporated into her various mediums such as clothing, jewelry, and art prints.

Manuel León, Awakening Ocelote

Manuel León, Awakening Ocelote

For León, his work is much more than art; philosophy inspires the story behind his visual designs. He said the book “Ensueños Cosmovisión Del Maiz” by Daniel Matul is a particularly guiding aspect with regard to his philosophy. Of the designs he presented, an image of an ocelot with four points stands out; a traditional glyph of an ocelot reinterpreted in mid-yawn. León named this visual interpretation “Awakening Ocelot”.

When asked how their work is perceived by the natives and community, they agreed it was welcomed, particularly children thoroughly enjoy it. Despite the interest children show in their work, they noted that there is certain competition when it comes inspiring children to take an interest in their cultural heritage. This competition comes from pop-culture phenomena, such the booming superhero movie franchises.

What is known of the Maya glyphs is largely from Archeological study. Larios’ and León’s reinterpretations often begin from these archeological interpretations. The Spanish Conquest was a breaking point in Maya culture; their language and the related knowledge of hieroglyphs were lost. Larios and León are trying to construct a conceptual bridge between the past and the
present.

“What you see here is not even the tip of the iceberg,” said Larios, referring to an entire lexicon of glyphs waiting to be integrated into a modern symbolism.

—Oliver Garretson

Celebrate #HispanicHeritageMonth with author @FridaLarios. Join us today at 2pm!

Anthrodesign, Archaeological Site, Book, Children, El Salvador, Joya de Cerén, Reading, Washington DC

Published on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 – 9:49am

Celebre el Mes de la Herencia Hispana con la autora Frida Larios
Frida Larios

puzzle

Join us Saturday, Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. as author Frida Larios presents her book, The Village That Was Buried by an Erupting Volcano along with a workshop on the New Maya Language with the Green Child wooden puzzle.

Acompáñenos el sábado 20 de septiembre a las 2 p.m. donde la autora Frida Larios presentara su libro, La Aldea que fue Sepultada por un Volcán en Erupción, con un taller del Nuevo Lenguaje Maya.

#WashingtonDC, Mount Pleasant Library Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with Author/Advocate #FridaLarios

Design, El Salvador, Frida Larios, Graphic Design, New Maya Language, Washington DC
District of Columbia Public Library is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with a New Maya Language book reading and workshop:
Date: Saturday, September 20, 2014 – 2 p.m.

In observance of Hispanic Heritage Month, author Frida Larios will present workshop and reading that will facilitate children’s (ages 4-11) discovery and question the unique visual world of letters and Mayan mythology. The trilingual (English, Spanish and New Language [Visual] Maya) children’s book, The Village That Was Buried by an Erupting Volcano (children’s book) and the Green Child wooden puzzle are the tools of this workshop and educational experience. In the Children’s Room on the 2nd floor of the Mount Pleasant Library.

Front Cover

Front Cover

District of Columbia Mount Pleasant Public Library, invitation

District of Columbia Mount Pleasant Public Library, invitation

Story, first double page spread

Story, first double page spread

Foreword by Payson Sheets, PhD, UC Boulder Professor

Foreword by Payson Sheets, PhD, University of Colorado Boulder Professor

#Frida, el lenguaje maya y Joya de Cerén

Art, El Salvador, Frida Larios, Graphic Design, New Maya Language, Washington DC

Publicado el 13/08/2014 a las 11:31:43 por Miguel Huezo Mixco, de su blog El Amigo Imaginario de el periódico ElFaro.net

Mural de Frida Larios en Joya de Cerén

Mural de Frida Larios en el Parque Arqueológico Joya de Cerén

El patrimonio ancestral necesita reinventarse, o muere. El diseño, por su capacidad de síntesis y de elaborar, interpretar y crear realidades, es una poderosa herramienta para representar y reanimar nuestro pasado. Con estos fines, Frida Larios ha creado un “nuevo lenguaje maya”.

El pasado no es un lugar “sagrado”. Los dioses no inspiraron a los creadores del Templo del Gran Jaguar, en Tikal, ni a los escultores de las estelas de Copán. Tampoco a los artesanos de Joya de Cerén. Lo “sagrado” se vuelve intocable y solo un grupo de elegidos goza de la potestad para cambiarlo. Ese tipo de ideas producen conductas arbitrarias.

La demolición del mural de Fernando Llort, en 2011, se intentó justificar diciendo que contenía signos ajenos a la tradición católica, y se acusó al artista de promoverse comercialmente, como si eso fuera pecado. Hay que ponerse alerta cuando se pontifica en nombre de la religión o de la ciencia…

Es conveniente recordar aquellos tristes acontecimientos, pues ahora hay quienes aseguran que el mural de Frida Larios en el Parque Arqueológico Joya de Cerén, en San Juan Opico, es una especie de profanación al espíritu de los ancestros. Muchos no pensamos igual, y consideramos que el mural le ha otorgado un nuevo brillo a ese extraordinario lugar.

Como en El Salvador no se ha dado un debate constructivo sobre los usos sociales del patrimonio, prevalece la idea de que la valoración del pasado es una atribución exclusiva de los historiadores, arqueólogos y restauradores. Pero no hay que olvidar que también los artistas tienen un papel central en esa tarea. Para el caso, el diseño, en sus múltiples ramas, es decisivo para que más gente aprecie y preserve su herencia patrimonial; como dice García Canclini: para que “el pasado tenga porvenir”.

El mural ofrece una versión de la destrucción del antiguo asentamiento de Joya de Cerén, ocurrida en el siglo VII de nuestra era, con una iconografía sustentada en la gráfica de los artesanos de la antigua aldea. La puesta en valor de Joya de Cerén, Patrimonio de la Humanidad, pasa, entre otras cosas, por la necesidad de que el relato del historiador y el del arqueólogo se intersecten y combinen con el del artista.

El Salvador posee un rico patrimonio cultural que sigue estando infravalorado y escasamente explotado. En parte, porque el asunto ha sido encarado con una estrategia conservacionista. La política cultural tiene un enorme desafío para vincularlo con otras redes conceptuales, como el turismo, la comunicación masiva, el entretenimiento, y también con el contexto social de desigualdad y pobreza que le sirve de marco. Esto nos abrirá a las posibilidades que ofrecen los nuevos lenguajes, incluido el del arte, para que el pasado nos importe, para que se vuelva actual.

Una muestra de la reciente producción de Frida Larios se exhibe en estos momentos en el museo Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park (DDP), de Seúl, junto al de otros 14 diseñadores internacionales.

Una muestra de la reciente producción de Frida Larios se exhibe en estos momentos en el museo Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park (DDP), de Seúl, junto al de otros 14 diseñadores internacionales.

Children’s book: The Village that was Buried by an Erupting Volcano by @fridalarios

Design, El Salvador, Frida Larios, Language, New Maya Language, Washington DC

Publicado para los niños y niñas de mesoamérica el 6 de marzo de 2014 por la Dirección Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural, Secretaría de Cultura de la Presidencia, con el apoyo de Boquitas DIANA de Centroamérica./Published for all Mesoamerican boys and girls on march 6, 2014 by the Dirección Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural, Secretaría de Cultura de la Presidencia, with the support of DIANA de Centroamérica.

Versión trilingüe: español, inglés y pictoglifos© del Nuevo Lenguaje Maya©. Con una actividad de cortar, pegar y crear pictoglifos©/Trilingual version: English, Spanish and New Maya Language© pictoglyphs©. With a cut, paste and pictoglyph© creation activity.

La Aldea que fue Sepultada por un Volcán en Erupción es la verdadera historia acerca de una comunidad de población Indígena maya que fue sepultada y preservada por ceniza volcánica por casi 1500 años. Abriendo con un prefacio del Dr. Payson Sheets, arqueólogo del sitio, fue escrita e ilustrada por Larios. La narrativa fue inspirada en su primer hijo Yax (el Niño Verde) y el sitio arqueológico Patrimonio de la Humanidad de UNESCO: Joya de Cerén. 

The Village that was Buried by an Erupting Volcano is the real story about a community of Maya Indigenous peoples buried and preserved under volcanic ash for nearly 1500 years. Opening with a foreword by the site’s archaeologist, Payson Sheets, PhD, it was written and illustrated by Larios. The narrative was inpired by her first son Yax (the Green Child) and the UNESCO World Heritage Joya de Cerén archaeological site. 
PREFACIO

Estoy contento y honrado de escribir un prefacio al maravilloso libro de niños de Frida Larios sobre el antiguo pueblo maya de Joya de Cerén. Debido a que personas de todas la edades vivían y jugaban en su pueblo Maya hace unos 1400 años, desde bebés y niños hasta los adultos y las personas mayores, es oportuno que la información sobre la vida en la aldea se difunda a los salvadoreños y de todas las edades. Estoy profundamente satisfecho de que Frida Larios ha escrito e ilustrado este libro para que los niños pueden aprender sobre su herencia profunda desde hace tantos siglos. En Joya de Cerén vemos las raíces de las familias salvadoreñas de hoy. Y las necesidades básicas
de las familias de hoy en día son muy parecidas a las de ayer, ya que los padres necesitan alimentar y vestirse a ellos mismos y sus hijos, y proporcionar refugio. Ellos necesitan almacenar y procesar los alimentos, y tienen que cooperar con sus vecinos para el mejoramiento de todos. Es mi esperanza que este cautivante libro sea ampliamente disponible para los salvadoreños y otros que visitan el sitio arqueológico, y en muchos otros lugares en todo el país. Todos tenemos una deuda de gratitud con Frida Larios.

Payson Sheets, PhD
Profesor del Departamento de Antropología Universidad de Colorado, Boulder, EE. UU.

FOREWORD

I am pleased and honored to write a foreword to Frida Larios’ wonderful child’s book about the ancient Maya village of Joya de Ceren. Because all ages of people lived and played in their Maya village about 1400 years ago, from babies and children to adults and the elderly, it is appropriate that information about life in the village be disseminated to Salvadorans of all ages today. I am deeply gratified that Frida Larios has written and illustrated this book so children can learn about their deep heritage from so many centuries ago. At Joya de Ceren we see the roots of Salvadoran families of today. And the basic needs of today’s families are much like those of today, as parents need to feed and clothe themselves and their children, and provide shelter. They need to store and process food, and they need to cooperate with their neighbors for the betterment of all. It is my hope that this compelling book be widely available to Salvadorans and others that visit the archaeological site, and in many other venues all across the country. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Frida Larios.

Payson Sheets, Phd
Professor, Department of Anthropology University of Colorado, Boulder, USA 

Front Cover

Front Cover

End paper

End paper

Foreword

Foreword

Story page 1

Story page 1

Bio and summary

Bio and summary

End paper

End paper

Taller en el sitio

Taller en el exterior del Centro de Interpretación del parque arqueológico de Joya de Cerén con niños del Colegio Alfonsina Storni del Sitio del Niño

Taller en el sitio

Taller en el exterior del Centro de Interpretación del parque arqueológico de Joya de Cerén con niños del Colegio Alfonsina Storni del Sitio del Niño

Edición

Edición

My blog’s 2013 in review

Design, Frida Larios, Honduras, Tegucigalpa, Washington DC

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,600 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

FridaLarios.WordPress.com 2012 Year in Review

Frida Larios, New Maya Language, Photojournalism, Washington DC

In 2012, there were 16 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 113 posts. There were 70 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 24 MB. That’s about a picture per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 27th with 176 views. The most popular post that day was New Maya Life Exhibition Nov 26, 2012-Mar 3, 2013 Museo para la Identidad Nacional @fridalarios @tylerorsburn.

Attractions in 2012

These are the posts that got the most views in 2012:

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2012. Your writing has staying power!

Where did they come from?

Where did they come from?

That’s 121 countries in all!
Most visitors came from The United States. Mexico & El Salvador were not far behind.

“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.

Buen día Frida – 9/4/11

We visited La Hacienda today with the new US Ambassador. Our group had an amasing time – of course – but I was PLEASANTLY surprised to find such wonderful art here. Your new Mayan interpretations are stunning! I used to be an artist myself, but decided to be a diplomat instead 🙂 I hope to see more of your art and I wish you the most success! I can’t wait to purchase one of your designs!

Danielle Maniscalco

Danielle's Testimonial

Copan, Frida Larios, New Maya Language, Washington DC