Maíz Flor Serpiente/Maize Flower Serpent for Smithsonian #LVMDayofDead Celebración

Anthrodesign, Art, El Salvador, Frida Larios, Graphic Design, Guatemala, Honduras, Indigenous, Indigo, Journey, PotencialPuro

Join us October 31, 2015 for the unveiling of Maíz Flor Serpiente/Maize Flower Serpent. Frida Larios and Manuel León from Indigenous Design Collective will show the final mural and talk about the creative process interpreting Macuilxochitzin.

Maíz Flor Serpiente/Maize Flower, a Smithsonian Latino Center commissioned digital piece from the Indigenous Design Collective. Work based on the 2015 Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum Day of the Dead Festival cultural identity character, Macuilxochitzin.

image

About Indigenous Design Collective and Maíz Flor Serpiente/Maize Flower Serpent

We are designers interpreting our cultural heritage through typo-graphy and art. Our collective aims to make Maya hieroglyphs and Indigenous art (not only Maya,) more accessible to the public, both children and adults, by applying them to different visual media.

We have chosen to illustrate the texture of a huipil to represent Macuilxochitzin; we find inspiring the fact that the art of backstrap weaving is still taught to the girls in Mesoamerica just as it was done with the princess back in the days.

“Every morning, you don your white huipil, iridescent embroidering on cotton, printed symbol of the plumed serpent, evolution. Black tresses floating in the air, tangling with the threads of the voice of Ehécatl, God of Wind.” Xanath Caraza, Weaver of Words.

In our iconographic process we first created a pattern based on the symbology of her name, Macuilxochitzin, which means: 5 Flower. The feathered serpent enters the composition as a vision embroidered on Macuilxochitzin’s huipil. When you look at the design in detail you will find that the feathers around the serpent are gracious maize leaves (“milpa”) and that the serpent’s scales also incorporate her flowers’ petals.

For more information on the Latino Virtual Museum Day of the Dead Real/Virtual Festival, visit latino.si.edu/LVM. Connect with the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum on Twitter and Instagram @Smithsonian_LVM

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Reblogged from Smithsonian LVM: http://lvmdayofdead.tumblr.com

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

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

Frida Larios — “The Village That Was Buried by an Erupting Volcano” #Boulder Book Store signing

Anthropology, Colorado, Design, El Salvador, Graphic Design, Joya de Ceren, Maya, New Maya Language

Start: 10/02/2014 6:30 pm

Frida Larios will speak about and sign her new book, The Village That Was Buried by an Erupting Volcano, on Thursday, October 2nd at *6:30pm*, Boulder Book Store.

Frida Larios will speak about and sign her new book, The Village That Was Buried by an Erupting Volcano, on Thursday, October 2nd at *6:30pm*.

Frida Larios will speak about and sign her new book, The Village That Was Buried by an Erupting Volcano, on Thursday, October 2nd at *6:30pm*.

About the Book:
The Village that was Buried by an Erupting Volcano, written in Spanish and English, is the real story about a community of Maya Indigenous peoples buried and preserved under volcanic ash for nearly 1500 years. This children’s picture book opens with a foreword by the site’s archaeologist, Dr. Payson Sheets from University of Colorado Boulder.

Vouchers to attend are $5 and are good for $5 off the author’s featured book or a purchase the day of the event. Vouchers can be purchased in advance, over the phone, or at the door. Readers Guild Members can reserve seats for any in-store event.

Location:
1107 Pearl St
Boulder, Colorado
80302
United States

Event Image:

Frida Larios -- "The Village That Was Buried by an Erupting Volcano"

#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.

Mandela en Xibalbá: una visión gráfica de Frida Larios

Africa, Art, Design, El Salvador, Frida Larios, Graphic Design, Honduras, Language, New Maya Language, South Africa, Tegucigalpa, Tyler Orsburn

95 years, 95 posters: Frida Larios poster selected for the #Mandela Poster Project Collection

Africa, Art, El Salvador, Frida Larios, Graphic Design, Honduras, Language, New Maya Language, South Africa, Tegucigalpa, Tyler Orsburn

Emerging-Underworld-Serpent-2-OUT-01  Photo courtesy of Eyescape 976336_486329781451007_1499123082_o 1072602_486329108117741_528142740_o Luis Yañez (Mexico) 1074829_485817071502278_842916305_o Alexis Tapia (Mexico) University of Pretoria  Photo courtesy of University of Pretoria  Photo courtesy of Ben Curtis.  Photo courtesy of Ben Curtis.  Photo courtesy of Ben Curtis.  Judge Yvonne Mokgoro, chairwoman  of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund  Photo courtesy of Eyescape© 057444

Pretoria, South Africa – In May 2013, a group of South African designers came up with than idea to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela by collecting 95 exceptional posters from around the world, honouring Madiba’s lifelong contribution to humanity.

The independent team of volunteers, now known as the Mandela Poster Project Collective, gave freely of their time and expertise to make the exceptional happen: In 60 days more than 700 posters were submitted by designers from more than 70 countries. The collection was curated and 95 posters (representing 95 years of Madiba’s life) will be exhibited around the world and will eventually be auctioned by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust to raise funds. In lieu of the high calibre of works received, it was felt more works needed to be showcased than the original 95. Plans are underway for a limited edition publication showcasing 500 of the posters submissions. The collective echoes the sentiments of South Africa’s beloved former president when he said “a good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

Selected designers for the Mandela Poster Project 95 exhibition collection:

Abbas Majidi (Iran)
Aimilios Galipis (Greece)
Alan Grobler (South Africa)
Albina Aleksiunaite (Lithuania)
Alessandro Di Sessa (Italy)
Alexis Tapia (Mexico)
Ana Ivette Valenzuela (Mexico)
Ana Paula Caldas (Brazil)
Anton Odhiambo (Kenya)
Aubin A Sadiki (Democratic Republic of the Congo/South Africa)
Bibi Seck (USA)
Bradley Kirshenbaum (South Africa)
Brenda Sanderson (Canada)
Bruno Porto (Brazil)
Byoung il Sun (South Korea)
Carlos Andrade (Venezuela)
Celesté Burger (South Africa)
Charis Tsevis (Greece)
Claudia Tello (Mexico)
COP Youth Congress (Trinidad and Tobago)
Cristina Chiappini (Italy)
David Copestakes (USA)
David Iker Sanchez (USA)
David Tartakover (Israel)
David Teveth (Israel)
Derek Flynn (Canada)
Diego Giovanni Bermúdez Aguirre (Colombia)
Dominic Evans (South Africa)
Don Ryun Chang (South Korea)
Eduard Čehovin (Slovinia)
Elizabeth Resnick (USA)
Ellen Shapiro (USA)
Fabio Do Prado (UK)
Fabio Testa (Brazil)
Félix Beltrán (Mexico)
Fernando Andreazi (Brazil)
Frances Frylinck (South Africa)
Francesco Mazzenga (Italy)
Frida Larios (Honduras/El Salvador)
Gareth Steele (South Africa)
Garth Walker (South Africa)
Germán Jiménez Pinilla (Colombia)
Gyula Gefin (Canada)
Hervé Matine (France)
Hon Bing-wah (China)
Interbrand Shanghai (Sijing Chen, Hung Hsiang, Miaojie Li, Chuan Jiang) (China)
Interbrand New York (USA) (Craig Stout, Ross Clugston, Jessica Vernick)
Interbrand New York (USA) (Annalisa Van Den Bergh, Kristin Labahn)
Ithateng Mokgoro (South Africa)
Jacques Lange (South Africa)
Jacqui Morris (South Africa)
Jasveer Sidhu (Malaysia)
Javier Bulacio (Argentina)
Jeffrey Rikhotso (South Africa)
Jimmy Ball (USA)
Joël Guenoun (France)
José Luis Hernández “Chepe” (Mexico)
Juan Madriz (Venezuela)
Kyosuke Nishiada (Canada)
Lauriel Coscia (South Africa)
Lavanya Asthana (India)
Levente Szabo (Belgium)
Lin You Ting (Taiwan)
Lola Coudignac (France)
Luis Yañez (Mexico)
Majid Abbasi (Iran)
Marcelo Aflalo (Brazil)
Marco Cannata (South Africa)
Marco Tóxico (Bolivia)
Maria Papaefstathiou (Greece)
Marian Bantjes (Canada)
Martin Joel (Botswana)
Mervyn Kurlansky (Denmark/UK/South Africa)
Mohammed Jogie (South Africa)
Najeeb Mahmood (India)
Onica Lekuntwane (Botswana)
Onur Kuran (Turkey)
Pepe Menéndez (Cuba)
Rafael Nascimento (Brazil)
Rafiq Elmansy (Egypt)
Robert L. Peters (Canada)
Roberto Vilchis (China)
Roy Villalobos (USA)
Russell Kennedy (Australia)
Sally Chambers (South Africa)
Sindiso Nyoni (aka R!OT) (Zimbabwe/South Africa)
Sophia SHIH (Taiwan)
Steve Rayner (South Africa)
Sulet Jansen (South Africa)
Theo Kontaxis (Greece)
Thomas Blankschøn (Germany)
Travis Kennedy (Australia)
Unnikrishna Menon Damodaran (Bahrain)
Vesna Brekalo (Slovenia)
Vitor Andrade (Brazil)
Wessel Matthews (South Africa)
William Taylor (South Africa)
Zarina Mendoza (USA)

Mandela Poster Project collection traveling exhibitions:

– University of Pretoria, Department of Visual Arts, Main Campus, 18–26 July 2013

– The exhibition is at HP head office in Johannesburg until 10 August (printed version – viewing by invitation only)

– TEDxJohannesburg, 15 August (digital version – only accessible to registered delegates)

– Open Design Expo, Cape Town City Hall, 21-31 August (printed version – open to the public)

– SA Innovation Summit, IDC Johannesburg, 27-28 August (digital version – only accessible to registered delegates)

– Johannesburg City Library, 1-30 September (printed version – open to the public)

– Arts Alive 2013, Zoo Lake & Mary Fitzgerald Square, Johannesburg, 1-7 September (digital version – open to the public)

More international venues and dates to be announced soon.

Website: mandelaposterproject.org
Facebook: Mandela Poster Project

“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

New Maya Life Exhibition Nov 26, 2012-Mar 3, 2013 Museo para la Identidad Nacional @fridalarios @tylerorsburn

Art, Copan, Design, Fashion design, Frida Larios, Graphic Design, Jewellery Design, Language, New Maya Language, Photography, Photojournalism, Tegucigalpa, Tyler Orsburn

Our first husband and wife collaboration: NEW MAYA LIFE [Nueva Vida Maya] photo, paintings and fashion exhibition, is being hosted by Museo para la Identidad Nacional from November 26, 2012 – March 3, 2013. NEW MAYA LIFE highlights the more than 2000-year-old indigenous Maya culture. Their contemporary art, craft and daily life is celebrated through our picto-graphic interpretations.

www.fridalarios.com

www.vimeo.com/tylerorsburn