Glen Park resident helps show collection

Glen Park’s Rita Moran is director of La Mujer Maya / Maya Woman: The Helen Moran Collection, which promotes the dignity and human rights of indigenous and Latina women by presenting contemporary Maya art that brings world attention to their lives. The artist below’s art is featured in the collection. Moran is co-sponsoring the artist’s visit and arranging the presentations. She is a writer and teacher of English as a Second Language at City College of San Francisco.


On November 13 at CCSF’s Mission Campus, indigenous Guatemalan artist Pedro Rafael Gonzalez Chavajay will speak about Maya Art and Spirituality, and show slides of his paintings. Pedro Rafael, whose brother and cousins are also painters, is the most respected Tz’utuhil Maya artist working today. His paintings were shown in San Francisco with the 2004 blockbuster exhibition “Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya,” at the Palace of the Legion of Honor. His work is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, and is currently featured in a gallery of contemporary masters at the NMAI in New York.

Pedro Rafael’s finely detailed, vibrantly colored paintings document the rich, living cultural heritage of the Maya. They are steeped in the natural beauty of his home town, San Pedro la Laguna, on the shores of Lake Atitlán in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. The artist is also an engaging, articulate spokesperson who can explain the unique Maya cosmovision and its expression in indigenous ceremonies and traditions.

Pedro Rafael was inspired by his grandfather, Rafael Gonzalez y Gonzales, the first modern Maya painter. Back in 1929 Rafael began to create his own paints by mixing weavers’ dyes with sap from the gaviléa tree. As a child, Pedro Rafael watched his grandfather paint, and practiced drawing under his grandfather’s eye. Later he drew and painted for several years with his uncle José Antonio Gonzalez Escobar in Guatemala City. Pedro Rafael went on to play a major role defining the unique naïve art style. He has taught many younger Tz’utuhil painters in three of the small towns bordering Lake Atitlán. The themes that Pedro Rafael originates soon make their way into the repertoire of other artists. Today, many young Maya are inspired to paint, realizing that art can be a viable source of income as well as a source of pride.

WHO: Pedro Rafael Gonzalez Chavajay, Guatemalan Maya artist

WHAT: Talk and Slide Presentation: “Maya Art and Spirituality”

WHEN: Tuesday, November 13, 2012

7:00 PM

City College of San Francisco, Mission Campus

1125 Valencia Street, Room 109


5:00 to 6:45 PM, Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Café Que Tal, 1005 Guerrero Street, San Francisco

The exhibition will run from October 24 through December 31, 2012.

FOR MORE INFO: Joseph Johnston, Director, Arte Maya Tz’utuhil

Rita Moran, Director, Maya Woman: The Helen Moran Collection


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