Sabanilla, Chiapas, 1990
Darwin Cruz grew up in a Ch’ol-speaking rural village in the township of Sabanilla. Since childhood, Cruz has practiced fine arts based on the history and mythology of the jungle, as well as a cosmology impregnated with nature.
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Transfixed by the images of his childhood, his work pays tribute to mountains, rivers, caves and trees, aided by imagination, in a mix of atmosphere and metaphor. This style of magical realism portrays nahuales and other supernatural entities, often interfering in human affairs.
He studied art at the UNICACH in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, where Cruz maintains his studio. He creates art based both on legends and historic narratives of the jungle or of native hot-land region of Chiapas. His worldview is rooted in the Ch’ol culture — the direct descendants of the original people of Palenque — and explores the often challenging and even tragic changes in contemporary life and economy of that region.
Cruz has worked alongside various mid-career painters from Chiapas, including Manuel Suasnavar, Patricia Mota and Juan Chawuk, and is part of the generation of young Maya artists Baltazar Lopez, Isidro Ubaldo Gutierrez and Rigoberto Gómez.