Las Margaritas, Chiapas, 1971.
One of the handful of internationally acclaimed Mayan artists from Chiapas, Juan Chawuk has developed a unique figurative style in his painting and murals, and, in the last five years, has greatly broadened his practice, which now includes sculpture, performance and photography.
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Chawuk is largely self-taught, but he also received training at the Esmeralda school of Art in Mexico City.
“I learned to respect the land and all that physically exists, from my grandmother,” says the Tojolabal-speaking artist.
Chawuk richly employs Mayan iconography, mythic and current, whether jaguar spirits or Zapatista dolls.
Chawuk’s work has been shown throughout Mexico, as well as
in Europe and the United States. His paintings are in the collection of the Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. He has shown at the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, and presented at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris.
“…The position of Chawuk is to try to awaken the spectator to what is only metaphorically a “Mayan” dimension, while activating the imagination of the spectator in a universal manner. According to the artist, his work is a ‘bar code’ and the observer is its ‘detector.’”
(Luca D’Ascia, art critic)