Säsäknichim Martínez

Mayan/Tsotsil artist

Säsäk Nichim

Adolfo López Mateos, Huixtán, Chiapas, México. 1980.

Säsäknichim (Margarita) Martínez Pérez, linguist, translator, audiovisual artist, practices photography, video, textile intervention and embroidery, and maintains an important activity as an academic. Säsäknichim has a PhD in Anthropological Linguistics, and is a professor-researcher at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Sciences and Arts of Chiapas.

Since 2005, she has been conducting ethnographic research and linguistic documentation among the Tsotsil Mayans of the Highlands of Chiapas, and co-directs Stsebetik Bolom, a photography and activism collective involved with young Tsotsile Mayan women of Chiapas.

For 15 years, Säsäknichim has been using photography and video for ethnographic recording and linguistic documentation of the Tsotsil language. Her photographs document Mayan children who collaborate in activities of daily life and ritual or play to emulate their parents at work. Through her photographic documents, we see a child sitting sucking a candy after having danced, two little brothers blowing on the corn to clean it.

In her role as an embroiderer and textile interventionist, Säsäknichim is an animator and member of the Arte Yabtel Bats’i Antsetik collective. In working with textile teachers and artists, Säsäknichim documents, through photography and video, the work processes of embroidery and the Mayan loom.

Audiovisual production:

  • Me’jalobetik: guardians of the wisdom and art of the people, 24 minutes, 2019.


  • INAH Award, Wigberto Jiménez Moreno, in the doctoral thesis category, 2017

Group exhibitions:

  • Skuxlejal antsetik (Women’s life), Galería MUY, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, 2022.
  • Cross-Border Mayan Project, virtual exhibition, Centro Cultural De España, Guatemala, 2020.
  • Mayan and Zoque interpretations of the (In)visible pandemic, virtual exhibition, Galería MUY, 2020.
  • Tanchak: Huixtán Carnival, with Abraham Gómez, Galería MUY, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, 2020.
  • Weaving the Art, with the series Ch’ulel fabrics, with Cecilia Gómez, Galería MUY, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, 2018.
  • Transpasiones, from the photographic series Metaphors of the heart, multidisciplinary exhibition, Casa de la Enseñanza, CESMECA y UNICACH, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, 2017.
  • Women of light, with the series Tenuous line between play and work in the Tsotsil children’s world, with Marcey Jacobson, Gertrude Duby Blom y Maruch Sántiz, Girlsclub Nueva York, USA, 2015.

Books in which she has participated:

  • Ch’ulel fabrics, digital photobook, UNICACH, 2019.
  • “ABCH Stalel jkuxlejal, xcholel k’op xchi’uk lok’tambail”, group photobook with Maruch Sántiz y young people from the Collective Stsebetik Bolom (before Club Balam)., Texto trilingüe (tsotsil, español e inglés), Girsclub, N.Y, 2016.
  • ABC My Culture: Alphabet and Photography in Tsotsil, 2016

To visit Säsäknichim’s YouTube click here

Artworks from Säsäknichim Martínez's catalogue