Antún Kojtom

Painter, engraver and muralist

Antún Kojtom, 1969; Ch’ixaltontik, Tenejapa

Channels his culture through his artistic work. He grew up in a small and isolated Tseltal hamlet, only learning to speak Spanish when he left, at age 16, to do manual labor in central Mexico. Kojtom’s family is highly traditional in outlook and rich in local knowledge, including Tseltal-Mayan cosmology.

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From 1988 to 1994, he worked with the collective “Juntos,” in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. Kojtom considers himself a largely self-taught painter, as well as an engraver. He describes his style as shamanistic. This is because it is thoroughly conceptualized, based on the Tseltal spiritual idea of ch’ulel. That is, (1) ch’ulel which means consciousness; (2) ch’ulel me’tik tajtik which means “father/ mother end-of-consciousness; (3) ch’ulel poslom: the energy of fire; (4) ch’ulel lab’: the energy linked to animals; (5) ch’ulel te’ak‘: vegetation energy (of tree, corn, etc.).

At the end of 1993, he settled in San Cristobal de Las Casas to continue learning technique from artists living there.

In 2004, he cofounded “Bonbajel Mayaetik”, a primarily indigenous artist collective. In 2007 Kojtom also founded “Gráfica Maya”,  another collective that promotes art as a means of social transformation and the recovery of the ancestral knowledge of the Maya people.

Marco Turra and Luca D’Ascia, of the University of Pisa (Italy), have studied the aesthetic, social, and spiritual elements of Maestro Antún’s work.

Kojtom has exhibited in the United States, Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, Brazil, Guatemala, Austria and in the states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Morelos, Guerrero, Quintana Roo, Oaxaca and Mexico City.