OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

MFA Research on the Guatemala Weaver


Aeleen Jacinto


The purpose of my travel research was to get more firsthand knowledge and experience about the Mayan woman weavers of Guatemala because I am drawing inspiration from Mayan weavers for my thesis solo show exhibition at the Dutton Family Gallery at CSUSB on April the 4th, 2019. I have incorporated weaving and other knitting techniques within my art to communicate the struggles of weavers in Guatemala, especially women who are marginalized despite working hard to support their poor families. In recent times these marginalized indigenous women have become central to the overall Guatemalan economy as tourism and cultural appropriation have seen large sums of wealth created but with little trickling down to these weavers. It is my purpose to bring both attention and admiration for these women weavers into my art exhibition. In my travels to Guatemala, I was able to accomplish my research about learning the knitting processes and traditions that belongs to the indigenous Maya in Guatemala. During my research I was able to find Lorena, an indigenous artisan who weaves in the streets of Antigua, Guatemala. She is also a woman who is the main source of financial support to her family. She taught me how to do the twisting knitting technique which is used traditionally within Guatemala, on hair or as decoration for Mayan traditional cloths. While she was teaching me, Lorena expressed her concern about younger generations not wanting to learn how to weave anymore because they feel attracted to popular culture and mass media. Lorena told me that her little sisters and daughters don’t want to learn about knitting anymore because it is easier to go and buy western clothes, which sometimes are less expensive. Younger generations in Guatemala want to assimilate to the western lifestyle, especially how it is portrayed on television and movies these days. Therefore, I want to create a performance piece where I teach the twisting weaving method to the people that visit my opening reception to bring awareness of the effects of capitalism to our societies, especially to the Maya. I plan to make a piece where people will be able to learn how to weave by watching a video of me performing how to do the twisting weaving technique. The audience will be able to touch and help me finish this piece, which I will title Help! at Risk of Extinction, 2019. This artwork will be buildup of yarn where the audience will be able to twist more yarn to it. People will also learn about Lorena’s concern of native weaving being lost to history, which is now my concern too. With this art piece, I also want to create an awareness of this contemporary issue that is affecting negatively, especially to marginalized people in Guatemala. The final art piece will remain on exhibition to make people wonder and make them interest about learning more about the Mayan weavers of Guatemala.

This document is currently not available here.