September 2, 2021
Oklahoma History Center to Host Mayan Art Exhibit and Guatemalan Cultural Celebration
OKLAHOMA CITY — To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, the Oklahoma History Center (OHC) will host a Mayan Art Exhibit featuring original art from four Mayan artists September 14–18. The exhibit will culminate with a Guatemalan Cultural Celebration beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 18.
The Mayan Art Exhibit will also celebrate the bicentennial of independence for Mexico and Central America, which occurred in September 1821. Featured artists are Hilario Efraín Xitamul Roquel, Sergio Josué Cuy Saloj, Lucía Anabela Xitamul Roquel de Cotuc and Yoselyn Anabella Cotuc Xitamul. The artists will be available at the OHC from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day to answer any questions about their art, Mayan culture or Guatemala. The artwork on display will be available for purchase.
On Saturday, September 18, the exhibit will wrap up with a Guatemalan Cultural Celebration at the Oklahoma History Center. Guatemalan food from Pollo Campero will be available for purchase, and several Guatemalan dance groups will perform. The events are cohosted by the Oklahoma Historical Society, the Guatemalan Consulate office, and the Guatemalan Society of Oklahoma. The Mayan Art Exhibit and the Guatemalan Cultural Celebration are free and open to the public, and will take place on the first floor of the OHC.
About the artists:
From a very young age, Hilario Efrain Xitamul Roquel loved to paint. He developed his personal style, and by 2015 he began to sell his artwork internationally, particularly in California and Spain. The following year he was hired as an art teacher at the Quezaltenango School of Art, where we taught children aged 8–12. He distinguishes himself from other artists through his meticulous selection of themes, colors and styles for each painting.
“Recollecion de Café,” one of Sergio Josue Cuy Saloj’s paintings, was inspired by his childhood memories of harvesting coffee beans with his parents. From November until January or even February, his family would travel up into the mountains during the annual harvest season. He distinguishes himself from other artists from Sololá, Guatemala, through his careful nature when approaching all aspects of his work. While other artists are able to work for a commission, Sergio cannot paint unless he is fully inspired to work. He states that even small work requires an immense amount of preparation, matching that of his larger works. He will reflect over his ideas for hours on end until the most opportune moment arises, which is why he often works while others sleep.
Lucía Anabela Xitamul Roquel de Cotuc loved to paint even at a very young age, entering contests where she often placed first. She has become of the leading artist of Sololá due to her brilliant use of her brush and canvas. Her pieces are displayed throughout Guatemala. She began painting in 1998 in Sololá, and became one of the most well-known artists of that Guatemalan city because of her brilliant artwork and her advocacy for all artists. She focuses her work on the daily lives of Indigenous towns and their citizens. Her work can be seen all throughout Central America. She stands out for her process while painting. She will start at one corner and progress from there, painting the final version from the start. Some observers claim her works of art are so impactful due to her ability to work with contrasts and the direct relation between the lights and darks.
It was in Sololá in 2010 when Yoselyn Anabella Cotuc Xitamul first mixed different tints of aniline, a fabric dye, with tree sap in order to paint. She and one of her siblings followed in their father’s footsteps and became groundbreaking artists. As a child, she would often accompany her father to visit his friend in Quetzaltenango. She was fascinated by color’s ability to create scenes of daily life on canvas. From an early age, she was incredibly talented and her family wholeheartedly supported the development of her skill. Her artwork often recreates the daily lives of Indigenous towns or relates to traditional themes of Guatemala.
The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.