Highland Maya of Guatemala Comes to SUMA

Published: April 26, 2017 | Author: Ashley H Pollock | Read Time: 2 minutes

Highland Maya of GuatemalaSouthern Utah Museum of Art hosts an extensive exhibit titled Highland Maya of Guatemala featuring the photographs of Michael Plyler May 4 through July 1, 2017 with an Artist Talk on Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. These black and white photographs are taken with traditional film and developed in an old-style wet darkroom. SUMA is open October through May from noon to 6 p.m. and June through September 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Admission to SUMA is free and open to the public. Free parking is available at the corner of 300 West and University Blvd.

This exhibit incorporates 56 images of people and cultural icons in the Guatemalan region and is arranged by the language that is spoken in each area. Each image transports you to a village that brings to light the daily life of these people. The images were taken in the early 1980’s through the 2000’s.

Michael Plyler said of the exhibit, “These portraits span some sixteen trips over the course of twenty-three years. As such, they serve as a record for tradition and traditions changing.”

Plyler’s extensive knowledge and research into the lives and heritage of the Mayan people reflects greatly in the capturing of these stunning pieces. He shares that information throughout the exhibit, which also resides in the permanent collection of the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

He received a commission from the Guatemalan Tourist Institute in 1983 and was a recipient of a Visual Artist Fellowship from the Utah Arts Council in 1993. In 2010 Plyler and writer Logan Hebner published "Southern Paiute: A Portrait" through Utah State University Press. As the current director of the Zion Canyon Field Institute, Plyler also serves as the Institute's photography instructor. His work is represented by the LaFave Gallery in Springdale, Utah.

Of his time spent in Guatemala, Plyler said, “All these visits to Guatemala bear witness not only to my recording of the Mayans’ everyday lives, but my evolution as a photographer as well. My initial vision, almost exclusively in color, shifted almost exclusively to black and white by 1984. I progressed from 35mm through medium format to large format (4x5). Along the way I taught myself the intricacies of Ansel Adams’ Zone System.”

Experience the traditions of the Guatemalan people when you visit the Highland Maya of Guatemala exhibit at SUMA. For more information about SUMA, please visit www.suu.edu/suma

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