Around 1,000 AD, in what is now Guatemala, the Quiche, the highland Mayan people, created in pictographic form a creation myth of the Universe in which a pair of Hero Twins must descend into the Underworld to save the next and final generation of humanity. The work is the earliest body of literature of the Americas; it was burned by the Spaniards in 1523. Two hundred years later, the creation story was retold to Father Jimenez, who translated the text from the native Quiche language to Spanish. Artist Jaime Arredondo has painstakingly brought the story back to life in art, creating 65 illustrations that trace the narrative chronologically, beginning with the birth of the Universe up until the first humans are made from Corn and the Sun and Morning Star appear. Arredondo illustrates important figures of the story such as Camazotz the Vampire Bat God, Vucub Caquix, known as 7 Macaw, and the Hero Twins, Hunahpu and Zbalanque, created by the Gods to save humanity.
Jaime Arredondo was born in Dallas, Texas, to Mexican-American Tejano parents. His mother was a direct descendant of the original land granted Spanish families in Texas dating back to the 1600s. His father was Otomi a large Native American nation originating from Central Mexico. While growing up Arredondo’s parents filled his imagination with stories of the borderlands and Mexico, of land, of conquest, of love and betrayal, of spirit and of soul. He has had numerous solo gallery and museum shows in New York City and in the Southwest. In 2009, his paintings were published as stamps by the United Nations and in 2015 he was commissioned to create a permanent art project for the MTA comprised of 36 mosaics of his works, installed at the Zerega Station in the Bronx: “Garden of Earthly Delight”. Arredondo graduated from Yale with an MFA in painting and lives in New York with his wife and daughter and teaches at The New School and at NYU.
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