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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Friday's Visual Treat - Day 5/The Theme of Royalty

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Jul1992SantoTomasChichicastenangoQuicheGT



Peeps,

This week's theme--royalty, ends with today's visual treat.  I received lots of responses to Monday's posted image:  Alexander McQueen and Bjork's collaboration fondly entitled " The Future and Past Dowager Empress Upon Ceremonial Presentation to the Imperial Court, Where an Assembled Chorus of Operatic Slave Girls, Blind Canaries, Golden Baboons, and Tuva Throat-Singers Will Offer Endless Cries of Adulation to Her Benevolence and Wisdom."  Apparently, his creations struck a nerve with many fashion-obsessed peeps who expressed an interest in visiting the exhibition at the MET.  Tuesday's image of queen-of-the-night tulips and the accompanying narrative prompted many to ask for photos of the garden of the unorthodox Lady Emblom; hopefully this will be done shortly with the aid of my brand-new digital camera.  Wednesday's visual treat featured the amazing RAJA who rocked the house, worked the runway, wowed the judges and was crowned Queen of RuPaul's Drag Race; as I said before, beauty appears in many forms, apparently without reason or logic, and enables us to move beyond ourselves.  Thursdays narrative, about the celebrated beauty and doomed French queen Marie Antoinette, illustrates how gossip and malicious talk--if unchecked---can become historical fact. 

On Sunday we celebrate Mother's Day, and I had to take this opportunity to thank all the mothers, daughters, sisters, nieces, wives, aunts, step and foster-mothers of the world. You know what you do daily to make it all possible.  The analogy of Queen/Mother/Earth Goddess has been wonderfully depicted in the visual arts, countless literary masterpieces over the course of recorded cultural history, both sacred and profane song and dance, and so forth. A visit to the National Gallery or any of the other museums will allow the interested art-lover to easily view Madonnas by artists ranging from early Renaissance painters to the Edwardians to the {still} controversial Willem De Kooning. Previously I intended to offer the woven textiles of Zaire, specifically the Kuba cloths, as today's visual treat.  For reasons that will become clear later, I decided to highlight woven textiles from Guatemala.   Today's visual treat shows a Mayan girl with her mother and younger sibling at the market in Chichicastenango, Guatemala.  They are dressed in native attire and seem blessed content to choose from coral-colored gladioli and citrus-yellow marigolds.The woven creations of that region are known as huipil, and through patterns, style, colors, placement of flowers, jewelry, accessories and so forth, these tribes can communicate their marital status, economic standing, town of origin, familial ancestry, and so forth.  It is a highly developed and complex system of communication woven into everyday and ceremonial clothing; the weavers and their creations show a remarkable ability to absorb new influences and designs from the modern world which surrounds these small villages in the mountain highlands, coastal strips, rain-forests, and the swampy interior of Guatemala (and adjoining parts of El Salvador, Belize, Honduras, Mexico).  

While the weavers and their creations may seem amazingly resilient to developments from outside, the reality of their existence is much more bleak.  Indeed, if you are a female in Guatemala, your life expectancy is substantially shorter than a comparable male; the possibility of being an uneducated mother of many infants prior to reaching the age of 14 or 15 is alarmingly high; and the number of females who suffer physical abuse--rape, torture, and mutilation--or, are silenced continues to increase--almost daily!!!  Please, please take a minute and visit the attached link for the Guatemala Human Rights Commission, and see how you can make a difference by a donation/phone call/write an article/radio talk/advocate to your PTA or civic group or elected representative. Please visit the GHRC site and read about the plight of girls and young women in Guatemala.  Remember, that you can make the difference for someone who may be facing torture or death.  Please help to make the future a little better for her (someone's mother or sister or daughter or only friend).  Please help to make a difference.  Visit their site at www.ghrc-usa.org.

Sincerely,
Shane

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