Zamara Cuyún is, for better or worse, a product of colonization, with Indigenous roots in Guatemala – born and raised in Minneapolis. A self-taught, “Gringindia” artist of de-Indigenized Highland Maya ancestry, she works in acrylics, using elements of Guatemalan Maya history, ideology, and iconography - sometimes to explore and create a vibrant, colorful, imaginary dream universe and, at other times, to represent the restless, violent, and unsettling world we are often forced to inhabit. The themes that inspire her work and to which she is drawn back to, time and again, include indigenous identity (her own, as well as that represented in Guatemalan society), the history of colonization and resistance, the persecution and genocide of Indigenous populations, and the call for social justice, reconciliation, revitalization, and decolonization and the central role and strength of women in this process.
Color and light are of the utmost importance in her work. She wants her subjects – the lovely, as well as the gruesome – to pulse with color, light, and life from within. Vibrant Guatemalan Indigenous Maya textiles and art - contemporary and precolonial - as well as European stained-glass, Scandinavian rosemaling, and contemporary graphic novels inspire and inform her use of color and brushstroke.
For more information, please visit her website: www.zamaracuyun.com