Guatemala: Welcome to Paradise (Alejandro Marré)

Alejandro Marré: Welcome to Paradise
(I'm traveling and blogging from Guatemala right now, so expect a number of posts from me specific to this region. - XJ).

During a recent (and all-too-brief) visit to Antigua, Guatemala, I stopped by an exhibit at the Centro de Cooperación Española, which included some recent works by the Guatemalan artist Alejandro Marré. My favorite in his "series of interventions on Guatemalan traditional paintings" above, more images on his blog.

The visual joke here is that one encounters folksy little oil paintings that look just like this for sale as tourist mementos on the cobblestone streets of Antigua -- minus the Teletubbies, Star Wars characters, and other hacks the artist has added.

Architectural Detail: Antigua, GuatemalaThe site where the show took place is stunning, and was built about 500 years ago. It began as a Jesuit college, then went through various incarnations after various natural disasters destroyed it a few times over.

Here are a few crude snapshots I took of external details -- the site served as the town's central marketplace for about 200 years.

This sign points you to what things you could once find for sale in which sections of the building: vegetables, salted meats, clay cooking pots, whatever the average Guatemalan home in the late 1800s might require. I can't quite make out what all of them say, or mean, but as I read the list I found myself imagining what kind of activity -- and foods, and other products -- I might have encountered if I were standing in this spot 200 years ago.