Guatemalan Indigenous Painting from Patzum

Guatemalan Indigenous Painting from Patzum, Guatemala

What makes art art and what makes everything else handicrafts or folk-art?

In Spanish art is arte and handicrafts are artesaní­as; kind of like little arts. I wonder why artesaní­as is the name given to the stuff created by the indigenous people of Guatemala… I wonder. Can anybody help me understand why?

© 2008 – 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • I’m not sure what the difference is either, but I DO know that this is a beautiful photo! I love the bright colors.


  • There is something called “cultura criolla” that pervades Guatemalan society. A related discussion was presented in Ronald Flores’ blog a few weeks ago. My point of view in a few words is that to diminished artistic expressions due to the author’s membership to certain ethnic group is a purely colonialist attitude. Moreover, as Guatemalan mestizo (from the guanabí ethnic group) I am learning to recognize in myself the duality oppressor/oppressed that inhabits my identity.
    Waxin’ philosophical, eh?

  • There I go, thinking I’m all smart and stuff, and then I read Rudy’s blog. *SIGH*

    I’m over my head in any kind of art discussion. To explain the difference between art and “arts and crafts” — the best type of translation I can think of to relate to the arte / artesanias question — is to only expose my own ignorance. (I won’t touch the arte / artesanias question per se b/c of my cultural / language barrier.) So much in this world I don’t know. Why do I have to hit my head against that HERE? Part of why I read this blog, I guess.

    A related question I’ve asked myself, that misses the racism inherient in Rudy’s question: What is the difference between art and “folk art”? Why is one beautiful piece of handcrafted furniture “art” and another only “folk art”? (The white dots and primary colors painted on crudely handsculpted animal figures…well, maybe I can see why that’s folk art…but why is Cubism not folk art? They both look silly to me. And that abstract stuff that hung at the local juried art show…the colors were pretty, but I don’t see how it’s art and some of the others were “simply” representational. Since this bugs me so much, I should take a class or read a book or something. And I guess this is too long to continue to be parenthetical…:) )

  • MO

    YA VAS! It’s a very nice paiting but where would this paiting look the best? Home? Restaurant? Hotel? Art Gallery? Museum? School?

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  • Bill

    Looking for info about Leonard Clark who painted in dots, Antiqua and Guatamala City

  • Jennifer


    Was wondering how you knew Leonard Clark. Love his work. I know him, if you are looking to contact him about his work.

    • I understand you know where to fine Leonard Clark

      I used to know him but I did lost his address and all kind of contact abput 15 years a go.

      I would love to get a hold of him again.

      Can you help me to get intouch again?

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  • A huge and complex issue!- with no right answer…….I found myself wondering why the National Art Museum in Guatemala City had chosen to try, somewhat desperately to arrange its collection along the lines of a Eurocentric and male dominated art history. Perhaps , because, as they say history is written by the victors?. Time for a new vision, maybe through indigenous eyes. Cubism was born out of Picasso’ s fascination and ”borrowing” from what was called Primitive art-( and Picasso admitted that ”a good artist borrows-a great artist steals”).As for the difference between craft and art, and good art and bad?- well that’s at least a library or two full of books waiting to be read……….

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