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The Mayan world in the digital era
The past and future of Guatemala merge in the new IDB Cultural Center art exhibition, honoring the host country of the 48th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank.

Unlike previous art exhibitions at the Cultural Center, the exhibition “Guatemala: Past and Future” is made up of multimedia presentations that portray key elements of Mayan culture in digitally restored versions.

This new art exhibition offers a window to Guatemala’s past through art and technology in a presentation organized with an optimistic view toward the future and mindful of lessons from the past, according to Félix Ángel, IDB Cultural Center general coordinator and curator.

The multimedia presentations make it possible to appreciate what a Mayan city in pre-Columbian times looked like at its zenith, based on the re-creation of existing architectural ruins.

Digital displays included in the exhibition are the pre-Columbian city of Tikal, Stele 3-Machaquilá Petén (an archeological site), Antigua Guatemala (Old Town Guatemala), colorful Mayan textiles, the country’s multicultural diversity and traditions, the Central Corridor project and a new digital learning tool for Guatemala’s youth.

The selection of works consists of lithographs by Guatemalan modernist forerunner Carlos Mérida, inspired by the Mayan Sacred Book Popol Vuh; the digitally restored version of the Canvas of Quahuquechollan, painted by indigenous people at the beginning of the conquest of Mesoamerica by the Spaniards; and an additional section devoted to the Petén region that completes the exhibition, along with a series of videos that propose actions to mitigate social problems through technology as a means for progress or example, the urban renovation of the Central Corridor, planned for the year 2020.

During the opening ceremony, the IDB governor for Guatemala, Federico Linares, said that in honor to Guatemala, inclusion will be the key topic of the upcoming Annual Meeting of the IDB Board of Governors. “ What we want is to leave behind personal, ideological, cultural, and economic phobias and affections so that we all take part in economic development, as expressed by the motto on which the Popul Vuh is based: ’So that everyone rises and nobody remains behind.’"

For his part, the Guatemalan Minister of Culture, Manuel Salazar, said that “it is necessary to combine the great knowledge of modern times and the ancestral knowledge. These two energies will bring a better economy, a better society and a better coexistence in peace, a great deal of peace, as said in the Popol Vuh."

Additional information

The exhibition is open from February 7 to May 4, 2006. A free full-color bilingual catalog is available for free to the public. For additional information about the IDB Cultural Center and its programs, please call (202) 623-3774. The IDB Cultural Center art gallery is located at 1300 New York Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., and is open five days a week, Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., free of charge. The nearest Metro station is Metro Center.