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Pedro Tec’s dreamlike photo exhibit heads to U.S.

Mayan photographer is guided by the spirits in a series of mystical portraits

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Pedro Tec’s exhibit of Mayan portraits is migrating north of the border.

The Fundación ÓperaMaya, in collaboration with Artisan Alley and Arts Alliance of Greater Bloomington, have organized the photo exhibition in Indiana. Renamed “Mayan Dignity,” the show starts with a reception Friday, April 5 and runs through April 28.

“Mayan Dignity” is a series of deeply felt images of Mayan people in Yucatan, where Tec is from. It was recently on view for three months at the Macay museum in Merida as “Los Mayas Eternos.”

Tec was guided by mystical experiences when he was inspired to create the series of black-and-white portraits, which as somehow both highly stylized and still naturalistic.

“Some time ago, a man entered in my dreams, and he guided me in many ways,” Tec said. “One day, in my dreams, we come to an old place and looked at all these people, the images in the photos. Then a magic smoke arose from them. I do not know if they were dead or were magical beings. These dreams were very recurring and I stopped them.”

One revealing dream was set in a misty landscape where a dead woman, with a moon-like glow, guided him to the dark side of a mountain. Walking through fog and told him: “You do not thank from where your God has taken you.”

Tec perceives his Maya heritage as representing a living, sensitive people who have preserved their culture throughout the centuries.

Nearly 30 images containing dramatic faces and landscapes of the Mayab tell religious, social, political and daily life stories. “With this work I conceive a face and we dignify a people,” said Tec.

Born in Ixil, Yucatan, Tec studied archaeology and Mayan culture at the Autonomous University of Yucatan. Through photography, digital editing and social community art he explores the themes of identity, as well as the ancestral, gender and socio-political aspects of Mayan culture.

This is Tec’s first exhibit in the United States. He has been featured in exhibits in El Salvador, Spain, Italy and throughout Mexico.

He obtained the State Prize of the Youth in Arts, Yucatan, and other distinctions such as CONACULTA (2014) and Cultural Promotion A.C. (2017). He was also first-place winner in the VI Visual Ethnography Festival, Maddaloni, Italy, 2015 as well as at the Banamex Culture Development Roots Competition, 2017.

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