The Last Mestizos: Pedro Tec Artfully Honors His Elders in Ixil

Pedro Tec and one of his Ixil neighbors as seen from his lens. Photo: Pedro Tec

Artist Pedro Tec, in collaboration with Fine Art America, is hosting a photographic exhibition in homage to the Maya people of his hometown.

“The Last Mestizos of Ixil” represents the first time that Tec has displayed artwork in this tiny pueblo north of Conkal. His silvery black-and-white photos depict its matriarchs in stunningly dreamlike detail, capturing everyday life in a place where modernity is largely rebuffed by the indigenous population.

As the name suggests, the photo presents a disappearing culture in a village that’s seeing upscale housing being built on appropriated land. Some disputes over what’s called a “land grab” have been bloody. But Ixil is valuable for its proximity to Yucatán’s coast, and countless acres north of Mérida are giving way to privadas, or gated communities with homes out of reach for most locals.

Photographer Pedro Tec continues to document the lives of his community’s elders in Ixil. Photo: Pedro Tec

About Pedro Tec

Pedro Tec is also the leader of Los Mayas Eternos, a nonprofit that brings provisions and other aid to impoverished residents.

Tec studied archaeology and Maya culture at the Autonomous University of Yucatan (UADY). Through photography, digital editing and social community art, he explores the themes of identity and the ancestral, gender and sociopolitical aspects of Maya culture. His work comes from dreams and mystical experiences.

Pedro Tec’s work has been presented in Italy, Spain, Venezuela, and Mexico, including MACAY in Mérida and the Pinacoteca Roque Dalton Gallery at the University of El Salvador.

He has won the State Youth in Arts Award, Yucatán, and other distinctions such as CNDH (2018), CONACULTA (2014), and Fomento Cultural A.C. (2017), CODHEY (2017). Winner of the First Place in VI Visual Festival of Ethnography, Maddaloni, Italy (2015) and the First Place in the competition Roots of Culture Development, Banamex (2017). Several of his photographs were printed on the covers of the Yucatán Encyclopedia (2018).

The reception for The Last Mestizos of Ixil begins 7 p.m. Saturday, March 16 at Casa de los Sojoles, Calle 25 between 16 and 18, Ixil. Call +52 999-354-3904 for more information.

Lee Steele
Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012.
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