2270 NW 23rd St.
Miami, Florida

Cheen and Manuel Chavajay, Artistas Maya Tz’utujil


Maya Tz’utujil poet and visual artist, Cheen, lives and works in San Pedro la Laguna on the shores of Lake Atitlán. Her practice is directly engaged with her community, reviving ancient thoughts and applying them in our current contexts, which undergo several ruptures. In resistance, she uses her Mayan attire and preserves ancestral food preparation processes.

Since 2008, she has been recording her dreams, and since 2010, she has been involved in planting and reviving the use of medicinal plants. In 2017, she became part of the IXKEM collective of women weavers, promoting chemical-free cleaning products in various spaces to emphasize the importance of preserving Mayan languages.

As of 2023, she is currently part of the Tz’aqaat collective, making her debut in the 23rd Paiz Art Biennial in Guatemala. In October 2023, she will participate in a collective exhibition titled “Silent Spring” at the Luciana Brito Gallery in São Paulo, Brazil.

Manuel Chavajay

Manuel Chavajay’s work spans various two-dimensional, installation, and audiovisual formats. As a Maya-Tz’utujil artist, he has sought to construct images, actions, and objects that provide poetic forms of denunciation and vindication of his culture in his practice. His personal history, like that of a large percentage of Guatemala’s population, is marked by the violence of the armed conflict, of which he and his family were direct victims.

Like other indigenous artists of his generation, Chavajay sees contemporary art as a space for healing. His work refers to the wisdom of practices and spirituality linked to the Mayan worldview: a profound connection with nature, life, and the energy present in things, reflecting both a way of thinking and ways of life that have endured despite the material and symbolic threats of the globalized world.

Between 2009 and 2021, he has participated in numerous collective and solo exhibitions in Guatemala, Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, the United States, Scotland (Glasgow), Nicaragua, Brazil, the Czech Republic (Prague), Canada, and various biennials including the SIART Biennial in Bolivia, the Curitiba Biennial in Brazil, the Seventh Biennial of Visual Arts of the Central American Isthmus (BAVIC), and the Bienales de Arte Paiz. His works are also included in the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, the Cosmopolis #1.5 Enlarged Intelligence in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou, and the Àbadakone Continuous Fire Feu Continuel in the National Gallery of Canada and held in public collections such as the Ortiz Gurdian Museum in Nicaragua, the Reina Sofia Museum in Spain, the art collection of the Inter-American Development Bank in New York, the National Gallery of Canada, and private collections.