Popol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Quiché through Illustration

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Around 1000 CE, in the present-day country of Guatemala, a highland Mayan people called the Quiché created a pictographic creation myth of the universe known as the Popol Vuh, or the Book of the Community, in which a pair of Hero Twins must descend into the Underworld to save the next and final generation of Humanity. It is the earliest body of literature in the Americas and, in terms of its breadth of imagination and storytelling, is comparable to that of Homer’s Odyssey and the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Popol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Quiché through Illustration is an exhibit that features a series of illustrations by artist Jaime Arredondo, with the artist’s hope to restore the former glory of the Popol Vuh and its authors to its deserved place in human history. In turn, this will lead to a greater interest and defense of it, and the art and culture of Native and Indigenous peoples.

Shortly following the arrival of the Spanish in Guatemala, multiple Indigenous literary codices, including the Popol Vuh, were ordered to be burned in 1524. The stories in the Popol Vuh were later retold in 1721 to Father Francisco Ximenez, a sympathetic Dominican priest who translated the text word-for-word from the native Quiché language to Spanish.

Unfortunately, there has been a tendency to dismiss the art and cultures of Native Americans as something of common coin and difficult to access. However, there is an abundance of information of these First Peoples of the Americas, and with new technology and discoveries, we are now able to ascertain data never imagined, leading to major revisions and new ways in how we see these cultures as well as reviving parts of these cultures that were once lost to time.

Jaime Arredondo’s mother was a direct descendant of the original land granted to Spanish families in Texas dating back to the 1600’s, and his father was Otomi, a large Native American nation originating from Central Mexico. While growing up they filled his imagination with stories of the borderlands and Mexico, of land, of conquest, of love and betrayal, of spirit and of soul. In 2007, Arredondo assigned readings on Popol Vuh to his students in his “Of Fire and Blood: Art and Mythology of Mexico” course at NYU and The New School. In 2010, he supplemented his reading assignments with 26 illustrations he created to elucidate and clarify the story. The initial 26 illustrations traced the story from the beginning to the middle of the epic tale. In 2019, he completed 39 more illustrations based on the remaining half of the story.

In addition to the 65 high-quality reproductions of the original illustrations, the exhibition will feature interpretive panels in both English and Spanish; as well as an introductory section about the Popol Vuh that will be presented in English, Spanish, and Quiché. 

About the Artist:

Jaime Arredondo was born in Dallas, Texas to Mexican American Tejano parents. He is a graduate of MacArthur High School and the University of Dallas, both located in Irving, TX. He has had numerous solo gallery and museum shows in the Southwest and in New York City, and is the recipient of numerous awards. In 2009, his paintings were published as stamps by the United Nations, and in 2015 he was commissioned to create a permanent art project for the Manhattan Transit Authority comprised of thirty-six mosaics of his works, installed at the Zerega Station in the Bronx, and entitled “Garden of Earthly Delight.” After graduating from Yale University with a MFA in Painting, he moved to New York City and began teaching his course “Of Fire and Blood: Art and Mythology of Mexico” at NYU, and at The New School. He currently lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

About the Irving Archives and Museum:

Established in 2020, the Irving Archives and Museum (IAM) in Irving, TX is a community-based museum with a mission to engage visitors through thought-provoking programs and dynamic exhibits that explore history and evolving cultures of our community and our region.

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Exhibition Details

65 high-quality reproductions of original illustrations

  • Content

    Fee Includes:
    Press Kit
    Registrar’s Packet
    Programming Guide
    Gallery Guide
    Text Panels
    Narrative Labels
    Full Insurance
    Installation Instructions
    Custom-Designed and Built Crates

  • Curated By

    Jaime Arredondo in partnership with the Irving Archives & Museum

  • Organized By

    The Irving Archives & Museum in Irving, TX

  • Out-of-Region Rental Fee

    $5,700

  • In-Region Rental Fee

    $3,400

  • Duration

    7-weeks

  • Shipping

    Common Carrier

  • Running Feet

    TBD

  • Square Feet

    -

  • Security

    Limited

  • Number of Crates/Total Weight

    Approx. 2 Crates, Weight TBD

  • Insurance

    The exhibition is fully insured by ExhibitsUSA at no additional expense to you, both while installed and during transit.

Tour Schedule

Popol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Quiché through Illustration is touring September 2024 through August 2030. The dates below reflect seven-week exhibition periods. Dates are subject to change; please contact MoreArt@maaa.org or (800) 473-3872 x208/209 for current availability.

  • September 1–October 20, 2024 El Museo Latino
    Omaha, NE
    pending
  • November 10, 2024–January 7, 2025 El Museo Latino
    Omaha, NE
    pending
  • January 28–March 16, 2025 Stauth Memorial Museum
    Montezuma, KS
    pending
  • April 6–May 25, 2025 25% OFF
    available
  • June 16–August 11, 2025 Converse County Library
    Glenrock, WY
    pending
  • September 1–October 20, 2025 Arlington Museum of Art
    Arlington, TX
    pending
  • November 10, 2025–January 7, 2026 25% OFF
    available
  • January 28–March 16, 2026
    available
  • April 6–May 25, 2026
    available
  • June 16–August 11, 2026
    available
  • September 1, 2026–March 16, 2027 Irving Arts Center
    Irving, TX
    pending
  • April 6–May 25, 2027
    available
  • June 16–August 11, 2027 Refurbishment at Mid-America Arts Alliance
    Kansas City, MO
    booked
  • September 1–October 20, 2027
    available
  • November 10, 2027–January 7, 2028
    available
  • January 28–March 16, 2028
    available
  • April 6–May 25, 2028
    available
  • June 16–August 11, 2028
    available
  • September 1–October 20, 2028
    available
  • November 10, 2028–January 7, 2029
    available
  • January 28–March 16, 2029
    available
  • April 6–May 25, 2029
    available
  • June 16–August 11, 2029
    available
  • September 1–October 20, 2029
    available
  • November 10, 2029–January 7, 2030
    available
  • January 28–March 16, 2030
    available
  • April 6–May 25, 2030
    available
  • June 16–August 11, 2030
    available

Downloads & Resources

Click HERE to view and download the Factsheet for Popol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Quiché through Illustration.