TRAVELS TO THE CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER
Paintings by Winifred Godfrey depicting the distinctive textiles of the Mayan people of the Guatemalan Highlands will be on display at the Renaissance Court Gallery in the Chicago Cultural Center at 78 E. Washington St., Chicago, Ill., from March 26 through May 2, 2010. There will be an opening reception on Friday, March 26 from 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. Included will be a sale of Mayan handicrafts. The following Wednesday, March 31 the artist will give a slide presentation on Guatemala at 2:00 p.m. Renaissance Court Gallery is managed by the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, Senior Services – Area Agency on Aging, enter at 77 E. Randolph St.
Mayan Procession is made up of 14 life-size paintings representing villagers from throughout Guatemala. Each village takes pride in the weaving of their traditional costume and each costume has a special meaning to those who wear it. The paintings are arranged in a sequence to depict the beginning, middle and end of a funeral procession. The sequence ends in a cemetery, with kites flying to communicate with the departed ancestors. Included with the paintings are photos of daily life in Mayan villages and samples of their beautiful hand-woven daily and ceremonial dress.
The series was inspired by Godfrey’s travels in Latin America where she became fascinated by the indigenous people of Guatemala. She was captivated by their colorful hand-woven clothing and impressed by their gentle demeanor in the face of adversity. “The Mayan Procession is the way I chose to honor this beautiful and mystical people, who are a living connection to our Pre-Columbian past,” said Godfrey.
The Chicago-based artist has exhibited widely, including more than 60 solo exhibitions throughout the US and Mexico. Mayan Procession has received an enthusiastic response at numerous museums and galleries, including the David Rockefeller Center of Latin American Studies at Harvard University. “I don’t believe that any art exhibition that we have had at the Center has had such a powerful impact on those who saw it,” the Center’s executive director writes in a letter to the artist.
Sylvia Krissoff of the Grand Rapids Press writes: “Godfrey’s ultra-smooth paintings are super-realistic, using artistic license as she moves far beyond photography in this expressive and impressive display of a beautiful people.” She continues: “Although the canvases are not framed, they are linked as backgrounds, walkways, lines and colors move the eye from one group of participants to the next.”
For further information contact Patricia O’Malley at the Renaissance Court Gallery (312) 744-4551 or Patricia.OMalley@cityofchicago.org, or Winifred Godfrey at (773) 929-6516,