Friday, November 26, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Hola a todos. Como han de saber, mi libro, Guatemala: eterna primavera, eterna tiranía se publicó en junio gracias al apoyo de la Fundación Soros/Guatemala y de varios colegas, entre ellos Daniel Chauche; Andrés Asturias y el equipo de Estudio A2; José Fahsen de Print Studio, y la diseñadora Lucía Menéndez. El prólogo fue escrito por Aryeh Neier, presidente del Open Society Institute/NY y el comentario es de Juan Luis Font. Cinco meses después, se han vendido el 80% de los ejemplares de venta en la librería Sophos, en Guatemala. Sin embargo, Cirma, la entidad ONG en Antigua, obtuvo 500 ejemplares los cuales tienen que ser distribuidos gratuitamente. Si desean copia del libro, les sugiero ponerse en contacto con la señora Lucrecia Arriola de Cirma (
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
This is a response to recent emails.
In July, the Spanish Cultural Center/Guatemala (CCE/G) cancelled an exhibit of my photographs that was scheduled to travel to 12 rural municipalities from May to October 2010. The photographs document the height of Guatemala’s civil war, and especially the Army’s counterinsurgency program in rural areas, including Nebaj, Barillas, and Playa Grande, three towns on the exhibit route.
I was never informed by the CCE of the exhibit’s cancellation. At about the same time, however, the photographs were returned to Guatemala City after completing only 5 of the 12 scheduled stops on the two circuits. The photos now sit in storage in Guatemala City.
This is a disappointment to me and to my colleagues in Guatemala, especially those at CANEK and the PNR, who invested a good deal of sweat equity toward this effort. It is also discouraging to think that, 25 years after these photos were taken and 14 years following the signing of the Peace Accords, this is the net result.
The question now is: How to re-organize this exhibit. The towns where the exhibit was scheduled to show and did not are: Nebaj, Barillas, Livingston, Tucurú, Playa Grande and La Libertad/Petén and CPR Primavera del Ixcán. We would also like to expand this exhibit also to include other communities such as San Martín Jilotepeque; Chajul/Cotzal; Huehuetenango, Panajachel; Flores, etc., as well as urban centers including high schools and universities public and private; government buildings; and other locales you may wish to suggest. Please email me with a message through facebook if you have any ideas.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Guatemala: eterna primavera, eterna tiranía is available in Guatemala at Sophos Bookstore, 4 Avenida, 12-29, zona 10, where it was #1 in June sales! It is also available online at amazon.com.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Guatemala: eternal primavera, eternal tiranía: Thirty-somethings.
On June 23, the Centro de Cultural de España (CCE) hosted the launch of my book, Guatemala: eternal primavera, eternal tiranía, and the opening of the related exhibit of 38 photographs at (Ex)Céntrico art gallery in downtown Guatemala City. Both events were packed; CCE was SRO, and someone mentioned that the (Ex)Céntrico opening was the largest crowd to date.
For me, the events were a watershed event in two respects.
First, I was happy to have my book published in Guatemala and to be well received. Guatemala: eternal primavera, eternal tiranía is number one on the Guatemala bestseller charts, beating out even Stieg Larsson’s girl wonder, Lisbeth, in June sales at Sophos bookstore. It has been reviewed in every newspaper and featured on the inimitable Ángel Elías radio program (see links below). With respect to the photo exhibits, (Ex)Céntrico’s zone one address is an appropriate venue; the location lends itself to viewing by lots of Guatemalans, not just folks who buy art. A smaller traveling exhibit of the photographs in 12 communities, sponsored by CANEK/CCE, has made the photographs available in places like Nebaj, Zacapa, Xela, and Comalapa. Despite Pacaya, Ágatha, Álex, and sinkholes, CANEK reports that thousands of people have viewed the show; the comment book in Santiago Atitlán contained 198 comments.
I was especially fortunate to have our daughter, Renée Simon Anderson, at the CCE and exhibit opening. Her presence that night – meeting friends, taking snapshots of Mommy and old acquaintances -- meant more than I could have imagined.
Speaking of my 17-year-old daughter, the second watershed event: youth. At the CCE question-and-answer, someone asked if today’s Guatemalan youth is a lost cause. The answer is simple: No.
First, the thirty-something generation largely produced this book: the contributions of Andrés Asturias, Lucía Menéndez, Jorge Castrillón, Pamela Escobar, and Claudia Méndez Arriaza reflect talent, hard work, and commitment. Isaac de los Reyes, Laura Luja, and Johanna Barrios are responsible for the traveling exhibit, which entailed hundreds of hours traveling to highland communities In addition, several “almost thirty-somethings” also contributed: José Fahsen, the general manager of Print Studio, is a businessman who heads Guatemala’s best printing house. He also believed in this book and has good ideas for the next popular edition. Juan Luis Font, managing editor at elPeriódico, was passionate about the idea of resurrecting my two-decade-old English edition for the Spanish version.
In retrospect, perhaps what struck me as most unusual about working with this group of people was that we never actually talked politics. For one thing, everyone was working so hard that there wasn’t much time for chitchat. At the same time, however, everyone in the group was committed to the idea that historical memory is important, and the book was worth it for that reason alone.
Second, I was floored by the crowd that showed up for the CCE presentation and the exhibit, since two-thirds of them were the under-forty crowd. Some of the people there have disappeared relatives, and a few have vague memories of the 1980s, when the war was most intense. However, most of the younger crowd was curious: I watched in amazement as they stood in the CCE for the presentation, or made their way through the exhibit.
George Bernard Show, you’re wrong; youth is not wasted on the young.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Author David Lipsky's comment that "a book has friends before it has readers" seemed created for my book, and no one faster comes to mind than Andrés Asturias, photographer and owner of Estudio/A2 which, according to Daniel Chauche, is the only place to pay for Photoshop in the Isthmus.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
In May 2009, I realized that doing a book meant more than getting money to do it. Tani Adams told me in a phone call that there was one person capable of putting together a photo book in Guatemala. That person was Daniel Chauche, a French-American photographer who has lived in Guatemala since the 1970s.
Friday, April 23, 2010
When the English version of Guatemala: Eterna Primavera, Eterna Tiranía was published in NY 22 years ago, I was living in Guatemala, and I did not pay much attention to the design. I thought designers were people who fretted about details that were not important to me or to what I wanted from a book. I was, of course, wrong.