General
    “Mayan Narratives: San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala. Photographs by Byron Maldonado,” will be on display at The University of Scranton’s Hope Horn Gallery from Friday, Oct. 7, through Friday, Nov. 18. Maldonado will speak about the exhibition at a lecture at 5 p.m. on Oct. 7 in the Pearn Auditorium of Brennan Hall. A public reception immediately follows at the Hope Horn Gallery in Hyland Hall.

    Photo Exhibition Features Mayan Narratives

    “Mayan Narratives: San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala. Photographs by Byron Maldonado,” will be on display at The University of Scranton’s Hope Horn Gallery from Friday, Oct. 7, through Friday, Nov. 18. Maldonado will speak about the exhibition at a lecture at 5 p.m. on Oct. 7 in the Pearn Auditorium of Brennan Hall. A public reception immediately follows at the Hope Horn Gallery in Hyland Hall.
    September 29, 2022

    A rich burst of color shines in the predominately black and white image of Rose Cuy, highlighting the beauty of Mayan traditional dress that is all-too-quickly fading from the town of San Lucas Tolimán in Guatemala.

    Byron Maldonado hopes his photographs of elderly women of his village who still wear traditional Mayan clothes will help remind people in his town, and inform people the greater community, of the richness of Mayan culture. 

    “I hope to remind people of the importance of traditions that are being lost,” said Maldonado of the images he took in 2012 which will be part of the art exhibition “Mayan Narratives: San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala,” to be displayed in The University of Scranton’s Hope Horn Gallery from Friday, Oct. 7, through Friday, Nov. 18.

    Maldonado, a native of San Lucas Tolimán, has been taking photos of his village and its people since the time when, as a boy, he found a camera discarded by a visiting tourist in the garbage. 

    One day, a priest who ran a Roman Catholic Church Mission in the village saw one of his photos and bought it. The priest, Father Gregory Schaffer, then asked him to begin documenting the work of the San Lucas Mission. 

    “My passion for photography was born and my career as a documentary photographer began” wrote Maldonado on his website.

    Maldonado recalls that Father Gregory instructed him to only take images of the people, not the way they live, telling him to always keep intact the dignity of the people he photographed.

    It is a lesson Maldonado keeps to this very day, saying the faces of those in the photo tell their story – each wrinkle, the texture of their skin, tells about their lives.

    Among the photos to be included in the upcoming exhibition is one of Laso Diaz.

    “His eyes mean something different to everyone who sees the photo. Some see happiness, others see curiosity. Some see sadness,” said Maldonado. “I remember that he was just so happy to have his photo taken. His big, bright eyes remain with me to this day. In his eyes, I see a sense of hope.”

    Maldonado moved to the U.S. in 2006 and further developed his skill as a photographer. 

    He returns to San Lucas Tolimán annually. He continues to support the work of the Friends of San Lucas Mission and to keep in touch with those he photographed a decade ago.

    Maldonado said that if he were to take a portrait photo of himself it would show two images where his heart lives. One would be of him working with the people of San Lucas Tolimán. The other would be of him with his family. It would document the artist, like his art, preserving the past while looking toward the future.

    Maldonado will discuss his exhibition at a public lecture at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7, in the Pearn Auditorium of Brennan Hall. A gallery reception will immediately follow at the Hope Horn Gallery as part of the City of Scranton’s First Friday events. The exhibition can be seen during gallery hours through Nov. 18. The lecture and exhibition are free of charge and open to the public.

    This exhibition is produced through the Hope Horn Gallery in cooperation with the Office of Community Affairs and the Multicultural Center at The University of Scranton. It is part of the “Scranton’s Story, Our Nation’s Story” project, made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. (Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.) Funding for the show and its related programming has also been provided by a University of Scranton Diversity Initiatives Grant and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

    For additional information, call the Hope Horn Gallery at 570-941-7624, or email Darlene Miller-Lanning, director of the Hope Horn Gallery, at darlene.miller-lanning@scranton.edu.

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