The 310th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  Sept. 14, 2021 at 7pm ET. ONLINE PRESENTATION VIA ZOOM. Please email comicssymposium@gmail.com to register for this event. Free and open to the public. Watch a recording on YouTube.

Jaime Arredondo: Place of Fright, Road of Awe. Illustrations of the Popol Vuh.

The Popol Vuh, or the Book of the Community, is the earliest body of literature in the Americas and in terms of its breadth of imagination and storytelling can easily be compared to The Odyssey by Homer, and The Epic of Gilgamesh. Unfortunately, we have witnessed a tendency to dismiss the art and culture of Native Americans as something of common coin, and difficult to access. In fact, there is an abundance of information on these First Peoples of the Americas, and with new technology we are now able to ascertain data never imagined leading to major revisions and a new way in how we view these cultures.

In 2007 I set myself on a mission to reverse this trend by bringing the Popol Vuh to light, leading me to assign readings on it to my classes at NYU and The New School. In 2010, as a way to elucidate and clarify the story I decided to create 26 illustrations that trace the story from the beginning to the middle. In 2019 I completed 39 more based on the remaining half of the story.

It is my profound hope that as a result of these illustrations the former glory of the Popol Vuh and its authors will be rightly restored to its deserved place in human history and that this in turn will lead to a greater interest and defense of it, and of the art and culture of Native, Indigenous Peoples.

Jaime Arredondo is an assistant professor at Parsons, and an adjunct professor at NYU. He was born in Dallas, Texas, to Mexican-American Tejano parents. His mother was a descendent of the original land in Texas dating back to the 1600s. His father was Otomi, a 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.

Arredondo has had numerous solo gallery and museum shows in the Southwest and in New York City, and has been 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 MTA comprised of 36 mosaics of his works, installed at the Zererga Station in the Bronx, and entitled “Garden of Earthly Delight.”

After graduating from Yale with an MFA in painting, Arredondo moved to New York City and began teaching his course “Of Fire and Blood: Art and Mythology of Mexico” at NYU Gallatin and The New School. He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

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In partnership with the K-12 Outreach Program at the Institute of Latin American Studies, Columbia University.

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