This article examines Maya paintings as historical documents, political platforms and conduits for cultural transmission in two local Maya communities. Particular attention is paid to the recent history of genocide of Maya peoples in Guatemala and the production of paintings as visual reminders of cultural loss and regeneration, as well as visual means to protect Maya future generations. Collaborative ethnography and decolonizing methodologies (Lassiter, 1998; Tuhiwai-Smith, 1999) are used in this study; thus, Maya artists speak through written dialogues and interviews in first voice regarding massacres that were kept clandestine for three decades. This paper addresses the potential and capacity for paintings to relay concepts of social justice. In two Maya contexts, paintings are seen by artists as didactic works that express outrage and concurrent hope. Art is used to transform that which feels impossible into possibility(ies).
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