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August 20, 2007


Photographic Exhibition Highlights Permanence of the Maya Culture of Guatemala

NEW YORK, August 20, 2007 - The Survival of the Mayas, a 45-piece photographic exhibition produced by Spain’s Fundación Sophia, opens September 17, at The City College of New York (CCNY) Center for Worker Education (CWE). The exhibit will be on display at the Center’s Lower Manhattan campus at 25 Broadway, 7th floor, through October 31.  Viewing hours are 11 a.m. -7 p.m., Monday- Friday.

The Survival of the Mayas highlights the endurance of the rites, traditions and customs of present day Mayan Quichés, heirs of the ancient Maya, whose impressive civilization afforded great cultural achievements to the peoples of the Mesoamerican area of Guatemala, México, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador.

The colorful showcase, produced by Spain’s Fundación Sophia, has been given to the cultural institution by the Guatemalan Tourism Board (INGUAT), to be part of the Foundation’s cultural tools to promote the thought and artistic manifestations of those civilizations that have left indelible marks in the history of mankind.  The exhibit was created with images taken by Guatemalan photographer Enrique Bauer on assignment for Instituto Guatemalteco de Turismo(INGUAT) and is brought to New York with the collaboration from the Guatemalan Fine Arts Circle in New York.

Visitors will be able to appreciate, under Enrique Bauer’s lens, the vivid colors of the Mayan forests, the warmth of the Mayan people, the richness of their traditions, the beauty of the landscape, and some of the imposing monuments of the ancient Mayan civilization.

The traveling photographic exhibition has toured many cities in Spain and will be hosted for the first time in the U.S. at the Center for Worker Education, as part of its Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.

“This exhibit will offer the New York community, firsthand, a chance to see the traditions and contributions of the present day Mayan people,” said Juan Carlos Mercado, Acting Dean at the Center for Working Education, one of the leading working adult educational institutions in New York City.  “It will also facilitate a great opportunity for exchange of dialogue and cultural learning. CWE is delighted to host such a event at its facility to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month.”

“We want to highlight the permanence of the rites, traditions and costumes of the Mayans throughout history,” said Francis. J. Vilar, president of Fundación Sophia, “and to acknowledge the efforts made by present day Mayans to preserve their traditions and beliefs, and to rescue them for their own people and to enrich humanities’ cultural trust,” added Professor Vilar.

“The Mayan Civilization was, without a doubt, the most advanced in the Mesoamerican world, as they produced extraordinary advances in architecture, math, astronomy, agriculture and ceramics,” said Guatemalan Ambassador in Spain, Dr. Roberto Gereda. “Between the beginning of our era and the 11th century, the Mayans built impressive monuments, most of which stand tall in the archaeological sites of Tikal, Chichén Itzá, Copán, etc. Nowadays, the Mesoamerican area that the ancient Mayan civilization occupied maintains, without the splendor of the classic period, an extraordinary living culture.”

“The Mayan Culture has survived during three thousand years in the traditions, rites and customs of present day indigenous peoples of Guatemala,” explained Guatemalan epigraphist Federico Fahsen. “Not only does it survive in the heirs of the ancient Mayans, the Mayan Quichés, but it has helped indigenous peoples claim important political roles within their societies.”

The Survival of the Mayas is part of the series of activities about the Mayan civilization that Fundación Sophia organiszes every year to promote the study of this brilliant civilization. “This is the fourth year we host the Mayan series in Palma de Mallorca and the first time we take our Mayan exhibitions abroad,” explained professor Vilar. “With these activities we’ve consolidated the study of this civilization within our research, promotion and exchange programs.”

The Survival of the Mayas is free and open to the public.  Some of the photos can be viewed at the exhibit’s website

The Survival of the Mayas – Traveling Photographic Exhibition

Center for Worker Education – City College of New York

25 Broadway Stree, 7th Floor – New York, NY 10004  - Tel: (212) 925-6625, ext. 258

September 17th thru October 30th,  Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm  Entrance Free. 


Center for Worker Education Contact

Elena Romero, (212) 925-6625 ext. 258


Fundación Sophia Contact

Sergio G. García:  +34 609 144 667