portrait in profile of a Guatemalan-born womxn in what looks like an art classroom; ella gazes down and to the left

Zamara Cuyún

2022 EARLY-CAREER PROJECT GRANTEE | $8,000

La Mexicana Ancestros Mural

Located in the heart of the Latinx business district in Minneapolis, this mural will explore the relationships between the Latinx and Native communities connected to this area, focusing on shared experiences with displacement and reifying home, and keeping their heritages for the next generations. The objective is to create a mural that affirms the identities of the Latinx and Native communities that have connection to the land where Lake street is located and the bridges of shared experience that link them.

Zamara Cuyún is, for better or worse, a product of colonization, with Indigenous roots in Guatemala – born and raised in Minneapolis. A self-taught, “Gringindia” artist of de-Indigenized Highland Maya ancestry, she works in acrylics, using elements of Guatemalan Maya history, iconography, and worldview – sometimes to explore and create a vibrant, colorful, imaginary dream universe and, at other times, to represent the restless, violent, and unsettling world we are often forced to inhabit. The themes that inspire her work and to which she is drawn back to, time and again, include Indigenous identity (her own, as well as that represented in Guatemalan society), the history of colonization and resistance, the persecution and genocide of Indigenous populations, and the call for social justice, revitalization, and decolonization and the central role and strength of women in this process. Color and light are of the utmost importance in her work in order to make her subjects – the lovely, as well as the gruesome – pulsate with life from within. Vibrant Guatemalan Indigenous Maya textiles and art – contemporary and precolonial – as well as stained-glass, Scandinavian rosemaling, and contemporary graphic novels inspire and inform her use of color and brushstroke.

Forecast has been offering early-career artist grants supported by Jerome Foundation since 1989. In addition to funding, Forecast is dedicated to providing professional development and learning opportunities designed to assist emerging artists as they experiment/ hone their practices, and cultivate careers in the field. Forecast mid- and early-career grants are designed to support independent projects, leadership development, professional development, risk-taking, multidisciplinary approaches, and collaborative problem-solving in the field of public art.