Amidst Predictions of a “Mayan Apocalypse”, Mexican and American Artists Paint Together for the Mayan Parade

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Despite fears over the Mayan calendar, New York artists Jeremy Penn, Ari Lankin, and Paul Zepeda are joining together to celebrate December 21 as the beginning of a new era for Mexico.

Mayan Parade

Ari Lankin's Pakal

We mark this transition, in which the Mayans were talking about a change of era, to show the world a new image of Mexico today, through art

There are a number of people concerned about the “end” of the Mayan calendar, which falls on December 21. Doomsday prophets and profiteers warn that it could be the end of the world. But for a group of prominent Mexican and American artists, December 21 marks not the end, but a new beginning.

The artists are part of the collaborative modern art project, Mayan Parade, created to celebrate a new era in Mexico, perhaps even a rebirth. The NYC artists have lent their individual touches to over 200 fiberglass sculptures representing Mayan King Pakal, which will be displayed not only in Mexico, but in galleries all over the world.

"We mark this transition, in which the Mayans were talking about a change of era, to show the world a new image of Mexico today, through art”, explained Mexican artist and Mayan Parade organizer Karla de Lara.

Among the NYC artists participating is Jeremy Penn, who built a loyal following in Guadalajara when he was commissioned to create paintings for the Pan American Games. “It’s an honor to be asked to create something that represents such an important icon in Mexico’s history,” says Penn, “Especially for such a significant purpose.”

Penn is best known for his Pop Art paintings of international figures. His work is prized by Pop Art collectors and shown in some of the world’s finest modern art galleries. For his sculpture, he painted portraits of Mexican icon Maria Felix on both sides, which he says represents the past, present and future of Mexico.

Penn was joined on the project by modern art favorites Paul Zepeda and Ari Lankin.

Paul Zepeda transformed his modern rendition of Pakal into something that looks more handmade, to “reinforce the fact that our present is the history of the future, and that what we do today will forever define our legacy.”

Ari Lankin’s work illustrates his focus on the relationship between viewers and the symbols found in art. “The black and white side relates to the codes and symbols of the Mayan relics,” he explains. “The colorful side is inspired by the cyclical nature of Mayan theology and time. The gold and silver face represents purity and prosperity and reflects the energy of the present by literally reflecting the people viewing the Pakal.”

The sculptures will be displayed in several Mexican cities before going on tour. They’ll be exhibited in airports and modern art galleries throughout Europe, South America, Canada and the United States before being auctioned to raise funds for Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology and History.

Jeremy Penn says that participating in the event has been a remarkable experience.

“As an artist, when you’re asked to illustrate a truly significant event in the life of another country, that’s a huge privilege,” he says. “We’ve been allowed to participate in our own small way in the history of Mexico. That’s something none of us will ever forget.”

The doomsday prophets may warn that the Mayan calendar points to the end of the world. For Mexico and these NYC artists, it’s all about a new beginning.

About the Mayan Parade:
Readers can read more about the project by visiting the Official Mayan Parade Facebook Page.

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