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REFLECTIONS ON COLLABORATION: Exhibiting Contemporary Maya Art

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Abstract

This article describes the collaboration with Maya artisans during the exhibition, Crafting Maya Identity: Contemporary Wood Sculptures from the Puuc Region of Yucatán, Mexico. The exhibition called into question the applicability of Western systems of value and classification to the aesthetic works of other cultures and also explored notions of contemporary Maya identity in the context of the local tourism industry. The artisans’ presence during the exhibition and their engagement with the public during organized events created opportunities for visitors to learn more about the artisans and their work. This paper takes a critical look at the exhibition's successes and shortcomings by way of feedback from the artisans and the public and offers recommendations for future collaborative projects.

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