San Pablo la Laguna is one of the most impoverished towns around Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. The villagers' lives are a daily struggle - between 56-64% of the population lives beneath the national poverty level and has to get by with as little as 2$ per day, and an astounding percentage of 21,5% lives in extreme poverty with less than 1$ per day.
Here at the Guatemala Housing Alliance, we've been working hard to find innovative solutions to these issues since 2011.
If you're curious to learn more about our projects, feel free to check out our website : http://www.guatemalahousingalliance.org/
ABOUT THIS PROJECT
The idea to start this project blossomed because many children from San Pablo la Laguna expressed their longing for a beautiful and clean space to play, share and express themselves.
Upon noticing this, we encouraged some of our students to develop a solution.
Helped by our intern art student, Manel Bafaluy, who has several years of experience in the field of urban art, our group has been holding multiple workshops in order to find the ideal place for our artistic intervention, as well as to elaborate ways for it to add value to the village whilst representing the local culture.
After an in-depth process of documenting, sketching and permission-seeking, we’ve officially decided to paint the Basketball court (Central Plaza) of San Pablo La Laguna!
We aim to add colors, joy and hope to this key point of the town.
WHY THE BASKETBALL COURT?
Located next to the council, the church and the main road, the basketball court is the town's most central point as well as where all the major cultural events take place.
Although neighbouring San Marcos and San Juan, both greater touristic destinations, San Pablo hasn't yet developed its own network of cultural tourist attractions.
We believe that this project will bring pride and inspiration to the local people, as well as the recognition and attention this understated village rightfully deserves.
ABOUT THE DESIGN
The design we will paint onto the basketball court’s floor is inspired by the symbolism of an ancient Mayan ball game called pitz. This sport is well known for its deep ritualistic roots and has been played in Mesoamerica for the last 3400 years.
It has been attributed different interpretations and significations throughout history, but we’ve chosen to represent the inherent cosmic duality it holds.
“Many experts consider this game to represent a fight between day and night, or a battle between life and the entities of the Underworld. The battlefields or courts were considered to be portals to the Underworld, and were hence built in specific ceremonial spaces which were aligned with the cardinal points."
"Participating in the ancient Mayan ball game meant being involved in maintaining the Cosmic Order of the Universe and regenerating the Circle of Life."
In our design, we will represent the dynamic of this cosmic dance whilst maintaining the areas and lines which delimit the official basketball court.
We will work with a minimalistic aesthetic and bright, sharp colors to represent the transition from daylight to nighttime.
In the middle of the court we will paint a Ceiba, which is Guatemala’s national tree as well as an ancient symbol of the Mayan culture. The Ceiba was the most sacred tree for the ancient Maya, who believed it symbolized a route of communication between the different levels of the Universe: the Underworld, the Middle world (where we humans live!) and the Upper World with the thirteen levels in which the Maya heaven was divided.
Finally, we will paint the feathered serpent Q'uk'umatz surrounding the central tree. This mythical creature is one of the divinities that created the world according to the Popol Vuh, an important text recounting the mythology and history of the Mayas.
WHAT DO WE NEED?
We are finally reaching the last steps of this project’s preparation process!
We have the final sketch of our design, the council’s support and almost everything is ready. All we need now is some extra funds to afford the last painting tools.
You want to help us make this dream possible? Every donation will help, no matter how symbolic or generous it may be.
Thank you for your help!