Honors students translate studies into creative works

| May 10, 2012

First-year students in Honors 115, “What the Mayans Know in 2012,” capped off the semester by demonstrating creative projects they designed after studying various aspects of the Mayan cultures. Class discussions included the ancient Mayan civilizations, the Spanish Conquest, and the devastating Guatemalan civil war of 1960-1996.

Rachel Byrd created a painting in the style of the “Popol Vuh,” the Mayan sacred book, to portray how a Mayan scribe might have depicted the Spanish Conquest.

Gabriela Herrera’s painting captured the blending of the ancient image of the World Tree (which was actually in the shape of a cross) and the Christian cross.

Ariel Harper used Styrofoam and pipe cleaners to build a miniature ball court as part of her research on the ancient sport ritual.

Kate Fanta was intrigued by the complex Mayan calendar system, which she explained as she modeled her necklace of Mayan glyphs.

The testimonials of Rigoberta Menchú, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992, and Victor Montejo, author of “Testimony: Death of a Guatemalan Village,” inspired Khirsten Cook to write a moving story about the lives of children affected by the civil war.

Amber MacKay’s painting was inspired by Mayan textile art and the geometric and floral patterns commonly seen in women’s cortes (skirts) and huipiles (blouses).

Kaitlin Dobson played a Mayan song on one of her ocarinas, a small ceramic wind instrument.

An interest in the economics of agricultural exports led Ashley Baker to research fair trade and free trade practices and how they affect products from Central America.

After learning about the Holy Week celebrations in Guatemala, Alexis Cole created a model alfombra (carpet) of the type that line the streets for processions — she improvised with glitter instead of colored sawdust.

Finally Lydia Ethridge and Morgan Garrison researched the Mayan diet: Lydia regaled the class with fried plantains and black beans while Morgan made tortillas from scratch — without a tortilla press — and served them with corn salsa. ¡Qué sabroso!


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