Onda Latina

The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Interview With Mayan Artist Humbatz Mena
Program #
Culture, Identity

Art, History
Linda Fregoso
Humbatz Mena
Jul 19, 1980

Interview with Mayan artist Humbatz Mena

Humbatz Mena, a Mayan artist, talks about how his geometric art reflects Mayan culture and understandings of the universe. Mena has been interested in painting and drawing geometric forms since childhood. As he began to exhibit his art, his style drew comparisons with that of other Latin American artists also working with geometric forms, but such comparisons troubled him because he felt his work was unique and different. He talks about how he began to research Mayan customs and culture to find the roots of his art. He soon found that Mayan architecture and art was infused with similar geometric patters and he describes some examples of the way geometric figures reveal how the Mayan understood the relationship between humans, nature and the sacred. He then talks about how the Mayans used art to pass on their culture and knowledge.

He then discusses some of the misconceptions the Spanish conquistadors propagated. He says the pyramids were not castles, but rather the house of God, where priests met to perform rituals. He also talks about Mayan calendars, epochs and the precise mathematical calculations that informed them. He also explains that the Mayan civilization has not died out, but lives on. There are people who still use and pass on Mayan practices and wisdom. Lastly, he discusses the similarities between Mayan sacred practices and Catholicism, and Diego de Landa’s 16th century destruction of almost all of the Mayan codices.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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