Photographs from Karen Baez, Louise Wilde and Magdalena Kowalska.
Artwork from Rafael Hortala Vallve, Eimar Kavanagh, Nikhil and Tina Lawlor Mottram.
Tina Lawlor Mottram: East West North South.
Based on the Maya day names as calligraphy seen in the 3 (perhaps 4) surviving Maya codices in Madrid, Paris and Dresden, this piece comprises 20 canvasses, each 30 x 30 cm. The Maya, in common with other Mesoamerican cultures, associated cardinal directions with a particular colour; they connected their day names with lunar and solar deities and these cycles, culminated in the 52 year cycle of beginning again.Longer cycles became known by modern scholars as the Long Count, and archaeological research shows some correlation with the cycles of Venus in addition to lunar and solar years.
East, the rising sun is associated with red.
North, the sun at midday is white.
West, sunset night approaching is black.
South, the overnight journey to a new dawn is yellow.
In addition, the 20 days of the lunar month were each assigned a direction and a colour. These were linked in the centre by The World Tree, which is found worldwide as a motif to embrace our physical world, the underworld after death (associated with the journey after life) and the land of the deities (in the sky).
This project was my interpretation of these day names and the lunar cycle, each with its colour and its direction assigned. Initially I drew a rectangular grid but realised this was unsuitable due to the cyclicar nature of the interlocking parts of the Maya timekeeping calendar. Finally, my solution was to display each Cardinal direction with associated days in their assigned colour.
Seeing 20 canvasses aligned on a wall in this way was very powerful visually even if visitors did not understand the context from which they were drawn. The World Tree is a theme I return to again and again at various stages of my life as a means to explore the natural world, youth and ageing, and more recently Climae Change and its effect on our planet.