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Biography (by... Santiago Méndez Molander)

Native to Santiago Atitlan, Sololá: a landscape that continues to color and characterize his life, Juan Francisco Guzman has dedicated 27 years of his life to painting. His work embodies a combination of modern plastics with primitivism that has been characterized as autochthonous, folkloric, rich and symbolic. Surrealist features flow forth in seemingly unrestricted expressivities that inhabit the space between very real and very fantastic worlds. He considers his work as an embodiment of Magical Realism: a bringing together of the metabolic and undulating spirit of Guatemala. Delirious colors, forms, symbols, matrices and landscapes are blended together in a whirlwind that brings forth feelings of real movement and magical forms. The intersection and interrelation of reality and fantasy are the axiomatic qualities of Guzman’s work.


-. Guzman’s motivation to paint and his primary source of inspiration rests in the profound relationship he has developed with the landscape of Sololá and particularly that of Santiago Atitlan. Many years and personal transformations on the land have given him his richness of expression. Maria Jose Torres of Nicte-Arte, Spain has expressed that Juan Francisco Guzman’s work exhibits “the magical expressionism of religious celebrations and the tattered cries of the people.” “Poet, philosopher and pedagogue, Guzman’s work journeys through a reflective space closely aligned with the natural spirits and exhibiting boundless emotional energy. Guzman has exhibited in North America, Guatemala and Spain. In Spain he has been recognized particularly for the composition of his backgrounds, a characteristic trait of his work.” Nicte-Arte, Spain.

-. He continues his search for natural and ontological elements within the rubric of ancient, pre-Columbian roots and the furious gesticulations of modernity: all in the hopes that his art captures the social and cultural life of Guatemala and the world.

-. “For this artist who decided to make the underworld of his dreams the profound and evocative wellspring of his art, he only has one task and obligation, and that is to continue being faithful to the content of those dreams. Only that kind of fealty can explain on the one hand the thematic diversity of his paintings and the emotive conviction that animates each of his works. Guzman’s work is revolutionary in one sense, pushing the very meaning of art by making his visions on the shores of lake Atitlan a vocation.” Juan B. Juarez, art critic.

-. “Guzman possesses a profound appreciation for Mayan culture and his paintings capture its magnificent essence. He explains that his art is the product of an evolutionary process: throughout his years, he has embarked on a personal quest for meaning and on this path has encountered the many faces of human nature from pre-Columbian times to the present.  He intertwines the mythology of the Mayan tradition with the impact of modernity on social life and the Guatemalan people. His most recent work has focuses on Mayan women and their connection to the divine feminine, mother earth and creation. He paints his work in his dreams and in his imagination combining the real and the fantastic in natural colors, images and symbols.”
Richard Morgan S. Director of the Los Encuentros Cultural Center, Panajachel.


  • Lloyd’s Bank International, Guatemala. (Guatemala, 1984)
  • Escuela de Marmion Chicago, Aurora, Illinois, Estados Unidos. (Estados Unidos, 1988)
  • Instituto Guatemalteco de Cultura Hispánica, auspiciado por Cooperación Española, Embajada Española, Universidad de San Carlos e INGUAT. (Guatemala, 1994)
  • Centro Cultural Vórtice, Madrid, España. (España, 1995)
  • Casa de la Cultura de San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Florida Blanca, Madrid, España. (España, 1995)
  • Sala de Exposiciones de la Cancillería de Cultura, Alicante, España.  Benidorm, Centro Cultura, CAM, España.  Sala Ars Natura et Mundi, Barcelona.  Centro Cultural Dr. Madrazo, Ayuntamiento de Santander, España. (España, 1995)
  • “Las Visiones de Maximón”.  Galería y Restaurante El Papagayo, Panajachel, Sololá. (Guatemala, 1996)
  • “Rasgos Místicos”, Hunab KÚ, Galería, Panajachel, Sololá. (Guatemala, 1996)
  • “Rostros y Tiempo”, Galería y restaurante El Papagayo, Panajachel, Sololá. (Guatemala, 1996)
  • Casa de la Cultura, Ayuntamiento de Torrelodones, Madrid, España.  Sala de Exposiciones Centro Cultural, CAM, España. (España, 1996)
  • “Más Allá de la Región Transparente”, Salón José Rolz Benett, Facultad de Humanidades, USAC, Guatemala. (Guatemala, 1996)
  • Exposición de miniaturas, Proyecto Cultural El Sitio, Antigua Guatemala. (Guatemala, 1997)
  • “Síntesis de un Sueño”, Galería El Dzunún, Zona Viva, Guatemala, bajo el patrocinio del BANCO MUNDIAL. (Guatemala, 1997)
  • “Alegorías y Metáforas”, Galería y Restaurante El Papagayo, Panajachel, Sololá. (Guatemala, 1998)
  • “Interiores”, Salón Manolo Gallardo, Procuraduría General de la Nación, Guatemala. (Guatemala, 1998)
  • “Alegorías y Metáforas”, Proyecto Cultural El Sitio, Antigua Guatemala. (Guatemala, 1998)
  • “Alegorías y Metáforas”, Proyecto Cultural Vesica, Librería Frida Kahlo, Quetzaltenango. (Guatemala, 1998)
  • “Raíces Míticas”, Restaurante y Galería El Papagayo, Panajachel, Sololá. (Guatemala, 1999)
  • “Imágenes del Tiempo”, Galería de Arte, Panajachel, Sololá. (Guatemala, 2000)
  • “Sueños Elementales”,  Casa Solariega, Quetzaltenango. (Guatemala, 2000)
  • Ilustración del libro de lectura, para segundo grado, de la Editorial Saqbé, Chimaltenango. (Guatemala, 2000)
  • “The Magical Realism of the imagination on Canvas”.  Centro Cultura Los Encuentros Panajachel. (Guatemala, 2000)
  • “Raíces Esenciales”, Instituto Guatemalteco de Cultura Hispánica, Guatemala. (Guatemala, 2000)
  • Calendario 2003 MZK, producido y editado en Holanda. (Holanda, 2001)
  • “Vértices del Tiempo”, Centro de Formación de la Cooperación Española, Antiguo Colegio de la Compañía de Jesús, Antigua Guatemala. (Guatemala, 2002)
  • “Vértices del Tiempo”.  Restaurante y Galería  “Al Chisme”, Panajachel. (Guatemala, 2003)
  • “Vértices del Tiempo”.  Pana Rock Live, Panajachel. (Guatemala, 2004)
  • Calendario MISSIO 2006, producido y editado en Alemania.( Alemania, 2005)
  • Encuentros Esenciales, La Galería, Panajachel. (Guatemala, 2006)
  • “Rememoración en el Agua”, La Galería, Panajachel. (Guatemala, 2007)
  • Ilustración del libro: Xojanel Pixab´, versión infantil de los veinte nahuales mayas. (Guatemala, 2009)
  • Exposición New Paintings, Charlene’s Gallery,Wisconsin, Estados Unidos.(Estados Unidos, 2009)
  • Más Allá de los que ves… Galería dieAugen, zona 10, Guatemala. (Guatemala, 2009)
  • Más Allá de lo que ves… La Galería, Panajachel. (Guatemala, 2012)
  • Exposición en La Casa del Mundo, Jaibalito. (Guatemala, 2012)
  • Edición del libro: En ángle de Trigo y otros cuentos... (Los seres que debes conocer...) (2013)
  • Exposición "Universos Completos", Casa Cackchiquel, Panajachel. (2013)
  • Exposición "Mi Verdadero Rostro", La Galería, Panajachel. (2016)
  • Exposición "Mi Verdadero Rostro", Espacio Mezanini, Museo Miraflores, Guatemala. (2017)
  • Exposición "Mi Verdadero Rostro", Espacio Mezanini, Museo Miraflores, Guatemala. (Enero 2018)

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