Sunday, September 19, 2010


After finding the Technological Man, I decided I needed to pay more attention to the art that surrounds us in everyday places. During the 70's and 80's, with the war going on, people were taken out of Guatemala valuable  art pieces, mayan pieces, etc. It was not usual to see art in lobbies, plazas, museums, etc. Now art appreciation and budgets are back but we have lost the habit of stopping, perhaps we think it is a print, a replica or a museum shop decoration piece.

Two weekends ago I went to the Hospital Las Americas to welcome coworker's precious new born baby boy and saw this painting behind glass on the lobby. I only had my phone with me, so I will have to go back to take better pictures.

The panels are are called FIVE VIRTUES -  Education, Consolation, Creation, Assistance, Generosity -Technique: embossed plaster, water color, polyester resin.

Education        Consolation          Creation

Assistance      Generosity

Below is the description on the plaque:

"Nan Cuz was born in Senahú, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Her work incorporates her native´s land color and backdrops as well as her autochthonous past, making her paintings lively poems of color inhabited by a palpitating soul.

The remarkable self taught Guatemalan artist has represented her country in innumerable art showings and galleries around the world.

In the case of this particular piece, the panels have always formed a single unit. Between 1968 and 1976 the panels were shown at the Dominican Convent in Hamburg, Germany.

Today the "Five Virtues" panels are shown at Hospital Las Americas lobby as a live memorial of the artist's talent and sentiment as well as a constant reminder of the humanity that weakens what we are."

Writing the post I learned Nan Cuz is the artist name of Imgard Carmen Heinemann (German Mayan descent), the first wife of Georg Johannes Schäfer, a german painter. Schäfer who had traumas of German concentration camps, through experimenting with LSD and Mescaline came with the cosmic vision that he and Nan Cuz left in the "In the Kingdom of Mescal" an adult illustrated fairy tale. 

She was born in 1927 as Irmgard Cuz Heinemann in Guatemala. Her mother was Maya Kekchi, her father German. Her early childhood she spent in a simple hut on a finca near Senahú, Alta Verapaz. She was called Nan. For education her father took her to Germany. After the War, longing for her home country and helped by her early memories, she started to paint scenes of indigenous life and mythology. In 1971 having achieved international recognition she went back to Guatemala with her. Her paintings are on permanent exhibit in the Galería, Panajachel.

If interested in the book you can find it in Amazon following the links below:

IN THE KINGDOM OF MESCAL: An Indian Fairy-Tale for Adults
In the Kingdom of Mescal
In the Kingdom of Mescal
In the kingdom of Mescal: A fairy-tale for adults;
In the Kingdom of Mescal

1 comment:

Grandma~rella said...

Very interesting information! I happen to own an original Nan Cuz piece, which I found at a thrift shop in Oregon back in 2004. It's quite large, framed and in excellent condition. The tag on the back states this is The Virgin Madonna and Baby, of Guatemala. I've communicated with a few who knew the artist and are still in contact with his former wife, Oma. Would truly love to hear more about them! You may email me at
Thank you!
Cindy C.
Oregon, USA