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Artists depict end of the world at Istvan Gallery 12.21.12 exhibit

This picture, by Oklahoma City photographer Luis Saenz titled “End of the World,” an be seen at the “12.21.12: End of the World” art exhibition on Dec. 20 at Istvan Gallery. Photo by Luis Saenz.


By Darla Shelden

Contributing Writer


Worried about the demise of the world, as you know it?  The Maya Trading Company and Istvan Gallery have announced the “12.21.12: End of the World” art exhibition. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, Dec. 20 from 6 -10 p.m., at Istvan Gallery 1218 N. Western Ave. in Oklahoma City.


Curators Milo Borges and Amber Sharples of Maya Trading Company and Stephen Kovash of Istvan Gallery collaborated to develop the exhibit concept, which will explore the end of the Maya calendar’s current cycle and its effect on December 21, 2012.


In recent years, theories have circulated that the Maya predicted an apocalypse on December 21, 2012. This date corresponds to the end of the Mayan calendar’s current cycle, which lasts for 13 of the 144,000-day intervals known as baktuns. Scholars have argued that, while Maya astronomers saw each cycle’s conclusion as significant, they never foresaw an apocalypse.


According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration website, December 21, 2012, won’t be the end of the world. NASA points out that it will be another winter solstice.


Milo Borges, co-owner of the Maya Trading Company said, “With all the excitement and anticipation for the end of the Maya calendar, we wanted to provide a platform for artists to explore this theme. This exhibition will bring together artists working within their Western and Indigenous worldviews and their interpretation of what the end of the Maya calendar signifies. For my parents who are both of Maya descent, this event represented a time of rebirth and renewal.”


Select Oklahoma artists including Kristen Vails, AK Westerman, Christina Kovash, Luis Saenz, Carlos Tello, Rocio Perez, Carlos Mendoza, Mariana Oberlander, Larry Salazar, and Narciso Arguelles, were invited to present their interpretations of this event and of the world’s fascination with the approaching date. In addition, sculptor Asia Scudder has created an assembly piece in the small gallery.


Mayan Trading Company co-owner, Amber Sharples said, “In time for the much-anticipated passing of the Mayan Calendar day that marks the turn of eras, the End of the World exhibit will present a diverse response from Oklahoma-based artists to this once-in-a-lifetime event.”


Photographer Luis Saenz spoke about his art that will be on display. “This picture, titled ‘End of the World,’ is a recollection of different memories and places I’ve been over the last year or so, and that have a special meaning in my life,” said Saenz. “While some of the other components represent a chapter in my life that is closing. By putting them all together in this piece, in a metaphoric way I am preparing myself to a new cycle in my life, to be ready for all the good things to come. All of this, while making fun of the misrepresentation of the Mayan history and culture by so many.”


The exhibition will include two- and three-dimensional visual artwork, multi-media and installation work created by local artists. An interactive installation will provide a platform for guests to add to a time capsule that will be left, “should the world comes to an end on December 21.”


“I’m really excited to see the work from the invited artists,” says Stephen Kovash, owner of Istvan Gallery. “I am a big fan of art with dystopian theme and am looking forward to working with Milo and Amber on this show.”


The free opening reception will include light hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and entertainment by local Metachines dancers.


Westerman said, “I am extremely excited about the opportunity to participate in the Mayan “End of the World” exhibition. As an artist, I love exploring the questions surrounding life and death in my work. The chance to portray the concepts of the Mayan prophesy, regarding the end of all things in a very visual and surreal way, is quite appealing to me.”


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