Art Museum of the Americas ©Juan Carlos Lemus Dahinten/Courtesy OAS AMA
In “Rabín Ajaw: Indigenous Ceremonial Dress of Guatemala,” portraits of young women in ceremonial garb draw visitors into an uncommon kind of pageantry. The annual pageant of Rabín Ajaw, commonly translated as “daughter of the king,” has been a Guatemalan tradition for more than 40 years. It honors Maya cultural identity by crowning one representative for all indigenous Guatemalan women. The portraits on view at the Art Museum of the Americas by official pageant photographer Juan Carlos Lemus Dahinten show the centuries-old styles worn in the Rabín Ajaw competition. One young woman dons vibrant coral hues, while another bares her breast, each photo taking onlookers through a Central American culture still mostly unknown.
The Rabín Ajaw exhibition begins the AMA’s celebration of Guatemala that anticipates the Organization of the Americas General Assembly session there this summer. At the end of this month, eerie photography by Guatemalan Luis González Palma goes on display here (through June 9).
AMA's F Street Photo Gallery, 1889 F St. NW, 202.458.6016. www.amamuseum.org