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La Mujer Maya / Maya Woman: The Helen Moran Collection promotes the dignity and human rights of indigenous and Latina women by presenting contemporary Maya art that brings world attention to their lives.

The vibrant Maya culture of Guatemala has withstood 500 years of oppression. Millions of indigenous women and men living today have survived 36 years of genocidal violence, and continue to suffer from extreme poverty, natural disaster, and the violence of the drug cartels. Contemporary indigenous artists, steeped in ancient traditions of wood and stone carving as well as brilliant textile arts, are expressing their identity in art. Through them, the nearly invisible lives of Maya women are coming into focus at last.

The Helen Moran Collection brings together the vision of many indigenous artists to reveal the role, the beauty, and the struggles of Maya women today. We hope to inspire others to come to their defense.

represented in this collection are indigenous Maya painters from the highlands of Guatemala: San Juan Comalapa, a Kaqchikel speaking town; and three Tz'utuhil speaking towns on the south side of Lake Atitlán—Santiago Atitlán, San Pedro la Laguna, and San Juan la Laguna. Biographies are available on the Arte Maya Tz'utuhil web site.

Helen Moran (1925-2008)
was the daughter of desperately poor Irish immigrants. The collection La Mujer Maya / Maya Woman was established in her honor. 
A devoted mother of ten children, Helen always told them,
“Never forget where you came from!”  The valiant resistance of indigenous Maya women and men recalls the struggle of the Irish peasants, who likewise fought their oppression for centuries.   Read more about Helen's life.

Rita E. Moran
Director of the collection, she is a writer and teacher of English as a Second Language at City College of San Francisco. She is interested in hearing your response to the paintings.  Please send comments to

has been assisting the indigenous artists, their families and communities for more than twenty years. This web site is a primary source of their original works for sale. Around 70% of its income goes back to the artists, either in the form of money or in the form of art supplies. See more paintings at

This collection was made possible by the work of Joseph Johnston, curator of Arte Maya Tz’utuhil.  By creating a marketplace for their work, he has enabled many of these subsistence farmers in a remote area of the world to spend some of their time creating art.  In so doing he has made their unique vision accessible to an international audience. 

Heartfelt thanks to Pauline Scholten and Paul Moran for their support and assistance throughout this project.

Great appreciation to R.A. for transcribing the interviews and commentaries in Spanish.

Thanks to for setting up the web site and great appreciation to Isaiah Dufort for assisting me in developing and updating it!

Copyright Notices

Text copyright © Rita E. Moran 2008-2013.
Paintings copyright © Arte Maya Tz'utuhil, except as noted. All rights are reserved.

The following works are copyright © Rita E. Moran 2008-2013.  All rights are reserved.

  Nuestra Madre Tierra (Paula Nicho Cumez)

  Mujer Soñando (Paula Nicho Cumez)

  Destrucción de la Naturaleza (Paula Nicho Cumez)

  Ruk'ux Kaj, Corazón del Cielo (Paula Nicho Cumez)

  Melodia en el Alma (Paula Nicho Cumez)

  El Principio de una Nueva Era (Paula Nicho Cumez)

  Ati'it / La Abuela Luna y las Mujeres (Pedro Rafael González Chavajay)

  Hijos del Sol (Pedro Rafael González Chavajay)

  El Rapto (Juanita Lopez)

  La Llamada (Juanita Lopez)

  El Castigo (Juanita Lopez)

  Saluando a los Mayores (Juanita Lopez)

  La Cadena Alimenticia (Samuel Cumes Pop)

  La Agonía (Samuel Cumes Pop)
  Masacre y Destrucción de Mi Pueblo (Samuel Cumes Pop)
  El Tronco Genealógico (Samuel Cumes Pop)
  Las Drogas Están Matándote (Samuel Cumes Pop)
  Antrobotánica (Samuel Cumes Pop)
  Años 80s Gencidio (Samuel Cumes Pop)
  Los Padres del Guerrillero (Samuel Cumes Pop)
  Contrainsurgencia (Samuel Cumes Pop)
  Revindicación (Samuel Cumes Pop)
  Sobrevivientes (Samuel Cumes Pop)
  Hidroeléctricas (Samuel Cumes Pop)

  El Viajero (Felipe Ujpan Mendoza)

  La Paz (Emilio Gonzalez Moralez)

  Baile de Pájaros (Emilio Gonzalez Morales)

  El Respeto de los Antepasados (Emilio Gonzalez Morales)

  Sin Título (Lorenzo Gonzalez Morales)

  La Marimba (Maria Teodora Mendez de Gonzalez)

  Abuelita Ixmucane (Maria Elena Curruchiche)

  Peregrinos (Maria Elena Curruchiche)

  La Raptan a la Muchacha por su Novio (Filiberto Chali)