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- Diana Condrea
Antigua, situated in the heart of Guatemala’s stunning highlands, is like an open-air museum waiting to be explored with patience and curiosity. The former capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala is home to Baroque ruins, art galleries, and modern cultural spaces, making it a memorable experience for culture enthusiasts. From traditional wooden sculptures and intricately woven, colorful textiles to the best of modern Guatemalan art, we profile ten of the best contemporary art galleries in Antigua.
La Antigua Art Gallery
Boasting a wonderful, central location and a lush garden typical of colonial houses, La Antigua Art Gallery presents extensive collections by artists from Guatemala, the Caribbean and all of Latin America. The sheer richness of colour and style on display is astounding: Guatemalan artists such as Hugo Gonzales Ayala, Dulce Gonzalez or Cesar Barrios bring out the best of the country’s art scene, while exhibitions of a satirical, religious or abstract nature demonstrate the intense variety of Guatemalan art. Not limited to paintings, La Antigua Art Gallery also features outdoor sculptures and is one of the most comprehensive spaces in which to experience the contemporary art of Guatemala.
La Antigua Art Gallery, 4a Calle Oriente, Antigua, Guatemala +502 7832 2124
El Sitio Cultural
Founded in 1993 by Enrique Matheu Recinos and Scott MacLauchlan, El Sitio is a cultural center with a vision to promote artistic, cultural and social development in Guatemala. Throughout the year, El Sitio hosts painting and drawing exhibitions displaying the creations of young, up-and-coming Guatemalan artists. Moreover, visitors can attend one of the numerous cultural activities taking place each month, from music, dance and theatre events to readings and film screenings. In the past years, contemporary artists such as Ernesto Argueta, Tatiana Salazar and Domingo Peneleu Tuch have presented their paintings at El Sitio Cultural.
El Sitio Cultural, 5a Calle Poniente 15, Antigua, Guatemala +502 7832 3037, +502 7832 6329
Maria Eskenasy Fine Art
This small studio/gallery founded by world-renowned Guatemalan artist Maria Eskenasy is a popular attraction among tourists who visit Antigua and its surroundings. Located just a couple of minutes away from the city, bathed in the lush green landscape of the tropical forest and surrounding coffee plantations, this studio presents Maria Eskenasy’s neo-figurative style creations, abundant in fantastic and colourful elements. She has participated in over one hundred group and solo exhibitions around the world, and her paintings are included in 35 collections across four continents. Maria Eskenasy is considered to be one of the leading contemporary artists of Latin America, so a visit to her studio is a guaranteed insight into the state and style of Guatemalan art.
Panza Verde Art Gallery
This art gallery, located in the boutique hotel Panza Verde, is a surprising but solid choice for contemporary art enthusiasts. Presenting the creations of both Guatemalan and international artists, the gallery has displayed the works of acclaimed photographers Luis Gonzalez Palma, Julio Zadik, and Daniel Cauche, as well as established painters Raul Vasquez, Maria Eskensasy, Lucia Morán, Christel Brenninkmeijer and many more. For such a small gallery, Panza Verde is exceptionally well curated, with new exhibitions organized every few months.
Panza Verde, 5a Avenida Sur 19, Antigua, Guatemala +502 7832 2925
El Carmen Art Gallery
Launched only a few years ago, in 2009, El Carmen is a young and fresh art gallery definitely worth a visit while exploring the cultural sights of Antigua. Set up to promote both Guatemalan and international art, El Carmen Gallery hosts exhibitions in a variety of mixed media. The space of the first floor is home to oil and watercolor paintings themed around landscapes, traditions and references to Guatemalan culture, while the second level displays modern and contemporary art pieces from local artists. A small, inviting space, El Carmen is a good spot to get to grips with Antigua’s local art scene.
Casa Santo Domingo Museum
Few museums in Central America enjoy such a privileged location as Casa Santo Domingo, a centuries-old convent turned into a luxurious accommodation space. A hotel-museum in essence, Casa Santo Domingo is home to important Guatemalan works of art across eight distinct collections. The Sacatepequez Arts and Popular Handicrafts Museum as well as the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art and Modern Glass provide exceptionally profound insights into the traditions of regional culture. Visitors have the chance to explore Guatemala’s art from the classic period of the Maya culture to 16th century colonial art, up until the contemporary creations displayed in the Marco Augusto Quiroa space and the Artist Halls, named after the renowned Guatemalan painter, sculptor and writer.
Casa Santo Domingo, 3a Calle Oriente 28, Antigua, Guatemala +502 7820 1220
Centro de Arte Popular
Located close to Antigua’s popular sights such as the cathedral and Parque Central, this small art gallery specializes in the traditions of Guatemala’s Mayan heritage. Featuring an excellent selection of ancient artworks, Centro de Arte Popular displays paintings, hand-made pottery, religious crafts, traditional masks and wooden sculptures.
Located in the northeastern corner of the Parque Central, Sobremesa is an intimate art space interested in contemporary Guatemalan art, but also a gourmet restaurant. Owner Alexander Ferrar is a man of many talents – as a painter, he exhibits his own work in the gallery; as a chef, he serves up local delicacies in the restaurant. A cozy venue to enjoy a dinner in the company of colorful paintings, Sobremesa is certainly an interesting addition to Antigua’s food and art scene.
Sobremesa, 4a Calle Oriente, Antigua, Guatemala +502 7832 3231 / +502 4352 2792