Wings of Resistance

The Giant Kites of Guatemala

Christopher Ornelas, Scott Skinner, Victorino Tejaxun Alquijay, and Alison Fujino

  • $29.95 paperback (9780615551548) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 2013
  • Subject Listing: Art
  • Bibliographic information: 128 pp., 75 color illus., 10.5 x 11 in.
  • Distributed for: Drachen Foundation
  • Contents

Every year in the highlands of Guatemala, the town of Sumpango celebrates Day of the Dead by flying kites. The kites are massive, the largest measuring 45 feet in diameter. Smaller kites, close 20 feet in height, are flown in a death-defying race down the side of a mountain. From a distance, the kites appear luminous and blissful, but the radiant colors of the kites mask an ominous subtext. On closer inspection, the images on the sails depict people in agony and torment: mutilated bodies, mass burials, kidnappings, and rivers of blood. In graphic illustration, the kites allude to the dark and painful history of Guatemala's 30-year civil war. Originally centered on remembering the dead, the kite festival has become a way for the indigenous community to heal itself from the trauma of the war.

Wings of Resistance examines the politics and art of the giant kites, placing this Guatemalan tradition in the context of international kite cultures. The contributors include Alison Fujino, Christopher Ornelas, Jose Sainz, Scott Skinner, and Victorino Tejaxun.