Rosa Duarte (Yucatec Maya) is a videomaker and social anthropologist at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán in Mérida. Duarte writes about cultural change among rural Mayan women in the Yucatán and the growing importance of arts and crafts cooperatives in the local economy. She also writes about Mayan self-representation through media, and has been an active participant in the founding of several organizations to produce and support indigenous media in southern Mexico. In 2000 she was the co-founder with Byrt Wammack of the media organization Yoochel Kaaj: Cine Video Cultura, which concentrates on the use of technology and the media arts. She is a founding member of the TURIX collective which has worked since 2002 to produce independent video in rural communities, the majority produced in Yucatecan Maya, which Duarte speaks fluently. Wammack and Duarte co-founded Geografías Suaves, a video festival focused on regional productions from Mayan communities and other indigenous peoples in southern Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala.
Duarte has participated in video production workshops, including ones taught by French artist Patrick Degeteré and Mexican director Juan Carlos Rulfo. She focuses her own production, such as the recent Arroz con leche (2009), on documentaries focused on her own culture. Duarte, who was born in Chocholá, Yucatán, currently lives in Merida and is a doctoral candidate in anthropology at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in México City.
"The Mayan language sustains my culture, and cannot be translated
into Western languages without falling into folklore and sensationalism.
The Mayan language does not consist solely of words and sounds,
but also of expressive gestures and silences. Cultures live and
experiment. Their changes do not necessarily signify that they
are lost, but that they are becoming up to date, and this process
is not the territory of experts but belongs to all of us who live
the culture, as much to children and teenagers as adults."
Screened by NMAI
Image credits: Ana
Rosa Duarte - courtesy of the filmmaker