For Rolando and Mirna Galvez, a visit to the new Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises exhibition was icing on the cake—birthday cake, to be precise. They had come to Victoria from Guatemala to celebrate Mirna’s 70th birthday; she’s a gardening enthusiast and wanted to see Vancouver Island’s famous Butchart Gardens.
But when they saw the ads for the new Royal BC Museum exhibition outside their downtown hotel, they knew what was next on their itinerary.
“We are half Spanish and half Maya,” says Rolando, a chemical engineer. “We couldn’t believe our good luck that this was waiting here for us!”
“We are so proud to have visited this beautiful exhibition,” says Rolando. “It is so easy to learn about the Maya culture here. Of course, we are from Guatemala and we have seen some of these kinds of things before, but we have seen them in a very small place, behind glass—not like this! Not with all these lights and all this art! And this is all authentic—not a false replica! It is very, very special.”
Mirna, a pharmacist, echoes the sentiment—so passionately, in fact, that at one point she switches from her rudimentary English to Spanish, just so she can speak more quickly and emphatically.
Rolando translates: “She says that many times our country’s image is not good in the world because the news says we are unsafe, with lots of murders and poverty. But this here, what you see: this is the culture we have! This is what we are!”
“Thank you for making this exhibition,” says Ronaldo. “We have never seen anything like it, and it makes us feel so proud of our country.”
Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises is open until Dec. 31, 2019. For more information and tickets, visit royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/maya.