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University Museum to host new photography exhibit

The New Mexico State University Museum will host a new photography exhibit, “Defending Truth and Memory: The Path Towards Justice in Guatemala,” from Feb. 1 through June 30.

The exhibit features 35 photos of the indigenous people of Guatemala.

“These photos capture the strength and beauty of the people’s struggle for justice,” said Anna Strankman, the museum’s curator.

In 2013 former Guatemalan President José Efraín Ríos Montt, in a Guatemalan court, was found guilty of crimes against humanity for killing more than 1,700 Maya Ixil Indians from 1982-1983.

“Just 10 days later, the sentence was overturned and the case was sent to retrial,” Strankman said. “This retrial continues to this day, and this journey is documented in this historic and breathtaking exhibition.”

The University Museum at NMSU is the first venue in the United States to present and display the entirety of this exhibit, which was gathered by Guatemala's Center for Human Rights Legal Action (CALDH).

On opening night, Guatemalan photojournalist Roderico Y. Diaz will speak about his experiences documenting the survivors of Montt’s presidency.

The opening reception and public lecture will be Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., with a presentation by Diaz at 6 p.m. The opening program and reception is sponsored by the University Museum, Gender and Sexuality Studies, International and Border Programs, the Criminal Justice Department, and the Honors College.

Artist Saba, of Las Cruces’ Barricade Culture Shop, will be at the opening live-screen printing shirts with a design inspired by the exhibition. Visitors can bring a blank shirt or canvas bag to be printed, or purchase one at the museum.

In the coming months, the museum will also hold screenings of films related to Montt’s presidency and the genocide he was convicted of. The schedule of these films is to be announced.

The University Museum’s hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, 12 to 4 p.m., with closures in accordance with NMSU holidays. Admission to the museum is free. The museum is located at 1280 E. University Avenue (corner of University Avenue and Solano Drive). The telephone is 575-646-5161, email is museum@nmsu.edu, and website is http://univmuseum.nmsu.edu.

For any questions, please contact Anna Marie Strankman, University Museum Curator, at amstrank@nmsu.edu, or 575-646-4056.