Art in Honduras is so intertwined with its culture that it’s hard to distinguish it on its own. It’s often utilized in the home as well as with religious celebrations and festivals.
The early Mayans and other indigenous peoples of the area had their own art. It consisted of primitive drawings depicting hunts and other life events, but it also includes a large number of sculptures that are amazingly still preserved today. It’s quite noticeable that there is a high quality of craftsmanship in these sculptures. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have survived so long, right? Pottery and handicrafts, such as woven mats, have also been found in pre-Columbian settlements and are still created to this day by current members of the dwindling number of indigenous communties.
After the Spanish arrived, the brought along their own art to the area. Indigenous art was now combined with the most popular styles in Europe –Spanish, Gothic, Moorish– and these artistic themes were adapted to new world art and architecture. As Hondurans gained independence, themes of the struggles of poverty, everyday life, religion, and their natural environment were commonly depicted in their paintings and sculptures. Jungle animals, especially that of the jaguar, were often painted into pictures.
One of Honduras’ most prominent painters is Miguel Ángel Ruiz Matute. As an expressionist painter, his paintings show an array of emotions, often using muted tones and painting an object or person in such a way to give the audience a double exposure of the emotion he’s trying to portray.
If you ever get the chance to visit Honduras during Easter week, you’ll probably get to see first-hand the Easter carpets. People take bits of colored pieces of sawdust and arrange them on the sidewalks along the path of the Good Friday procession and create intricate pictures. These pictures usually depict scenes of the Easter story or other Catholic-related themes. I would imagine that these carpet designs take a lot of planning, talent, and patience to put together. But when everyone has completed their square, the street looks amazing.
Honduran literature is predominantly written in Spanish. Early Honduran literature topics primarily covered religion and historical documents. But it really didn’t get its push until the late 19th century and early 20th century.
Writers here ventured into many genres. Some of the most notable poets include Juan Ramón Molina (a national library and a bridge are named after him), Óscar Acosta (poet, diplomat, journalist), Roberto Sosa (award winner, has had several books translated into English, didn’t publish his first book until he was 30 years old), and Amanda Castro (award winner, has several works available).
There has been many novelists emerge in the last century and a half: Froylán Turcios (politician, journalist, often considered one of the greatest intellectuals in Honduran history), Lucila Gamero de Medina (romantic novelist, one of the first women writers to be published in Honduras), Ramón Amaya Amador (known for his leftist politics, was instrumental in promoting social realism), and many others.
Honduran writers also represent other specific genres, such as historical writings, scientific writings, memoirs, political writings, and plays/drama.
Up next: music and dance