The photographs for Established Grief have been taken in August 2017, mainly walking around the streets of Guatemala City.
Guatemala comes from the indigenous term Cuauhtēmallān, the 'land of many trees'. A local legend states, when Tecún Umán, the last prince of the Mayans, was born there was a quetzal in a tree, watching. The bird always looked over the young prince, until his death under the sword of Dom Pedro de Alvarado, a Spanish conquistador. Struck with grief, the bird soaked his breast feathers in the wound of the slain prince and died. Since that fateful day for the last Mayan prince, all male quetzals have a scarlet mark on their breast feathers and have been a symbol of freedom and liberty for the citizens of Guatemala.
Fears of violence and the lawlessness carried out by various gangs and criminals dictate the ambiance of the city. It seems as if the legend repeats itself in modern history and Guatemalans live with grief imposed by continuous violence and criminality while the grieving quetzal lives among Guatemala´s residents.
© 2018 by Chasper Senn