Beyond the Year 2000

Joyce de Guatemala

About the Print

Joyce de Guatemala created this print, Beyond the Year 2000, in 1993. In the image, tall tree trunks and branches stretch upward against a brilliant turquoise-blue background, which fades in intensity from left to right. The bark has been scraped away, revealing the golden interior color and leaving a pattern of curved lines along the surfaces. Inspired by shapes found in Mayan sculptures, silver half­and quarter-circles adorn the two larger tree forms in the foreground (which are collaged) and the thinner branches behind them. Bending and swaying, it’s as if these forms are on stage performing for us, suggesting the inner life of the gods, deities, or dynamic elements of wind and water. 

“My work requires that the viewer take time to see rather than just look.”

– Joyce de Guatemala, 1982

Let's Look

Joyce de Guatemala

Born Mexico City, 1934; died Philadelphia, 2000
About the Artist

Joyce de Guatemala was born in Mexico, grew up in Guatemala, and moved to Pennsylvania in 1975. Defying gender and cultural stereotypes, she welded steel and sawed wood to create her sculptures, which have been exhibited around the world. Her forms were often inspired by ancient Mayan art and architecture. She had a strong interest in mythology and described her works as being inhabited by gods, deities, and natural elements of wind, earth, and water.

Curriculum Connections

Suggested Topics for Art Projects, Group Discussion, and Independent Writing


Patterns and Textures in Nature

Make a close-up photograph or drawing of an object in nature (plant, bark, rock, water) by zooming in on its patterns and textures. The specific identity of the object may be lost. As an extension, make a print based on your photograph or drawing.

Nature Sculpture

Joyce de Guatemala made sculpture based on nature. Gather natural materials (and perhaps other materials) to create a 3-D sculpture based on an element of nature such as rain, wind, or sun. What will the theme be? Will you place it outdoors or inside? What color(s) will it be?

Language Arts

Fib Poem

Create a Fib poem inspired by this artwork. A Fib poem is similar to haiku but based on the Fibonacci number sequence. Often found in nature, the Fibonacci sequence begins with the numbers O and 1; each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 ... The typical Fib poem is a six-line, twenty-syllable poem, and the syllable count per line follows the Fibonacci sequence: the first and second lines each contain one syllable, the third line has two, the fourth has three, the fifth has five, and the sixth line has eight.

In Your Opinion

"My work requires that the viewer take time to see rather than just look."
Consider de Guatemala's quote about her artwork. In your opinion, does Beyond the Year 2000 reflect the spirit of her words? How? If not, why not?

Social Studies

Mayan Culture

De Guatemala was inspired by Mayan culture and its focus on nature. Research Chae and Yum Kaax, the Mayan rain god and the Mayan lord of the forest, their significance in ancient Mayan civilization, and why their names still have meaning today.