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Honduras Culture

Shipping Art Internationally

You can’t put a price on a priceless object, even when it has to be shipped, but you can protect it along the way.

Packing up a painting, sculpture, photo or the components of an installation for international travel is nerve wracking for every artist, gallery owner and curator. But it doesn’t have to be panic-inducing.

There are some well-established strategies for succeeding at getting your artwork from here to there intact. With some care, forethought and the following guidelines, you can ensure that your artwork arrives without a scratch.

A lot of what is discussed below comes down to the concept of a carrier that is specifically experienced in shipping art internationally. Sure, mail services can offer generic packages, but there’s no comparison between those and the professional outfit that moves art from place to place as a full-time enterprise.

Before You Pack: Step one is to document the state of the object you are shipping. Photograph everything from every angle prior to the first layer of wrapping and before the first crate is filled. This is the record of the artwork’s condition that you hope you’ll never have to use, but you want to have it on hand nonetheless.

Packing: There’s no one-size-fits-all for shipping art. Artwork must be protected on the level of the individual piece. Foam and crate dimensions must be custom-made for your particular object. Don’t work with a shipping service that can’t or won’t take that step. You want to see an internal framework with bracing and padding to frame the artwork within the crate so that nothing can move during transit.

Furthermore, confirm that every element of the transportation process will be climate-controlled, protecting the piece from heat, cold and humidity. If your artwork is being shipped overseas, make sure the shipping company you hire uses moisture prevention bagging or vapor barrier bagging. This will prevent salt water or vapor from harming your sensitive item.

Make certain that all labels are marked clearly. International ports and shipping centers mean language differences, so make certain that you minimize reading confusion by writing on your shipping labels in all caps. Letter and number codes for provinces and streets can vary in unusual ways, so triple check every address.

Customs Considerations: The dynamics of crossing borders with merchandise are ever shifting.Some years a country won’t let certain kinds of wood into their territory (the concern is usually insect related). Other times politics can interfere with the easy transit of a gallery or museum’s materials. Research is key to a successful shipment – and again, a pro shipping company is going to key you into just these kinds of variables and help reduce the hassle of shipping by addressing these issues in advance. For example, these companies will take care of the above crate problem by using heat-treated wood crates to reduce the risk of pest infestation. The box will be labeled with a “bug stamp,” which certifies it safe for international travel.

Insurance: Maybe you’re thinking theft, but the experienced art shipper is also thinking damage. Fact is, according to the New York Times, during the last decade, damage outpaced crime when it came to shipping art overseas. Also a concern is a legitimately lost article. You want to buy protection against all of these events.

An insurance policy on your international art shipment should cover every detail – from packing to pick-up, right up to the point of delivery. You also want a carrier that will insure for the full value of the piece. Some will try to set coverage at the sale price or less. Talk with insurance professionals who have experience dealing with fine art. Art couriers with insurance knowledge will understand the threats of certain materials, such as certain kinds of bubble wrap that can leak chemicals when warm (potentially ruining paintings and photos). The savvy art shipper will also know, for example, that sending and receiving fragile goods in Honduras during the stormy months of June–November requires more careful consideration than at other times of the year.

Always go with a company that will not only adequately insure your expensive piece, but has the knowledge to not make avoidable mistakes that can severely damage your piece while in transit. The nail-biting factor when shipping art may never go away, but with knowledgeable support from an experienced shipper, you’re in shape to get through each step with assurance that everything will go smoothly from beginning to end. Then follow the above guidelines and be involved in as many steps as you can along the way. Once the work is unpacked and showcased in its next location, you’ll be satisfied and glad you followed these steps.

James O’Brien’s work can be found at Mashable, Forbes.com, TheAtlantic.com and elsewhere. He writes about media, finance, business and travel.

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Santos Arzú Quioto – Honduras Painter

Santos Arzú Quioto (1963) is one of the key creators of contemporary art in Honduras. His first works were based in a modern plastic context, but evolved to eventually turn into something experimental and contemporary. This evolution was very much influenced by his academic background in sociology. In 1982 he made his first public appearance with the sample of paintings called Drawings, where he focused on portraits. In fact, a decade later, it can be seen in his artwork that his expertise relied on portrait paintings. However, in 1995 his work hat an immense turn with his project “Temple in Ruins” or “Templo in Ruinas” in Spanish, which became the backbone of Honduran contemporary art. With this painting Arzú won the first prize in the “III Bienal de Pintura del Caribe y Centroamérica” in (Santo Domingo, 1996). A success which he only shares with another Honduran painter Armando Lara.

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Chiminike is the first interactive museum in Honduras, where children have access to educational content and activities.

The museum is situated about 7km south of downtown, it caters to kids of all ages, from a peaceful infant/nursing area to adolescent-level displays on Maya history. Another interesting area is the Human Body exhibit, where children can understand the hows and whys of farting, vomiting, sneezing and body odor, crawlingh through the digestive tract that begins at the mouth and ends with a slide through an oversized rectum.

The other exhibitions in the museum include:

  • Nursery: A playground for babies, where they can interact with all members of your family. These games will help develop all the senses as the baby interacts with the family members.
  • The City: Here children can play and become real engineers and help develop a city. They can also become bankers, radio or television producer.
  • The Human Body:Imagine entering a giant nose, causing tickling to the point that you sneeze. Impossible? NO, thank Chiminike. Here in this room, will not only know the sense of smell, but to know everything about our bodies. DNA, and varies in each of us as our features and even defines our personality, respondiéndonos to the question of why we like our parents, uncles or grandparents.
  • Honduras and its People: The purpose of this exhibition is to understand the different forms of expression in the ancient civilizations focusing on Mayan Culture. Children learn about archeology, the history of the country and the main archaeological sites of the Mayan world, its culture, language and traditions.
  • We travel to Space: Children have the opportunity to learn about space travel and see a real moon rock.
  • Environment: Water: source of life. The environment exhibition explains and teaches children about the benefits of water.
  • The House of Balance: Imagine walking into a house where everything is tilted, but surprisingly things are going up instead of down. In this exhibition children learn about gravity and fisics.
  • External exhibitions: an outside playground where children can climb molecules, DNA and eat a snack in the museum’s wagon.
    • Molecular Structure:
    • The wagon and locomotive:
    • DNA Structure.
  • Energy: The purpose of this exhibition is to teach children everything related to energy production and energy saving. The activities in this room, include the Bed of Nails, Vander Graaph and many more.

By watching the video below you can have a better idea of the exhibitions in the museum.

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Museum of Anthropology and History – Comayagua, Honduras

Enjoy a tour of the Lenca Museum in Comayagua. This virtual tour is very interesting since it talks about the history of the Lencas. Since the video is in Spanish, I have transcribed it in English, you can read this summary of what is shown on the video, I hope you enjoy this virtual visit.

The Museum of anthropology and history in Comayagua, is the only museum in Honduras that has information about the history of the Lencas. Comayagua was the capital of Honduras from 1824 until 1880, when the capital was moved to Tegucigalpa, current capital of the country.

When you see the video the first images inside the house, are of fossilized bones of sloths and jaguars that lived in the region. Also, you will be able to see some petrified sea shells, which leads to believe that a long time ago the main land was covered by the ocean.

Lenca Prehistoric Art of Honduras– Arte Rupestre

The first carved stone was found near the Yohoa Lake in the center of Honduras, it has the image of a feathered serpent, which symbolized the fertility of the land and abundance of water.

Behind the carved stone we can see a replica of caves found in La Paz, which are around 14,000 years old, making it the oldest cave in America that contains pictographic drawings. The Lencas were nomads, so this is why the archeologist have found paintings and sculptures all over the country. The paintings were used to teach children the importance of the ceremonies, in one of the paintings it is possible to observe that the whole tribe, several snakes and the shaman are painted on the stone. Also at the bottom right hand corner, we can see a painting of a ball, which leads the archeologists to believe that the Lencas invented the ball game that the Mayans are famous for. The Mayans came to this region 400 year later than the Lencas.

The main archeological finding of the Lencas is known as Chircal or Miravalle Village. On the video you can observe a model with one pyramid and several houses of the village, the Lencas had to leave their village because a volcanic eruption in El Salvador.

Lenca Cermics and Colored Pottery

First, we can see several small carved stones used to make tattoos and several small statues. Then it is possible to observe different types of pottery with drawings. The pottery usually uses three colors: black, brown and white. Also, the Lencas made collars and earrings of jade and other types of stone.

In the final room, which used to be part of the president’s main office, we can see several oil paintings. In the room we can see that now different types of clothing used by the Lencas are being displayed. If you continue to see the video, there will be no more objects used or made by Lencas. All of the other rooms contain objects of the time that the museum was the presidential house when Comayagua was the capital of Honduras.

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The Lenca Trail – Honduras

The Lenca Trail, is one of the most beautiful tours in Honduras. Is is a 76-mile route spanning from Santa Rosa de Copán to La Esperanza in the western highlands. Throughout this trail you will visit the most charming towns, you will be able to see a many colonial style architecture, churches, historical forts, a Lenca museum and Farmers Markets where the Lenca people sell their vegetables and pottery. Please read our post about the Lenca and their pottery for more information.

Also, the route provides a wonderful scenery with green hills and mountains. On the trail you have the opportunity to visit the National Park “Celaque”, which means “Box of Water” in the lenca language. Celaque is a rain forest where you will find over 230 plant species, 45 species of mammals, and 269 species of birds. The national park is located 9km from downtown Gracias, in the Celaque Mountain. After arriving to the visitor center, the walk in the park is rather pleasant where you will ascend an extra 1,400 to 2,500 meters, where all the flora and fauna typical from a rain forest can be found.

This is an excelent touristic route where you can find living culture, natural scenery, and colonial architecture. Please visit Colosuca for more information about this wonderful trip.

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Lempira – Honduran Hero

Lempira was a war captain of the Lencas, a Mesoamerican ethnic group, who speak their own language and have lived in Honduras and El Salvador since pre-colombian times. The Lencas are still living in Honduras and recently have gained popularity because of their beautiful pottery and crafts.

Lempira is very important in Honduran history, because he fought against the Spanish around the 1500s, when the Spanish were trying to conquer the territory. He was of medium height, with strong complexity. He was known for his bad temper and since a young age he demonstrated courage and bravery and was known for his love for his people, land, laws and traditions. The name Lempira comes from the word Lempaera, which is the union of two lencan words, Lempa which means Lord – title of dignity and hierarchy, and the word Era, which means hills. Therefore, Lempira would be the “lord of the hills”.

Lempira was very respected among his people and when fighting against the Spaniards, he was able to unite 200 different tribes to create an army of 30,000 soldiers. Because of this organization it was very difficult for the Spaniards to take control of the region during 1537, until Lempira’s death.

There are two versions of Lempira’s death, the first version, which is the traditional story heard in Honduras states that he was betrayed by the Spaniards. Supposedly, they had agreed to meet with Lempira to negotiate peace. When he met with the Spaniards, he was shot by one of the Spaniards. The second version of his death was found on a document called Pobranza de Meritos, in the Archivo General de Indias of Sevilla, written by Rodrigo Ruiz. This version states that the captain “EL Empira” was killed in combat by Ruiz in the middle of an unexpected battle. After Lempira was killed, Ruiz cut Lempira’s head off as a proof of his death.

Because of Lempira’s important role in Honduran history, many things were honored with his name. Honduras currency is el lempira, also there is a city called Puerto Lempira, capital of the department or state Gracias a Dios and finally there is a department called Lempira.

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