"I am extremely grateful for God's many blessings. He has given me hope and new energy… I never gave up and I never will. Life is a question of attitude."
Vicente Simaj is known as a helpful person with an enormous charisma, kind and active in his community. He has become a very special person for everyone who is fortunate to know him.
"I'm Margarito Vicente Simaj Yat. I was born in 1940 in the lovely town of San Antonio Ilotenango. I paint scenes inspired by the customs of Quiché and our nearby communities. I feel fortunate to live here, to enjoy this wonderful region and depict the wonderful stories told by our ancestors that are often forgotten.
"My path in art began when I was I was 30. A friend suggested it and I took classes in Guatemala City with incredible teachers. Although I could already paint many images, they taught me new techniques that made me love this art even more and this led me to take more and more courses.
"My greatest dream is to teach other people to paint. It's a shame that so many of our customs have been lost over time. I feel a responsibility to teach young people the importance of preserving our traditions and I also want to leave these valuable teachings for the new generations.
"Despite my age and having overcome many health problems that affected my daily life, I am extremely grateful for God's many blessings. He has given me hope and new energy to be able to continue in life's path. I feel proud of how I was able to bear all these adversities. I never gave up and I never will. Life is a question of attitude and I'm certain I'll be able to teach this art to many others. Thank you for your confidence in my paintings and in my art."