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Rob Douglas


Call of the Cinote Series, 2013

In the Yucatan region of Mexico, a 'Cinote' is the name of a network of underground freshwater rivers and caverns occurring primarily in this area and a part of life for centuries. A rich and abundant source of potable water discovered by the ancient Mayans and still used today. It is estimated that there are over 6000 of these underground rivers throughout the Yucatan Peninsula.
These underground rivers were formed by forces of nature (much like the way giant sink holes are formed) over a very long period and were considered holy sights by the natives, especially in times of drought. They also considered the Cinotes to be the entrance to the underworld, which I found to be very fascinating. Filled with brilliant blue, crystal clear cold water, this vast underground storage system of unusual caverns filled with stalactites and stalagmites is truly a work of art in itself.
Their magic, enigmatic nature and pristine beauty, I found to be a great marvel.

After many years after my travels to the Yucatan, I was again reminded by an acquaintance who resides in one of the small villages there - of the ESSENCE OF THE naturally occurring CINOTE'S in the region.
I had stored away the emotional charges and visions and memories of the beauty of the Cinotes and their history until this day where they surfaced once again after our discussion. It is said that from the depths of certain Cinotes, the tree roots can be seen from below. I was not able to see this myself, but the descriptions by others could only spark my imagination.
I sense it was a chain reaction that occurred that set off the inspiration for much of this latest body of work in which I seek to express some of the forgotten magic of one of Mexico's finest treasures.
A great deal of the magic of that region is its colorful imagery, rustic and simplistic lifestyles steeped in its ancient history. The intense vibrant colors in everything there from architecture, to pottery, and paintings -, the ocean waters and to the depths of the many existing Cinotes and even the smiles on the native inhabitants is the true essence of the region. This powerful magic has spoken to me once more and as well as the rather crude and rustic imagery that was sparked by it. I would say the color palette used this time, best expresses my emotional connection to the region and the Cinotes themselves.