• Pedro Tec is running a one-man food drive to help people in his birthplace of Ixil, Yucatan. Photo: Courtesy

The young photographer whose haunting, hometown portraits have been displayed in museums and art galleries has returned to his birthplace to aid the community.

“I am using the resources of art to be able to help the Mayan people of Ixil,” said Pedro Tec, referring to a pueblo of fewer than 4,000 people 25 kilometers northwest of Merida.

The coronavirus crisis has affected the numerous, rural hardscrabble towns scattered across Yucatan. Ixil, where Tec has aimed his camera for years, is now the place where the artist is giving back.

On Facebook, he posted a video that shows several rooms where he has stockpiled eggs, bananas, pasta, flour, toilet paper and other staples purchased with his friends’ donations, or sent directly.

“COVID-19 is a big problem in the Maya community, with no work and difficulty getting food,” said Tec, who is using social media to raise funds for pantry items.

Around 80 families were helped on Sunday alone with food donations.

How to help

Tec is accepting financial contributions via PayPal at peterajaw@yahoo.com. Rice, beans, sugar, coffee, packaged baked goods, canned goods and other shelf-stable foods can be dropped off in Merida, at Calle 74, No. 498C, between 57 and 59 in Santiago. Call ahead at 999-345-3737.

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