Rojas, Elmar – Guatemala

1942-2018 | Latin American Art


He started his career as an architect, although he trained in Art at Guatemala’s National School of Plastic Arts. He would later continue his artistic training in Europe, specifically at the Pietro Vannucci School in Perugia, Italy, the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris, and the Complutense University of Madrid.

His training and career led him to be an internationally recognised painter.

In the 1960s he founded the Grupo Vértebra alongside Roberto Cabrera and Marco Augusto Quiroa.

In 1986 he also founded the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Guatemala, acting as its first minister.



The work of Elmar Rojas can be categorised as magical realism, with a literary artistic style characterised by fusing reality with fantasy, revealing elements from the imagination as something habitual.

His works are full of symbolic references to the Guatemalan tradition, as well as tackling contemporary social and political issues, especially during the period when he was part of the Grupo Vértebra.

His language became dreamlike and mystical based on the vaporous tones and glazes used. In his works we see references to human or animal figures with a high degree of schematisation, sometimes even reaching abstraction.

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“Elmar Rojas: color y forma, compromiso social y testimonial”. Fundación Arte de las Américas. In:  

[date of access for all links: 05/05/2023]