Opens Saturday, November 28, 2009, 7 p.m., Museo Textil de Oaxaca, and continues through March 15, 2010
Curated by Olga Margarita Davila, this contemporary art exhibition translates the experiences of Mexican emigration through the eyes of Tijuana born artist Eduardo Poeter. Through textiles, photos, and personal stories, she traces the experiences of 13 people representing five ethnic groups and seven regions of Oaxaca. Clothing and textiles become the metaphor for psycho-social status and how people engage in and are seen as being part of or outside the community. The exhibition artistically explores the possible connotations of emigration, how individuals and communities are transformed through the experience, and how clothing serves as a language to communicate identity and belonging.
In Oaxaca, textiles are highly prized and very important. Dress is the identity of community, and important decisions about color, shape, texture and size have evolved over time. Fabrics are woven using the backstrap loom or fixed-frame pedal loom and convey the richness and variety of the culture. Each garment conveys a way of life. When Eduardo began her creative process, she studied this system of shape, pattern and design to understand the profound experiences retold by each of the immigrants.
The impetus for this collection of works is a translation by Eduardo of the immigrants’ experiences and stories. She is driven to understand, reflect upon, and create universal understanding: you are in me and I in you.
La exposición IDentidades RE-Vestidas se conforma con obras de arte contemporáneo que nacieron de un proceso de vinculación con las comunidades de Oaxaca con una indumentaria relevante y que la presencia de la migración fuera significativa; en la que la vestimenta se entiende como un reflejo de la condición psico-social de la comunidad y en la que se explorara artísticamente las posibles connotaciones de afectación y transformación de la emigración, revertida en una intervención en la ropa. Es así que las diez piezas resultantes de esta investigación y experimentación, recogen las experiencias de 13 personas en 5 grupos étnicos y 7 regiones de Oaxaca.
La vestimenta es el rostro de una comunidad. Es la personalidad en tela que se conforma poco a poco con el paso del tiempo y con decisiones de color, forma, textura y tamaño. En textiles, Oaxaca es reina, no solo porque aún las telas se hacen a mano en telar de cintura o de pedal, sino porque su riqueza y variedad reflejan las culturas que la conforman y porque conllevan a saberes rebosantes en el que cada uno contiene una plenitud cosmogónica. Cada uno de ellos propone un código de vida que se expresa en atuendos, con los cuales Eduardo empezó su proceso creativo, entendiendo su sistema de signos que lo conforman y las pautas que siguen, para de ahí poder intervenir, tomar parte del asunto, con el mensaje profundo de cada una de las vivencias de los emigrantes.
El ímpetu de la presente colección de obras es una traducción de Eduardo. Esta parte de varias pulsiones, siendo la más atractiva para ser un punto de partida de la presente reflexión, la de conformarse hacia una practica artística pluri-versal, es decir, dejar atrás el concepto de artista universalista enfocada en su yo como dictador de realidad, para crear-se hacia la artista mutua, con el enunciado: tú eres en mí y yo en ti. color
Inauguración Sábado 28 a las 19:00 hrs en el
Museo Textil de Oaxaca color
Centro 68000, Oaxaca, México.
Teléfono (951) 5 01 11 04
La exposición estará hasta el 15 de marzo del 2010
Para información sobre visitas, el taller La Intervención en el Arte Contemporáneo, conferecias y programa educativo para niños dirigirse a Difusión y Servicios Educativos:
(951) 5011617 ext.104
Book Review: The Life and Times of Mexico by Earl Shorris
If you are a repeated visitor to Mexico and you are interested in a historical, social, political, cultural, artistic commentary, then this comprehensive, 700+-page tome by Earl Shorris is a must read. Shorris’ insights into why Mexico works the way it does is rooted in its experience as a Spanish outpost in the New World, an inherited conservative legal system rooted in a Latin judicial system, and Olmec creativity and Aztec stratified hierarchies that adapted to conquest. There is so much going on in this book that it can be at times overwhelming and dense. It took me over a month to read it, but it was well worth the investment of time.
If I were a psychologist, I might draw the conclusion that today’s Mexico is a bi-polar country, torn between its indigenous and Spanish heritage, and the tension of identity that this creates. Shorris talks about the metiszo or mestizaje, the Mexican who is the blend of Spanish and indigenous parentage, and the self-love/hate relationship that that promotes and promulgates. He discusses why it was so easy for the red-bearded Cortes to be embraced as the Quetzalcoatl, and how the Aztec emblem of the double-eagle which was also the coat of arms of the Spanish crown, became common symbols that were embraced by the conquered. When I toured the Ex-Convento Santa Rosa in Puebla recently, there was a clay sculpture that embodied this history. The base was adorned with Spanish soldiers and Aztec warriors, depicting the conquest of New Spain. At the top was La Malinche and Cortes, arms outstretched to heaven, holding a baby that represented the blending of the two and the future of the country. La Malinche was Cortes’ mistress who served as his translator and betrayed her people. These figures could be the Virgin Mary or the Virgin of Guadalupe and God, bringing forth the Baby Jesus who would become the saviour.
There remains in Mexico today a social class system based upon heritage. Criollos are those of “pure” Spanish descent. The mestizos are the mix of Spanish and indigenous. The indigenous, or indians, are usually darker, rural and less educated, with less access to social services and opportunities. Skin color can define a person’s opportunity to succeed and advance. The social movements that have turned to street activism are the result of a closed system where democratic principles are difficult to actualize. As Mexico seeks to expand it’s international partnerships with other nations, it will begin to break loose from the domination of its northern neighbor.
NAFTA, economic opportunity, immigration, the economic engine of Monterrey, Carlos Slim Helu (owner of Telmex and one of the richest men in the world), the 70-year “presidency” of Porfirio Diaz, the political leadership decisions to create Mexico as a labor market rather than a manufacturing/production market, the 1910 “revolution” and implications for democracy, and the incredible literary and arts contributions made to the world by Mexican writers and painters are all discussed in this extraordinary book.
When I read Shorris’ perspectives about the dream imagery of the ancient Mayans, Aztecs and Zapotecs that have influenced contemporary artists, I understand how my friend Pantaleon Ruiz Martinez in the village of Teotitlan del Valle is bringing forth the soul of his people to convey floating people, animals and symbology on canvas.
There is so much more than what I have touched on here. Please pick this up and settle in for a good read. You will love and understand Mexico so much more for it.
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Posted in Books & Resources, Cultural Commentary
Tagged books about Mexico, Earl Shorris, Mexican politics