This time of year in Oaxaca most everyone’s thoughts are wandering around the after-life; it is the season to remember and celebrate loved ones lost. Throughout the city and surrounding areas the art of paying homage to those who have passed away is on great display; from altars to comparsas (traditional parades complete with live music, dancers, impressive costumes, stilt-walkers and more) to elaborately adorned cemeteries, the city is set to seduce your senses. Oaxaca really pulls out all the stops during Día de los Muertos and the same goes for the local artists and arts spaces. There is an incredible offering of exhibitions to take in between the parades and mole and mezcal; here is my selection of not-to-be-missed shows.
In this dynamic exhibition, 21 different artists present their own interpretation of the same family portrait. Atop photographic prints made from a found, antique 8×10 negative, each artist has transformed the unknown family’s image and given it new life using an array of techniques including leather applique, black light paint, screen-printing, bedazzling, scratching and more. With La Familia Mexicana, a long lost family portrait has been resurrected and will continue to live on in its myriad of new manifestations.
Constitución #213, Historic Center
The exhibitions currently on view at the Textile Museum of Oaxaca will leave you in awe. El Arte de Atar presents an absolutely stunning selection of traditional shibori and ikat textiles from around the world. The precision craftsmanship shown in the elaborate examples of these two resist dye techniques seems impossible to have been executed by human hands; the exhibition is a true display of technical mastery.
Hilar el Viento explores the pre-hispanic technique of spinning goose feathers into cotton yarn and incorporating it into woven textiles. The museum partnered with artisans from Teotitlan de Valle and San Sebastian Rio Hondo to rescue the lost technique and create the feathered yarn. The exhibition presents contemporary pieces created with the prepared yarn by artists including Roman Gutiérrez, Laura Anderson Barbata, Trine Ellitsgaard and Francisco Toledo, as well a selection of historic pieces.
Textile Museum of Oaxaca
Hidalgo 917, Historic Center
Mon-Sat, 10am-8pm, Sun 10am-6pm
An extension of the Gorilla Glass company, founded here in Oaxaca by Jason Pfohl, Gorilla Gallery has become a space where local and national artists can explore the possibilities the medium of glass has to offer. With their first retrospective, the gallery presents a wide array of work including blown glass sculpture, glass plate prints and two large-scale, interactive kaleidoscopes by artists Lapiztola, Cawamo and Cesar Chavez among others.
Porfirio Díaz #115, at the corner of Morelos, Historic Center
No Somos lo que Fuimos (We Are Not What We Were) culls together three interlaced bodies of work by Mexico City photographer Javier Sánchez. The portions of his projects Construcciones, De lo Sutil and La Familia, presented at Córdoba Galería + Lab, contemplate the idea of constructed identity. As human beings, we inhabit our bodies during our time on earth, but, what factors – physical or otherwise – play into our concept of who we are? Sánchez’s work considers how our sense of self may be established by family, the way we present ourselves and the way we are viewed by others.
Cordoba Galería + Lab
M. Bravo #313, Historic Center