19 | MAY | 2019
Promoting Huichol art
Huichol embroidery - Photo: Courtesy

Promoting Huichol art

Carlos Ramírez
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The First Biennial of Huichol Art in Mexico aims to promote the work of unknown Huichol artists

In order to preserve the traditional iconography of Huichol art and support unknown artists from Wixárika (Huichol) communities, the First Biennial of Huichol Art in Mexico will take place at the hotel Presidente InterContinental, in the Polanco quarter.

The exhibition, which will run from April 12 to June 25, will display 17 pieces made of yarn and 13 of beads, the work of Wixárika artisans of the region of San Andrés Cohamiata, in Jalisco, and Santa María del Oro, in Nayarit. The pieces belong to several galleries promoting Huichol art in Mexico, such as Menchaca Studio, Ignacio Villanueva, Tanana Gallery, Maracaba Gallery, and Art Gallery Yawí.

“I've been working for 15 years in this art which I learned from my parents. I currently live in the city and I've been here for the past 5 years. To me, this art represents my livelihood,” said Mariano Navarrete, one of the Huichol artists.

During a press conference, Jorge Martínez Cabrera, co-founder of the Biennal, explained that three of the artists – Mariano Navarrete, Gilberto Parra, and Gregorio Barrio – are beneficiaries of the project SuperArte, which provides materials and economic support to artists so they can keep working.

“Our goal is to project these artists so they can obtain direct support for their art, and to keep supporting the project so we can support more artists; the continuity of SuperArte will also depend on the response of the audience, regarding sales,” said Martínez Cabrera.

The jury of the Biennale is comprised by Antonio Saborit, director of the National Museum of Anthropology; Johannes Neurath, director of the Cora Huichol Room of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH); Regina Lira, head of Anthropologic Research at the Insitute of Historical Research of the UNAM; Juan Carlos Pereda, Deputy Director of the Collections Department at the Rufino Tamayo Art Museum; and Francisco Benítez de la Cruz, member of the Wixárika people and with a master by the University of Guadalajara.

The prize of the Biennale – USD$ 1,000 – will be awarded on the last day of the exhibition.

For his part, artist Gregorio Barrio highlighted the need of Mexican people appreciating and promoting Huichol art. “We hope to gain recognition after this so Huichol art can be promoted. We don't want to haggle [the prices] of our pieces because it costs us to invest in them,” he said.

“It's important to promote artists and differentiate them from craftsmen. Because when you display indigenous art, the name of the artist is left out and [his work] becomes a craft. Artists have individuality and a specific, complex style,” said Johannes Neurath.


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