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art from isthmus of tehuantepec

Taking inspiration from Tehuantepec, as Frida Kahlo did

'The idea is to demonstrate the beauty of ... some of the most resilient cultures in the country'

Made internationally famous by Frida Kahlo’s painting of herself in the traditional dress of the region, Oaxaca’s Isthmus of Tehuantepec and its abundant multiculturalism served as the inspiration for the current exhibit at Mexico City’s Salon of Fine Arts (Salón de la Plástica Mexicana).

Inaugurated on February 13, the exhibit features over 50 photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures and objets d’art by members of the Salon and other artists, including Francisco Toledo, Rina Lazo, Mariana Yampolsky, Arturo García Bustos, Aurora Reyes, Blanca Charolet, Heriberto Rodríguez, Francisco Zúñiga, Álvaro Cortés, Helen Bickham, Roani, Salvador Pizarro and Enoc Mendoza.

Themes include women in traditional dress, fantastic animals, landscapes, and images from myths, legends and regional festivals.

Cecilia Santacruz, the director of the Salon, stated that the exhibit “… exalts the culture of the people of this region, one of the most culturally rich …” in Mexico.

Before the conquest the region was part of the Zapotec Empire which controlled important trade routes between what is now central Mexico and Central America. Today it is home to communities of Huaves, Mixes, Zapotecs, Zoques and Chontals, among others.

“The idea is to demonstrate the beauty of the region, of some of the most resilient cultures in the country, which has resisted many changes and even a (recent) earthquake. Culture that has been transmitted from generation to generation. Women and men who are proud to preserve tradition.”

Santacruz added that the exhibition also “… points to the dignity that people have through their traditions, which means a constant struggle.”

“On this occasion, the creators developed their own discourse. Some exalt the beauty of the landscape or traditional women’s garb. It includes a graphic work by the maestro Francisco Toledo that references the earthquake the region suffered and a photograph of a girl playing with a crocodile.”

Running until March 1 at the institution’s building at Colima 196, Colonia Roma, Mexico City, the exhibition is free and open to the public.

The Salon of Fine Arts is a government-sponsored society that was begun in 1949 by such artists as Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Gerardo “Dr Atl” Murillo and Frida Kahlo. It has inducted over 400 members past and present, particularly among the generations of the Mexican muralism movement and the following period known as La Ruptura (“The Breakaway,” 1950-1970).

Source: La Jornada (sp)

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