Sunday, June 16, 2024

Women Artists of Zihuatanejo: empowerment in the gallery

It’s appropriate that the premier art show in Zihuatanejo, Women Artists of Zihuatanejo (Mujeres Artistas de Zihuatanejo), happened this year on February 29, also known as “Sadie Hawkins Day.” An Irish-based tradition, it’s the day when a woman can propose to a man.

Today, however, the day celebrates, among other things, female empowerment. And since the name Zihuatanejo can be literally translated as “A Place Of Women,” it is appropriate to do a show of this type on this day, one that occurs only once every four years.

It all started when artists James Crespinel and Monica Gutiérrez decided they needed a creative space to work. It wasn’t too long before other artists were invited to share the workspace and exhibit at what is now known as Mezgaleria.

Says the duo, “It became a place where artists who previously could only show in restaurants, retail stores, or in some cases, their own gallery, could now have a professional venue to showcase their works.”

Speaking with them I could feel the passion they had about the gallery, a true labor of love as they’ve given the community a space for creative expression. Adds Crespinel, “The purpose was to bring women together as a collective group rather than with an individual show.”

The artists represented at the Zihuatanejo show.
The artists represented at the Zihuatanejo show.

I walked into the gallery on opening night to find the place buzzing with excitement. It seemed that the elite of Zihua society were in attendance and, as Gutiérrez remarked, women (and perhaps men too) were as concerned as much about the clothes they wore as the show itself. Judging from the looks of so many beautiful people in one room, I can only agree.

But as to the show itself … 30 talented women from the region exhibited their works in a variety of styles and genres that ranged from sculpture to paintings to paper maché, along with textiles in the form of purses, jewelry and silk scarves. The intent, of course, was to sell their work and five of the artists did just that. 

Organizer Peg Harris, an artist and exhibitor herself, explained how women were chosen for the show. “Some of the women were gathered by their involvement at previous shows, this one being the fourth after a one-year hiatus.” She also sent letters out to artists inviting them to exhibit, while Gutiérrez searched the area, spreading the word and visiting artists in their home studios.

“It’s a wonderful event and it’s all about bringing communities together,” Harris said.

As far as how the show might evolve in the future, “There are a lot of directions that we could do in the future but right now we know it’s a show that people look forward to and we’d like it to continue.”

Interesting to me was that of 30 exhibitors, 17 were Mexican while the other 13 were either American or Canadian with one artist from Sweden. “And all of them have a strong connection to Zihuatanejo in one form or another, whether they live here full-time or are people who spend a few months a year here,” said Gutierrez.

For those who missed the show, the gallery will be open 10:00 a.m – 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Saturday for one more week.

The artists are Agatha Fast, Ana López Doddoli, Barbara Bridges, Carla Juarez, Carla López, Carmen Rivas, Ciria Velázquez, Edita Kon, Gabriela Trejo, Gloria Hernández, Grace Relfe, Gwyn Barre, Guadalupe Gaytan, Lauri Copeman, Lisa Bissonnette, Martina Croghan, Mishel Espinal, Mónica Gutiérrez, Monserrat Baños, Nina Turkin, Peg Harris, Perla Arana, Rubí Quintana, Sonya Yahyaoui, Suzanne Viechnicki, Tamara Zapata, Tina Andreasson, Viridiana De la O, Yoba Gould, Zahira de Anda.

Mexico News Daily

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