The left image corresponds to a piece by the Tzotzil artist P.T’ul Gómez; then, works in progress in the workshop of the Muy gallery, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.Foto Justine Monter-Cid
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chis., The Muy gallery (root of the Tzotzil word meaning
placer), established in an old house in the Coleto neighborhood of Guadalupe, beautiful and rustic, it is a container and a supplier for the plastic work of artists from indigenous communities in Chamula, San Andrés, Tenejapa, Ocosingo, Huixtán, Las Margaritas, Rayón and other municipalities. About twenty painters, sculptors, potters, embroiderers, photographers, engravers, videographers or digital creators of Tzotzil, Tzeltal, Zoque, Tojolabal and Chol origin are represented by Muy. They frequently create here, in the gallery’s workshops, their paintings, works in clay, installations.
It is a living museum and a school where tradition and contemporaneity, even the avant-garde, go hand in hand and produce pieces of the imagination that do not need to ask permission to be considered Art. They participate in the indigenous awakening of Chiapas, which in the past 30 years has produced literature and revolution, painting (mural and easel) and cooperatives, a curious mixture of the communal and the personal.
In the last quarter of the 20th century, the encounter of the traditionalist indigenous peoples of the Highlands of Chiapas with a sudden cosmopolitan modernity and of all Mexico, frequently illustrated, via tourism, and also, paraphrasing Maurice Ravel, for various noble or sentimental causes It had a great cultural effect. Over time, rebels, liberationists, writers, artists emerged from between the mist of the mountains and the green curtain of the jungle. The invisible became visible.
A couple of rooms for the exhibition and sale of the work of Muy artists offer a sample of the pictorial richness and radical craftsmanship that is taking place in these southeastern regions. Some self-taught, others formally educated and even professionals, born between 1957 and 1997, have in common the undeniable condition and aesthetic commitment of the artist.
Crossing a small garden is the large room for temporary exhibitions, this time with numerous pieces of clay, ceramics, and sculpture by P. T’ul Gómez (Chonomyakilo’, San Andrés, 1997) and other potters. Some pieces seem to have just come out of the ground, in others a reinterpretation of Picasso, Soriano or Toledo appears. All together and scrambled. High-flying pottery.
On one side, with the guidance of Darwin Cruz, another artist from the house, a chol originally from Sabanilla (1990), The Conference visit the tumultuous workshop-cellar of the artists, where the chaos of figures and objects seems to come to life. Cruz shows his own finished or in-progress work, sculptures and engravings. His painting, which is not here, portrays a tremendous reality. There are also works in progress by PH Joel (Francisco Villa, Ocosingo, 1992), anthropologist and ceramic artist between the neo-Maya and the phantasmagoria of a dream of gods and cyborgs.
Explosive and refined proposals
The list of artists represented by the gallery is wide and varied. There is the painter and potter Maruch Méndez (K’atixtik, San Juan Chamula, 1957), with an original power
innocent. Juan Chawuk (Tojolabal de Las Margaritas, 1971), a renowned painter who has exhibited abroad, stands out for a painting, sometimes mural, charged with provocative eroticism and irony, not far from the tragicomic realism of Raymundo López (San Andrés Larráinzar, 1989).
Also known are the painter Saúl Kak (Nuevo Esquipulas Guayabal, Rayón, 1985), who adds environmental and cultural activism in the Zoque region to his explosive and expressive work, and Antún Kojtom (Tenejapa, 1969), with a characteristic neofigurative style. , post-cubist, sober in color, intense in its representation.
Maruch Sántiz (Cruztón, 1975), with extensive experience, was one of the first indigenous photographers in Mexico, with
portraits of things who knew how to speak Your
little brother Genaro (Cruztón, 1979) followed in his footsteps from a very young age and today is an elegant nature and detail photographer.
The linguist, university teacher and translator Säsäknichim Martínez Pérez (Adolfo López Mateos, Huixtán, 1980) has developed a bold practice of photography and video, as well as textile intervention. Cecilia Gómez (Chonomyakilo’, San Andrés, 1992) seems closer to the
craftsmanship of embroidery, but with a free radical touch.
Gerardo K’ulej (Huixtán 1988), who carries out spatial and sculptural interventions of inexplicable balance and refined sobriety, and Marco Girón (Tenejapa), an experienced photographer and web designer, join them.
Another realist painter is Carlos de la Cruz (San Cristóbal, 1989), who moves naturally from charcoal to mural. Manuel Guzmán (Tenejapa 1964) practices the wild expressionism of a Kandinski painting ex-votos. Somewhat predictable, and nevertheless notable, is the Lacandón Kayúm Ma’ax (Naha, 1962); He is related to the Amazonian painters of Ecuador, and like them he portrays dreamlike landscapes that replicate the customs officer Rousseau from here.
This tour closes with the interconnectivity of the writer Xun Betan, a Tsotsil from Venustiano Carranza and also a member of the Muy gallery, founded by John Burnstein, and currently directed by Martha Alejandro, originally from the Zoque region.