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Peregrinación: Mexican Folk Ceramics

October 9, 2010 – January 8, 2011

Curated by Karen Crews Hendon

Peregrinación: Mexican Folk Ceramics

The term, peregrinación, meaning ‘pilgrimage,’ historically refers to the long journey of the pre-Columbian Mexica culture, later known as the Aztecs, who migrated to the Valley of Mexico. AMOCA invites you to take a pilgrimage through this exhibit and explore the ceramics of Mexico. The artists represented in this exhibition are: Angel Santos, Dolores Porras, Simeon Galvan, Guillermina Aguilar, Manuel Morales, Juan Torres, Antonio Pedro Martinez, Rosendo Rodriguez, Francisco Basulto, Salvador Vasquez, Antonio MateosSuárez, Josefina Aguilar, Tiburcio Soteno, Carlomagno Pedro Martinez, and Candelario Medrano.

The American Museum of Ceramic Art will offer a vibrant exhibition of Mexico’s contemporary folk ceramics, highlighting festivals and traditions such as Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (day of the dead). Originally based in Mesoamerican ritual, Día de los Muertos today has been infiltrated by Christian theology and iconography. In contrast to solemn and somber mourning rituals practiced by many cultures, the Día de los Muertos festivities are celebrated with joy and humor. Family graves and altars are decorated with ofrendas (offerings) embellished with candles, photos, foods, and flowers to commemorate the dead.

As one of the most recognized Mexican folk icons, charmingly colorful and well dressed skeleton figures, called catrinas, will be exhibited. Many potters in Capula, Michoacán continue the catrina tradition by melding Mesoamerican imagery with turn of the century French influences to create skeletal women and men dressed in elegant, Victorian-era finery. Other exhibited ceramic works include masks, skulls, tree of life sculptures, devils, mermaids, animals, imaginative spirit figures, whimsical tableaus; and religious icons such as Our Lady of Guadalupe, Catholic Saints, and nativity figures. Lastly, the exhibition will display utilitarian objects and tiles from Puebla, known for their famous Talavera style, which reflect the Spanish Majolica tradition introduced to Mexico at the beginning of the Colonial period.

Ceramic sculpture and pottery has long been a tradition in Mexico, dating back to 2000 B.C. Throughout the colonial era, between 1521 and 1650, much of the iconography and design shifted to reflect Catholic and Spanish influences. After the the Mexican Revolution and the influx of diverse cultures, the arts and crafts, including clay, became highly stylized, reflecting the cultures unique to each region. Many of these ceramic-production areas are based in small towns such as Tonalá, Tlaquepaque, Metepec, Ocumichu, Capula, Coyotepec, Guanajuato, Acatlán, and Tecali.

Peregrinación: Mexican Folk CeramicsPeregrinación: Mexican Folk Ceramics