BY: KRISTINE BEREY
The remarkable travelling exhibition Vida y Muerte—Life, Death and the Expression of Everyday Life according to the view of the world of Contemporary Indigenous Communities—is a revelation.
Organized by the Mexican non-profit organization Espacios de Arte Nomada, or EAN, in partnership with the Mexican consulate, the exhibit showcases the culture, art, poetry and music of indigenous groups living in Mexico.
“There is a huge wealth of indigenous art not known by the mainstream,” said Phil Price of EAN. “They have tremendous cultural value that exists from pre-Hispanic times.”
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The show shines a light on these communities to awaken intercultural dialogue within Mexico and internationally.
Until September 14, when the itinerant museum moves to the second stop on its seven-city tour, Montrealers will have a chance to see a range of work including sculpture, traditional weaving, beadwork, painting, pottery and ceramics.
Some of the 45 pieces on display are purely decorative, some expressive and others part of religious ritual or everyday life.
Each piece reflects different skills and techniques of a particular culture and while some are wildly colourful, with the flowers and heat we associate with Mexico, other pieces look astoundingly elegant and modern.
Fourteen cultural groups of Mexico’s 68 existing first peoples are represented, with more to be added in future years.
Discovering the materials and techniques used to create the works makes one realize the enormity of the loss the world would sustain, should this ancient knowledge be forgotten.
Original music, recorded by EAN, photographs and quotes from indigenous poets imbue the exhibit with an immediacy that keeps the images in one’s mind alive long after one has left the exhibition space.
The Museum of Contemporary Indigenous Art is at 2055 Peel. There is no charge to view the exhibit. 11 am-1 pm, 2 pm-5pm.