In conjunction with the opening of our new exhibition, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, the Heard Museum Shop has invited eight celebrated Mexican-Indigenous artists to show and sell their art; Julia Fuentes Santiago (alebrije painting), Diego Valles (ceramics), Porfirio Gutierrez (textiles),Yesenia Salgado Tellez (jewelry), Wence and Sandra Martinez (textiles/painting), and Agustín Torres Beltran (jewelry). This group of artists will showcase the best of traditional Mexican arts, a genre collected by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, who were greatly inspired by the indigenous arts and cultures of Mexico.
Julia Fuentes Santiago is one-half of a Oaxacan carving team with her husband, Jose-Juan Melchor. Jose makes the whimsical animal carvings from copal wood, while Julia paints the intricate, bright patterns on them. Fuentes Santiago studied art at the prestigious Bellas Artes of Oaxaca and graduated as an art instructor in 1999. Her fine-art training entwines with her family’s art aesthetic and cultural influences, combining traditional Zapotec motifs and intricate detail.
Diego Valles is a native of Mata Ortiz, a small village in Chihuahua, Mexico, and has a self-described passion for art. Valles learned his craft from from his neighbors, the Mora Tena family. He digs his own clay in areas near his shop and processes the materials himself. His pottery forms are pristine, with incredible symmetry and thin, even walls. He frequently carves out sections of the pot to create negative space that complements the intricate geometric designs painted on the remaining surface.
Zapotec weaver Porfirio Gutiérrez divides his time between California and his native Oaxaca, Mexico. Although he grew up around weaving and worked on looms starting at age 12, Gutiérrez only started weaving in earnest upon his return to Oaxaca after a decade working in the United States when he was a young man. Gutiérrez weaves in his workshop, which doubles as an education center where he invites tourists and other visitors to see demonstrations and learn more about the technique and art. His work is steeped in Zapotec symbolism, with the intention of each piece telling a story. Gutiérrez is dedicated to using natural materials and colors his yarns with natural dyes, which are produced by by his sister Juana.
Nahuatl silversmith Agustín Beltran Torres creates jewelry using Mata Ortiz pottery sherds. Mata Ortiz pottery is temperamental to fire, with roughly 20 to 30 percent of pieces breaking while in the kiln. These broken pieces of pottery still retain their beautiful decoration, and Torres selects and sets each sherd to highlight the designs, bringing new life and new function to these broken pots.
Yesenia Salgado Tellez is a master silversmith who creates traditional Oaxacan filigree jewelry, a technique that was taught to her through her family’s efforts to preserve this time-consuming art. This style of jewelry was a favorite of Frida Kahlo’s, who was photographed wearing it throughout her life. Salgado Tellez has been working with silver for more than 12 years, and with her two sisters, her mother and other family members, she helps run the studio Antiguas Maravillas Oaxaquenas.
Wence and Sandra Martinez are an artist couple who work in very different mediums. Martinez is a Oaxacan weaver who learned to weave from his father and grandfather and later expanded his studies at the Taller Nacional de Tapiz (National School of Tapestry) in Mexico City. He returned to his village, where he worked as head weaver of a workshop creating reproductions, which he ultimately found unrewarding. In 1988, he was approached with a commission to recreate in tapestry a painting by Symbolist artist Sandra Hackbarth. They have been collaborating ever since, with Sandra creating the designs and Wence translating them into hand-spun woolen works of art.
April 9 – 11
Sunday – Tuesday
5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
9:30 a.m. to noon
Central Courtyard, Museum Shop
The Sunday sale is limited to ticket holders for the opening party for Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Sales Monday and Tuesday are open to the public.