Students Staff

21 June 2013

Mexican Migrations focus of new ESCALA show

ESCALA (the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America) has launched its latest exhibition at firstsite in Colchester reflecting on the work of Mexican artists within the collection.

Mexican Migrations focuses on artworks by Mexican artists in ESCALA including recent acquisitions by Graciela Iturbide (1942-), Mexico’s foremost living photographer and prints by Mexican masters Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991) and José Luis Cuevas (1934-), one of the leaders of the Generación de la Ruptura (Rupture Generation).

The title of the exhibition echoes the theme of ‘Migration’ chosen by the British Comparative Literature Association for its VIII Conference organized by the Department of Literature, Theatre and Film Studies at the University of Essex from 8-11 July 2013.

For the conference, migration is ‘understood as the migration of various kinds of texts, stories, and myths across cultures and time, media, genres and species, as well as the migrations of peoples across lands, seas, and worlds’.

This understanding can also be applied to the artworks in Mexican Migrations, a number of which reference and re-imagine Mexico’s pre-Hispanic artistic traditions and worldviews, among them those of the Aztecs who originated one of the greatest migration myths of all time.

Other artworks allude indirectly to internal migration within Mexico, of people and ideas, while still others expose the constant exchange over time and between countries of art and literature: Quevedo #3by Cuevas, for example, includes text by the Spanish Baroque writer Francisco de Quevedo and was donated to ESCALA by Cuevas’s friend, the Brazilian artist Siron Franco(1947-).

The exhibition will also explore Colchester’s own Mexican migrations through the figure of Weetman Pearson (1856-1927), the first Viscount Cowdray and Liberal MP for Colchester from 1895 to 1910.

Mexican Migrations contributes to a wider focus this summer on art from Mexico with a display of photographs by Graciela Iturbide at Tate Modern, curated by Simon Baker and on modern art in Mexico at the Royal Academy of Arts with the exhibition Mexico: A Revolution in Art, 1910-1940, curated by University of Essex alumnus and former ESCALA Curatorial Advisor, Dr Adrian Locke.

ESCALA has a partnership with Tate in recognition of the long-standing mutual interest in art from Latin America of both organizations. The partnership includes a commitment to share knowledge and expertise in this field.

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