The exhibition includes a diversity of portraits in which the theme of ‘national identity’ is set against the distinction in class, traditions or ethnic origin. The people portrayed are often idealized and are seducing the viewer. The sometimes almost erotic portraits are often a tribute to remote areas of the country, in particular to the southern state of Oaxaca, where ancestral traditions such as matriarchy, secret religious rituals and a historical tolerance of sexual diversity persist.
The exhibition also gives room to the imagination of the subconscious (in relation to ancient customs, but also to Surrealism). Five centuries later, the traditionally existing imagination full of dream worlds and ghost images is enriched with hybrid, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic motifs. In their idyllic landscapes, artists have wanted to portray both the spirituality and the primitive nature of Mexico: the promise of an existing or future Mexican paradise.
Guest curator: Sylvia Navarrete Bouzard, former director of the Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City.