Image: Installation view of the ¡Viva México! exhibition

Curated By

Khery Camara Thiam and Cynthia Saucedo Villalobos

Univision was the exclusive Hispanic media sponsor of ¡VIVA MÉXICO! The exhibition was funded in part by The City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and The County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program.

This exhibition celebrated the 200th anniversary of Mexican independence (1810), the 100th of the Mexican revolution (1910) and the folk art that colorfully and vitally expresses the nation’s spirit. Just as the heroes of independence and the revolution were great artisans in crafting the nation’s constitution, laws and institutions, so are its many artisans also cultural heroes, vibrantly perpetuating Mexico’s historical memory and its distinctive, exuberant and vital artistic tradition.

Featuring works drawn from Mexico’s federal patrimony and from Mingei International Museum’s collection, ¡VIVA MÉXICO! — Heroes and Artisans revealed the vibrant creativity, imagination and artistic sensibility of Mexico through its folk art and introduced us to key events and people that shaped Mexico’s history and culture. Included in the 105 objects on loan from Mexico was a set of glazed and painted plates created in 1985 for the 175thanniversary of independence and the 75th anniversary of the revolution that commemorate the national heroes of these historic events. Among other exceptional objects in the exhibition was a monumental (more than six feet tall) abundantly ornamented, painted clay tree of life.

The exhibition was accompanied by a documentary publication in both Spanish and English, also entitled ¡VIVA MÉXICO! — Heroes and Artisans. It was edited by Rob Sidner and designed by Shore Design, Brisbane, California. Photography was by Anthony Scoggins and Lynton Gardiner. The publication was made possible by grants from the Akaloa Resource Foundation / Margaret A. Cargill, the Mexican Consulate of San Diego and Wells Fargo.

A Tree of Life Workshop under the guidance of Jane La Fazio took place on Saturday May 1. A Mexican Fiesta was held on Thursday, September 16, the two-hundredth anniversary of Mexican Independence in conjunction with the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego, The San Diego Museum of Art, the Timken Museum of Art and The Prado Restaurant in Balboa Park. Mariachis, folkloric dancers, a parade of authentic costumes from throughout Mexico entertained. The Prado provided Mexican dishes inside the museums. MEXICO – Past, Present and Future was a daylong symposium presented in collaboration with the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego on Saturday, November 6. Noted scholars Enrique Florescano, Eric Van Young, David Pinera, Paul Vanderwood, Marco Antonio Samaniego and Alberto Blanco participated. Topics discussed included Mexican Independence and its Revolution, Mexican Identity, Local Movements and The Arts in the Twentieth Century. Participants in A FOLK ART STUDIO on Saturday, December 11 learned to make holiday objects including Trees of Life.