Weavers from Oaxaca continue to reproduce ancient Zapotec symbols, often without an awareness of their socio-historical context. Similarly, they continue to weave with traditional colors, but use chemical dyes. In contrast, the Gutierrez family incorporates myths, meanings, and stories of their elders into their weavings. They strive to keep alive the almost forgotten art of natural dyeing with minerals, plants and insects. Porfirio Gutierrez has done extensive research on long established techniques to further appreciate both the significance of Zapotec symbols as well as the importance of plant materials used prior to the Spanish introduction of wool over five hundred years ago.
Palm leaves, agave fiber, and other plant materials have been neglected – but not by Porfirio. As a contemporary artist, he does not merely copy the work of previous generations— he builds on that work in a way that is true both to tradition and to his own interpretations. Stepping away from folk-art traditions into the fine art world has enabled Porfirio to delve into his rich cultural heritage, preserving the materials and the techniques of the past while expressing himself in a very personal way.
Using a common mat woven of palm leaves – a petate – as a point of reference, he will personalize his journey to preserve his proud Zapotec heritage along with his exploration to identify beyond the traditional.
Tickets available at the door. Free to TAC members, $10 for non-members, and $5 for members of FAMSF and students.
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