In 1970, Juan Negrín, a young philosopher and artist, visited an exhibition of works by Wixaritari artists outside the Basilica of Zapopan. In a few years, Negrín, together with his wife Yvonne, had forged strong bonds of friendship and collaboration with five Wixaritari artists and their families, traveling with them throughout the Wixárika territory. During the 1970s and 1980s, he sponsored the creation of a collection of wool worsted pictures of diverse sizes that would distinguish José Benítez Sánchez, Tiburcio Carrillo Sandoval, Guadalupe González Ríos, Juan Ríos Martínez, and Pablo Taizán de la Cruz as the masters of modern Wixárika art.
Since 1989, when this artwork was last exhibited in Mexico, there has been a heightened interest in Wixárika art, cosmovision, and culture. Nowadays, crafts made with beads are an internationally recognized hallmark of the Wixárika people. However, as interest in Wixárika culture and art grows, these native people face unprecedented threats to their ancestral and sacred territories, located in different states of the country.
The exhibition highlights how the different artists featured here participated in an intercultural dialogue that calls for different perspectives on the spiritual, linguistic, and territorial complex of the Wixárika people. For these great masters and for Juan Negrín, this collection conveys the conviction that visual art, traditional music, and Wixárika orality can transmit the importance of preserving their territories, their language, and their ancient culture.
Diana Negrín – Curator