It is appropriate that the premier art show in Zihuatanejo, Women Artists of Zihuatanejo (Mujeres Artistas de Zihuatanejo) happened this year on February 29, also known as “Sadie Hawkins Day.” An Irish based tradition, Sadie Hawkins is the day when a woman can propose to a man.
Today in more modern times, however, the day represents among other things, a day of female empowerment. And since the translation of Zihuatanejo literally means “A Place Of Women” it is highly appropriate to do a show of this type and on a day that occurs only once every four years.
It all started when artists James Crespinel and Monica Gutiérrez decided they needed a creative space to work. It wasn’t too long though before other artists were invited to share the workspace and exhibit at what is now known as Mezgaleria.
Says the duo, “It became a place where artists who previously could only show in restaurants, retail stores, or in some cases, their own gallery, could now have a professional venue to showcase their works.” In speaking with them I could feel the passion they had about the gallery- a true labour of love as they give the community a creative space in which to show. Adds Crespinel, “The purpose was to bring women together as a collective group rather than with an individual show.”
I walked into the gallery on opening night to find the place buzzing with excitement. It was easy to tell there was a lot of love in the room that was contagious. It seemed to me that the elite of Zihua society was in attendance and as Gutiérrez remarked, women (and perhaps men too), were as concerned as much about the clothes they wore to the event as the show itself. Judging from the looks of so many beautiful people in one room, I can only agree.
But as to the show itself- thirty talented women from the region exhibited their works in a variety of styles and genres that ranged from sculpture to paintings, paper mâché, as well as textiles in the form of purses, jewelry and silk scarves. The artists were encouraged to show their best piece(s) and of course the intent was to sell their work. Of the artists, five of the thirty did just that.
Show organizer, Peg Harris, an artist and exhibiter herself, explained how women were chosen to show. “Some of the women were gathered by their involvement at previous shows, this one being the 4th after a one-year hiatus.” She also sent letters out to artists inviting them to exhibit, while Gutiérrez searched the area for artists by visiting them in their home studios and through word of mouth
“It’s a wonderful event and its all about bringing communities together,” Harris said. As far as how the show might evolve in the future, “There are a lot of directions that we could do in the future but right now we know its’s a show that people look forward to and we’d like it to continue.”
Interesting to me was that of 30 exhibiters, 17 were Mexican while the other 13 were either Americans or Canadians with one artist from Sweden. “And all of them have a strong connection to Zihuatanejo in one form or another, whether they live here full time or are people who spend a few months a year here,” said Gutierrez.
List of Artists:
: Agatha Fast Ana López Doddoli, Barbara Bridges, Carla Juarez, Carla López, Carmen Rivas, Ciria Velázquez, Edita Kon, Gabriela Trejo, Gloria Hernández, Grace Relfe, Gwyn Barre, Guadalupe Gaytan, Lauri Copeman, Lisa Bissonnette, Martina Croghan, Mishel Espinal, Mónica Gutiérrez, Monserrat Baños, Nina Turkin, Peg Harris, Perla Arana, Rubí Quintana, Sonya Yahyaoui, Suzanne Viechnicki, Tamara Zapata, Tina Andreasson, Viridiana De la O, Yoba Gould, Zahira de Anda
For those who missed the show, the gallery will be open 10-6 M-F, 10-3 Saturday for one more week.