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Son del Pueblo – Of the People

Project by Maria Thereza Alves in support of the protests against the closure of the Valle de Xico Community Museum in Mexico. Call for participation
Jun 2020

The Valle de Xico Community Museum in the State of Mexico is committed to reclaiming pre-colonization indigenous artifacts and promoting cultural activities. It was founded in 1996 and is supported by the local indigenous community.

Genaro Amaro Altamirano in the Museo Comunitario in Xico
© Photo: Museo Comunitario del Valle de Xico
Artifacts from the Valle de Xico Community Museum
Artifacts from the Valle de Xico Community Museum
© Photo: Museo Comunitario del Valle de Xico
Artifacts from the Valle de Xico Community Museum
© Photo: Museo Comunitario del Valle de Xico
Artifacts from the Valle de Xico Community Museum
© Photo: Museo Comunitario del Valle de Xico
Tlaloc, deity of rain
© Photo: Museo Comunitario del Valle de Xico
Three zoomorphic figures and one anthropomorphic, pre-classical period
© Photo: Museo Comunitario del Valle de Xico
Clay mask and figure, formative or pre-classical period
© Photo: Museo Comunitario del Valle de Xico
Pre-Classic miniature brazier
© Photo: Museo Comunitario del Valle de Xico
Articulated figurine, Teotihuacan Classic; Hueheteotl or old god of fire, Coyotlatelco era
© Photo: Museo Comunitario del Valle de Xico
Artifacts and fragments, Valle de Xico Community Museum
© Photo: Museo Comunitario del Valle de Xico
Aztec era: anthropomorphic sculptures, red stone
© Photo: Museo Comunitario del Valle de Xico
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Throughout the years there has been constant harassment by the local government of the museum, and threats against its members for preserving indigenous culture.

On February 11th, 2019, just a year after the museum had reopened in its official space, after long due renovation works, the municipal government shut down the museum. In the official letter sent by the municipality no reason was given for the closure of the museum. The museum members and the board of directors have no access to the collection, or their documentation section. The community no longer has access to their art. The museum is under federal jurisdiction and thus the community considers this closure by a municipal authority to be an illegal act.

It is 2020 and the museum remains closed.

Closure of the museum in 2019

Valle de Xico Community Museum and Maria Thereza Alves have collaborated since 2009 on several projects including The Return of a Lake for dOCUMENTA (13). The museum has asked for dissemination and supportive actions for their situation.

Alves with members of the Community Museum in 2009

Son del Pueblo is a project in response to this request.

Invited contributors are requested to make a ceramic work based on the Community Museum’s collection. Images of the work will be posted on the museum’s Instagram and Facebook, as well as the Website of Maria Thereza Alves. The image should include the contributor and the work in the context of the studio or home of the person who has made the work. The name of the person (can be first name only) and city of residence will also be included.

Send the photos to: studio(at)mariatherezaalves.org

The ceramic work does not need to be glazed or fired in a kiln.

Members of the Community Museum during the re-opening in 2018

Museo Comunitario del Valle de Xico

The Valle de Xico Community Museum is an initiative of the local community as an active defence of their indigenous culture. It is responsible for saving almost five thousand pre-invasion artifacts from oblivion or destruction as there is no other institution in the municipality interested in protecting this cultural heritage.

The artifacts are donated to the museum by members of the local community who find them in the surrounding area. Genaro Amaro Altamirano is one of the founders and chronicler of the region.

Since the presentation of Alves‘s The Return of a Lake in dOCUMENTA 13, the museum‘s program has expanded and an artists’s collective, Xicoarte, has been founded.

During the re-opening of the museum after renovation in 2018

Activities with school children organized by the museum

© Text and Project: Maria Thereza Alves
All photos: Courtesy of Valle de Xico Community Museum
Cover photo: Protest by the community against the Museum's closure

Son del Pueblo - Of the People

More information about the project:
Website of Maria Thereza Alves


Museo Comunitario del Valle de Xico
Av. Adolfo López Mateos s/n
esq. Avenida Tezozomoc
Col. Cerro del Marqués
Xico, Valle de Chalco
México, CP 56614

Contact:
Email | Facebook | Instagram

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Indigenous group of Mexico makes an ecocide known in Europe. Genaro Amaro Altamirano, and Documenta 13 artist Maria Thereza Alves' book presentation.
dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, Germany, 2012 . Artistic director: Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev

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