TEQUIO AQUÍ, TEQUIO ALLÁ
Curated by Christina Sanchez and Cayetano Juarez
Presented at the William Grant Still Art Center
October 5th-November 3rd 2013
Tequio Aquí, Tequio Allá brings together artists who are involved in sustaining or examining the Oaxacan practice of tequio in a post migration urban context. The exhibition examines how this internalized tradition of service manifests itself in the civic, familial, and cultural lives of Oaxacan migrants. A tequio is a call to a pueblo to perform communal work for a mutual benefit; it is essentially a mandatory community service project that asks residents to contribute their labor free of charge. When Oaxacans in Los Angeles speak about these exercises in mutual aide they often describe something that goes far beyond supporting infrastructure projects in their hometowns. Instead, they are describing a way of life which is dedicated to ensuring the survival of their traditions and spiritual customs. The artists represented in this exhibition have all participated in various manifestations of tequio in their respective communities.
Exhibition Artists: Daniel Godínez Nivón and the Asamblea de Migrantes Indígenas de la Ciudad de México (the Assembly of Indigenous Migrants of Mexico City) present their illustrative tequiografias which are modeled on the Mexican state-sanctioned educational monographs for school children. These tequiografias are a reclamation of these monographs and depict alternative educational lessons as explained by indígenas living in Mexico City. The Los Angeles based female painting collective Mujer de Barro, Mujeres de Hierro (Woman of Clay, Women of Iron) operates under the guidance of Oaxacan painters Calixto Shibaja and Maricruz Shibaja and uses painting as a vehicle for uplifting immigrant women and building strong female bonds. The women of Mujer de Barro, Mujeres de Hierro are: Alma Caudillo, Ana Santamaria, Daisy Ocampo, Magally Catalan, Marilu Hinojosa, and Maria Plata. Photographer Jeseca Dawson visits the painting collective in their studio and teams up with the painters to begin the documentation of their collective process. Christina Sanchez and Cayetano Juarez exhibit their video Tequio Aqui, Tequio Allá, featuring interviews with Los Angeles based Oaxacans from multiple Oaxacan municipalities to reflect on how tequio practices are sustained post migration. Oaxacan artists Noel Vargas Hernandez and Maricruz Shibaja contribute prints and paintings which pay homage to their Oaxacan roots.
Their concert at the William Grant Still Arts Center was sponsored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
Inaugural Event: The opening reception began with a procession led by Los Angeles based Banda Alma del Valle and the Oaxacan folkloric dance group Princesa Donaji. Aldo Cruz, artistic director of Princesa Donaji, choreographed the procession to guide residents through a neighboring street and alley way. The exhibition included a free one-day concert by the Son Jarocho group Conjunto Jardin, who appeared courtesy of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission's Free Concerts in Public Sites program. Conjunto Jardin performs traditional Son Jarocho music from Veracruz, which features Spanish, Indigenous, and African stylistic influences coming from the music's roots across eras in Veracruz. Their concert at the William Grant Still Arts Center was sponsored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
Thank you: The Tequio Aquí, Tequio Allá exhibition could not have been possible without the generous support and commitment of the staff of the William Grant Still Art Center. The William Grant Still Art Center is a facility of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Special thanks to Ami Motevalli, Aise Bourne, Ana Cornejo, Jose Cabrera, Shag Hunter, Keisa Davis, Maryam Hosseinzadeh, Bebe Johnson, and Bette Braxton.
Thank you also to Octavia Hernandez, el señor Rojelio Cruz, Maria Plata, and Aldo Cruz for your insights on tequio and for generously welcoming us into your homes. Jeseca Dawson, Addie Tinnell, and Silvia Mantilla Ortiz thank you as always for lending a hand with documentation and translation.