Ascent of Weavers

Submitted by Rebeca Mendez

0

Client: Museum of Contemporary Art, Oaxaca

Location: Oaxaca, Mexico

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $50,000

Project Team

Artist / Cinematography / Editor

Rebeca Méndez

Rebeca Méndez Studio

Commissioner

Cecilia Mingüer

MACO Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Oaxaca

Cinematography

Gabriel Noguez

Ceremony

Video Editor

Addie Liang

Logan

Composer

Drew Schnurr

Drew Schnurr

Sound Designer

Dale Strumpel

Overview

Ascent of Weavers, is a 3-channel video that was commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Oaxaca, Mexico. The premise was to create a new work of art in collaboration with a local artisan. My collaborators were a family of Zapotec weavers and healers based in Mitla, Oaxaca (Lyobaá in Zapotec) meaning ‘Place of the Dead’, and is home to the most important Zapotec pre-hispanic archeological site. In Zapotec mythology there are various accounts of women weavers represented as warrior goddesses. Drawing from Zapotec indigenous knowledge and traditions of reciprocity I proposed a short film focusing on the healing of the earth. Dimensions variable, projected at architectural scale, color, sound. 31:19 minutes.

Goals

For a world facing social and environmental crises, Ascent of Weavers is a call for awakening and action for collective healing of the earth. Entities of white, red, blue, and black embody cycles of the sun, the heavens, and the underworld and directions of human life in pre-Hispanic Zapotec civilization. The entities undertake a journey into Mictlan—the underworld of the Mixtec mythology—and emerge as goddesses of weaving and warriors leading us to a more just, equitable, and sustainable relationship with our planet.

Process

Full description: For a world facing social and environmental crises, Ascent of Weavers is a call for awakening and action for collective healing of the earth. Entities of white, red, blue, and black embody cycles of the sun, the heavens, and the underworld and directions of human life in pre-Hispanic Zapotec civilization. The entities undertake a journey into Mictlan (Lyobaa in Zapotec)—the underworld of the Mixtec mythology—aided by Xolotl (a canine god), who leads them through the underworld’s nine levels. Here they are challenged by piercing winds and crushing mountains, finally crossing rivers of blood to emerge as goddesses of weaving (Tlazolteotl, or Nohuichana in Zapotec)—warriors leading us to a more just, equitable, and sustainable relationship with our planet.

Additional Information

Film by Rebeca Méndez with the Hernandez Quero family—weaving artisans and healers of Mitla, Oaxaca. Cinematographer: Gabriel Noguez. Sound by composer Drew Schnurr.