Visionary Models - Huichol Art - Marakame

Visionary models

Animal anatomy and contemporary wixarika art

Like all symbolic language, Wixárika art has always been free to express and condense its messages and ideas without attachment to the imitation of nature. Of course, this crosses and inhabits the entire visual plot that its authors execute in each piece. In wood carvings and supports made of different materials, a desire for realism is usually found in sculpture, but rarely is a case like the current one: that of scientific naturalism linked to the art and design of the Wixaritari peoples.

Collaborating with Huichol artists from the Tateikie community (San Andrés Coamiata, Jalisco), Arte Marakame has set out to produce this sculptural series from taxidermic molds recovered from a workshop dedicated to the craft of conservation and dissemination of animal biology.

Taxidermy is a very ancient practice that is mostly known for the embalming technique. Associated with hunting, this discipline was dedicated to the preservation of animal characteristics for the delight of those seeking to succeed as humans in a world of “inferior species”, less “evolved”. From this perspective, a stuffed animal is a trophy, a sign of superiority.

Everything changes when taxidermy is associated with the desire for knowledge and its dissemination, the desire to share, to create communities around the appreciation of nature and its beings. Unlike the straw-filled bodies of hunted animals that are used as trophies, this alternative uses fiberglass molds made from real bodies of animals that died due to some circumstance, without cruelty. The preservation of the animal is done based on its shape and its skin, and its destination is usually some public space such as museums or zoos.

In the series presented, Huichol art has taken the place of the skin on the entire surface, thus acquiring characteristics of travel and depth to objects that were intended to freeze a moment in the life of a being, preserving it so that it remains the same. from now on and forever. Each piece has an internal dynamic thanks to the narratives and symbols that the artists have printed with dedication and creativity.

This isn't the only painstaking work the series has required. The taxidermic molds preserve the general structure and musculature of each specimen but lack all those soft elements that complement the morphology (ears, noses and other cartilage elements). Each mold has been completed with a well-informed sculptural perspective on animal anatomy, to leave the pieces ready for intervention with millions of glass beads.

The result is that of a mystical naturalism that links science, sculpture and visionary art, with realistic dimensions and a lightness that the eye does not suspect, unlike the wood carvings well known throughout the world.

Come closer and learn more about the projects that Arte Marakame promotes in collaboration with Wixaritari communities, to innovate and promote Huichol art.

To see the pieces that are available from this series, we invite you to visit it at the following link: