Nuestras Historias: Arte Popular/Folk Art

By National Museum of Mexican Art

A common Mexican trait on either side of the U.S.–Mexico border is the passionate interest in Mexicanidad (Mexicanness) and what comprises Mexican identity. Perhaps this obsession to understand the concept of Mexicanidad comes from nearly five centuries of mestizaje – the interracial and cultural mixing that first occurred in Mesoamerica among Native Indigenous groups, European Spanish and enslaved Africans during the 1520s. By the 18th century, Mexican identity had developed. Mestizaje was the process that constructed it. The museum’s permanent collection showcases the dynamic and distinct Mexican stories in North America, and sheds light on why Mexican identity cannot be regarded as singular; its vast diversity defies any notion of one linear history. - Nuestras Historias destaca la colección permanente del museo, la cual expone las historias dinámicas y diversas de la identidad mexicana en Norteamérica. La exhibición muestra la identidad cultural como algo que evoluciona continuamente a través del tiempo, de regiones y de comunidades,  en vez de señalarla como una entidad estática e inmutable, exhibiendo para esto, artefactos mesoamericanos y coloniales, arte moderno mexicano, arte popular, y arte contemporáneo de los dos lados de la frontera EE.UU-México.  La gran diversidad de identidades mexicanas mostradas en estas obras desafía la noción de una sola historia lineal e identidad única. 

The New Awakening (2003) by Santos Motoaopohua de la Torre de SantiagoNational Museum of Mexican Art

The museum’s arte popular (folk art) collection contains over 1,700 objects from numerous regions throughout Mexico. Popular folk art has played multiple roles within Mexico’s history and culture. The oldest of these objects represent a life founded in the agrarian corn harvest, a deep-seated faith in the spiritual world, and the cyclical celebrations and rituals observed across the country.

The New Awakening_A, Santos Motoaopohua de la Torre de Santiago, 2003, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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The New Awakening_B, Santos Motoaopohua de la Torre de Santiago, 2003, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Untitled (Tehuanas in Tehuantepec Market), Bob (born Robert) Natkin, 1948, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Sin título (toy horse), Anonymous, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Sin título (Untitled), Anonymous, 1967, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Mascara de cinturo para la Danza de Santiago by AnonymousNational Museum of Mexican Art

Mascara del Senor de los Naranjos, Anonymous, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Night of the Dead with Arch and Angels (Noche de muertos con arco y ángeles), Antonio Felipe Calendaria, 2002, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Día de Muertos en Xalitla (Day of the Dead in Xalitla), Gerardo Mendoza P., 1997, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Self-portrait with Family (Autorretrato con familia), Josefina Aguilar (Alcantara), 1997, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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The Catrina, Mario Lopez Torres, 1989, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Mascara con figuras pre-Cuauhtemoc, Alfonso M. Castillo Orta, 1992, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Additional view of Mascara with figures pre-Cuauhtemoc, Alfonso M. Castillo Orta, 1992, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Mask with pre-Cuauhtémoc Figures - Máscara con figuras pre-Cuauhtémoc (Side View), Alfonso M. Castillo Orta, 1992, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Old Men and Jaguar Dance (Danza de los Viejitos y del Tigre), Lucas Lorenzo, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Untitled, central skeleton and snake (Sin título), Anonymous, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Credits: Story

NMMA remains true to our founding mission: To showcase the beauty and richness of Mexican culture by sponsoring events and presenting exhibitions that exemplify the majestic variety of visual and performing arts in the Mexican culture; to develop, conserve and preserve a significant permanent collection of Mexican art; to encourage the professional development of Mexican artists; and, to offer arts-education programs.

Exhibition Curator:
Cesáreo Moreno - Visual Arts Director / Chief Curator

Exhibition Information Coordinator:
Zarai Zaragoza - Visual Arts Intern, Summer 2017

Project Team:
Raquel Aguiñaga-Martinez - Visual Arts Associate Director / Registrar
Barbara Engelskirchen - Chief Development Officer
Rebecca D. Meyers - Permanent Collection Curator
Dolores Mercado - Associate Curator

Photo Credits:
Kathleen Culbert-Aguilar - Photographer
Michael Tropea - Photographer
Rocio Caballero
Lee Fatheree
Galeria de Arte Mexicano
NMMA staff
Michael Tropea
Shuzo Uemoto
Tom Van Eynde

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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