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Mexican Photography Expo at Waikato University

Media Release

Date: 26 March 2004

Mexican Photography Exhibition At Waikato University

Photographs from this exhibition transport the viewer to Mexico. For example, we see a photograph of two beautiful young women, the ‘Dolly Sisters’, lighting up a dingy dressing room with their vivacious dance and flashing smiles. In another image we see a solemn and statuesque woman from the Juchitán region, ‘Our Lady of the Iguanas,’ wearing her extraordinary lizard headress. Then there’s a ‘futuristic’ rocket ship, like a prop from an early sci-fi movie. These are just some of the wonderful images from the next exhibition at the WEL Energy Trust Academy of Performing Arts: Three moments in Mexican photography.

The exhibition contains 45 silver gelatin prints by three photographers - a representative selection of twentieth century photography from one of the most diverse and extraordinary countries in Latin America. Curated by Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, one of Mexico’s leading contemporary photographers, this exhibition is the first to tour New Zealand and provides local audiences with a unique opportunity to become acquainted with the work of three generations of Mexican photographers.

The photojournalist Nacho López (1923-88) shows us facinating glimpses of life in the vibrant Mexico City of the 1950s – both the bright lights and the dark shadows of this teeming metropolis. On the other hand Graciela Iturbide (1942-), active in the 1970s and 1980s, explores an indigenous community in southern Mexico, the world of the Juchitán with their colourful festivals and striking costumes. Lastly, the exhibition brings this survey up to recent times with the work of talented young photographer Egmont Contreras (1975-).

Jorge Alvarez, the Mexican ambassador to New Zealand, comments that these humorous images of Contreras “transport us to outer space and then drop us back into the kitchen.” The ambassador, well known for his interest in New Zealand culture, is about to return home after a high profile term promoting cultural exchanges between this country and his native land. Mr Alvarez says: “As we continue to strengthen our political, trade and academic relations with the approach of the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic links between our two countries, this art exhibition will give visitors a window on the enormous transformations that have taken place in Mexico in the last five decades and will, I hope, arouse their curiosity to come to know and enjoy Mexico’s rich and fascinating culture.”

Three moments in Mexican photography is an exhibition toured by the Embassy of Mexico and the New Zealand Centre for Photography and will be on display at the Calder & Lawson Gallery, WEL Energy Trust Academy of Performing Arts, Waikato University from April 5 – May 16, 2004. A programme of special events has been organised in association with the exhibition on Tuesday 6 April. Details of these events, hosted by the university’s department of European languages and literatures, can be found below.

A day in Mexico

Special events in association with the exhibition
Three moments in Mexican photography
Academy of Performing Arts
Tues April 6

A wide angle attempt to see the whole picture
An illustrated presentation on Mexican photography
Jorge Alvarez
The Ambassador of Mexico
Dance Studio at 12.30

Three views of Mexico past and present
A floor talk in the exhibition
Xavier Meade
Media Arts, WINTEC
Calder & Lawson Gallery at 3pm

Two video documentaries about Mexico and Latin America:
El Alma de Mexico: Diálogos con el Mundo (Spanish)
(The soul of Mexico: Conversations with the world)
Buried mirror: Unfinished business (English)
(Reflections on Spain and the New World
written and presented by Carlos Fuentes)

Lecture theatre SG.01 at 7.30pm
Join us from 7pm for Mexican refreshments
and a pre-movie talk by Dr Jay Corwin

This free programme is presented in association with:
The Embassy of Mexico
The New Zealand Centre for Photography
The Department of European Languages and Literatures, University of Waikato


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