Saturday, February 18, 2023
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Registration recommended. Register here.
Join us for an afternoon panel conversation with Porfirio Gutierrez, a contemporary indigenous Oaxacan artist using traditional textile methods, who is featured in the exhibition Chromatopia: Stories of Color in Art. Hear from Gutierrez and cultural leaders Dr. Julia Kushigian, Professor of Hispanic Studies at Connecticut College, and Manuel Lizarralde, Professor of Botany at Connecticut College.
The use of natural materials for pigments, like the cochineal insect, in Oaxaca has cross cultural and interdisciplinary significance as it reflects native artmaking traditions, the complex history of colonialism in North America, 17th-21st century global trade, and a contemporary return to natural materials and traditional creative methods. The discussion will focus on aspects of Gutierrez’s process and knowledge that illustrate wider points about the intersection of indigenous peoples and colonial powers, balanced use of natural resources, and the continued threat to traditional lifeways and knowledge by market forces.
About the Speakers
Porfirio Gutierrez is a California-based Zapotec textile artist and natural dyer, born and raised in the richly historic Zapotec textile community of Teotitlán del Valle in Oaxaca, Mexico. He grew up immersed in color and surrounded by the wildness of Oaxaca’s mountains, and by the knowledge of plants for healing and for color. His life’s work has been revitalizing and preserving traditional Zapotec natural dye techniques with a focus on reinterpreting traditional textiles and materials to reflect his distinct creative vision. Gutierrez’s work has been featured in publications, museums and art galleries in the United States, Europe and Latin America. In 2016, Gutierrez was one of four artists selected by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian for the Artist Leadership Program. The program enables indigenous artists to research and document the knowledge and skills of their native culture, while also leading community-building projects that widen public knowledge and appreciation of indigenous art.
Julia Kushigian is the Hanna Hafkesbrink Professor of Hispanic Studies, Chair of the Hispanic Studies Department, Social Justice and Sustainability Pathway Coordinator at Connecticut College, and President of the Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern CT board. She encourages rigorous inquiry into Latin American literature, culture, and postmodern life. Through an analysis of social and environmental justice, she writes on Latin American reality from global and local perspectives. The designer of an online program at CC that instructs about Hispanic Art, she most recently developed and taught courses on Hip Hop/Comics/Graphic Narratives and Indigenous Resistance through Literature.
Manuel Lizarralde, a professor with a dual appointment in environmental studies and botany at Connecticut College, grapples with questions of people and the environment on a daily basis in his teaching and research. A native of Venezuela, Lizarralde has focused much of his work on the relation of indigenous Latin Americans to the environment, including the types of areas they inhabit and their use of plants. He studies ethnobotany (how people use plants) because the indigenous knowledge of local plants is very rich, and all of these cultures are rapidly changing and the information is being lost.