Opening Night: Town of Clouds – La Cultura de los Huicholes

2 06 2010

A couple of months ago, I met Diego Huerta and Dany Gutierrez at the offices of Hahn, Texas – Yes, they were the ones that made me look cool on the HT website! I’ve been getting to more involved in Diego’s work and have been thoroughly impressed by his commitment to his art, style and how he represents people with his photography. Diego told me about Town of Clouds and the Huichol people of Central Mexico and how he wanted to share their story to the good people of Austin, Texas y’all! So we brainstormed and brought together the Hahn, Texas and Cultural Strategies team to help support the opening and exhibit. Interested? Want to learn more? Read the Q&A with Diego Huerta and RSVP for Opening Night!

Q&A with Diego Huerta, Photographer

Can you tell me about the exhibit?
The exhibit is integrated by 43 photographs.
All of the photographs were taken in the town of San Andrés Cohamiata, Jalisco, México in May 2009.

The exhibit will be first opened in Austin, Texas during the month of June through the month of August. The photographs will be on sale and a 50% percentage of the funds will be dedicated to the community of the town of San Andrés in order to give them chaquira,wood and other materials for their crafts.

What about the people- why did you decide to do this project with them?

A year ago, when I lived in La Huasteca, Nuevo Leon, I noticed that the ritual site that had belonged so many years to the Huicholes had been closed down. Although it is not written on paper, the Huicholes have visited this ritual site for thousands of years considering it the center of the universe. Neighbors close to this site decided to shut it down and haven’t allowed them to celebrate their rituals anymore.

I looked to photograph them so modern society can recognize that there are ancient cultures with and customs and traditions and that such traditions should be acknowledged and respected.

Dany Gutierrez & Diego Huerta at the Huichol village

Tell me about the experience – What did you go through to get the project done?

First of all, we needed to plan the route to take. After a 2 day 16-hour drive, we got to the town. We also needed to give something in return, so days before we left to San Andrés, we asked for donations of food and clothes from family and friends. Being at San Andrés we had to approach the Governor to ask for permission to actually give our donations to the Huicholes. The Governor had to consult with the Elder Council. After a three-day period of waiting, we received approval to take move forward with the project. Along with the permission, we were invited to the annual ceremony that is held when the Governor steps down and gives the position to his successor.

The experience was incredible- we learned that you can never take what you have for granted. We also learned that life is easy and living it is just a day-to-day routine.

How can people learn more about the exhibit?

To learn more about the exhibit, visit Diego’s blog: www.diegohuerta.blogspot.com. We have videos, slidecasts and photos. You can join us on our Facebook event or RSVP at http://diegohuerta.eventbrite.com.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Come to the opening night on Saturday June 19 at the MACC. You will enjoy food, drinks and culture. You will also have an opportunity to help the people in San Andrés by buying the photographs. We hope to see you there!

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