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What it is and why Tzompantli?
The “Tzompantli” is the cultural and historical name of a skull rack that was an integral part of the ancient Mesoamerican cosmic and universal culture in Mexico; it is usually associated with the Aztec/Mexica’s in Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City). Moreover, this skull imagery is usually connected with the annual Mexican styled “el dia de Los Muertos” or “Day of the Dead”. This is a day of family and community celebration, based on the ancient tradition of ancestor worship. In Mexico, our ancestors do not die when they die, they die when those who remember them die.*
*Excerpt from a prologue written by Profe Denise Lugo, California State University, Channel Island, Art History Department for the initial Tzompantli exhibition of 2020.
How did the Tzompantli artistic introspection start?
It was an idea proposed by Claudia Montero to the 2019 Binational Journey Artists group back in October of 2020 that was motivated by the “Dia de Muertos / Day of the Dead” which is typically celebrated in México on November 1st and 2nd every year.
The concept is to invite artists world wide to make works of art using the figure of the skull as a starting point and do a personal introspection of the current year.
The artworks are displayed just like a Tzompantli as a wall or row of skulls resulting in a collective artistic retrospective of the current year.
Since its inception, a number of institutions on the private and public sectors have printed and exhibited the Tzompantli on site.
The goal is for this event to take place on a yearly basis with more participating artists and more places to exhibit the artworks and join this anual introspection.
Artists who participate every year will be consolidating their own Tzompantli strengthening their presence in both our website and social networks allowing for people interested on their artwork to contact them.
As the years go by these collective artworks will be grouped on a yearly almanac and distributed in print and digital formats.