Tzompantli – Artistic Introspection

Tzompantli 2023, Inauguration Thursday November 9 at the Mexican Consulate of México in Austin TX at 6PM CST

5202 E Ben White Blvd suite 150 Austin TX

Haz clic aquí para versión en Español

How did the Tzompantli artistic introspection start?

This annual exhibition originated from an idea proposed by Claudia Montero during a conversation in 2020 among some of the artists who had participated in the first Bi-National Artistic Conference 2019, convened and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Institute of Mexicans Abroad in Mexico City.

The proposal was to continue and strengthen the connection between the participating artists and to invite more Mexican and foreign artists to create works using the image of a skull as a starting point, and to reflect on the year based on that image.

The works are exhibited in a pre-Hispanic Tzompantli manner (a row or wall of skulls), resulting in a collective artistic reflection of the current year.

Since then, more and more artists have joined (by 2022, we already had over 270 participating artists), along with various governmental and private institutions that promote, support, and exhibit this annual exhibition.

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.

Tzompantli at Templo Mayor, México city. ( image by Juan Carlos Fonseca)

Future ideas

The intention is for this exhibition to continue taking place annually, and for more artists and exhibition venues to join each time.

Also, for the artists participating each year to gradually add a reflection in the form of a skull, thus creating their own Tzompantli, and being able to recognize their personal history through their annual reflections.

To promote the work of the participating artists through social media and a website, where individuals interested in their work can contact them directly, as we publish their information alongside their artworks.

To maintain an annual calendar-like record of the communal artistic reflection year after year, so that in a few years, all this material can become a printed and digital compilation.


Visit the previous Artistic Reflections Tzompantlis:

2021 Tzompantli Exhibition at the Mexican Consulate in Austin TX.