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Talk / Lecture

POSTPONED Vital Matters: Wixárika Ways of Knowing with Cyndy García-Weyandt

October 27, 2022 | 11:00AM - 12:00PM


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Join us as we continue to explore Jose Benítez Sanchez’s untitled nierikate (“yarn painting”), which depicts vibrant encounters and kinship ties between more-than-human beings and humans. Educator and poeta Cyndy García-Weyandt will share Wixárika ways of knowing and their manifestations in Benítez Sanchez’s art.

García-Weyandt will discuss how Wixárikas maintain reciprocal relationships, follow protocols of co-existence, and adhere to proper ways of interacting with more-than-human beings. In  considering how more-than-human communications, kinships, and rituals shape the lives of Wixárikas families, she will draw on Indigenous arts literature and conversations with Wixárika families in the city of Tepic, Mexico. García-Weyandt will examine the yarn painting in detail in order to unpack how Benítez Sanchez’s narratives and representations of more-than-human beings are shaping and influencing contemporary artists and Wixárika’s view of interspecies relations. 

This program is generously supported by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. 

Cyndy García-Weyandt is an assistant professor of critical ethnic studies at Kalamazoo College in Michigan. Her ancestral homeland is situated in San Juan Sayultepec Nochixtlán, Oaxaca, México. A poeta, immigrant, and first-generation college student and now professor, she has earned her bachelor’s degree in anthropology, and her master’s degree and PhD in culture and performance at UCLA. García-Weyandt has taught such courses as “Body, Land and Labor” and “Plant Communication Kinship,” as well as classes that have explored decolonial methods, art activism, race/ethnicity, language revitalization efforts, sources of knowledge, and social change. Her research areas include Indigenous knowledge systems, traditional agricultural practices, urban Indigenous peoples of Mexico, Indigenous art, and performances.

Vital Matters: Stories of Belief
Vital Matters programs explore objects that arouse devotion, awe, or serenity; mediate relationships between human and spiritual realms; and are of vital importance to the cultural heritage of individuals and communities. This series accompanies the new digital educational initiative Vital Matters: Stories of Belief—a platform for sharing different perspectives on devotional works at the Fowler Museum.

Image credit: José Benítez Sánchez, Untitled, 2005; acrylic yarn, beeswax, wood; Fowler Museum at UCLA; Gift of Ronald Lanyi


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