You might have seen my post fn Elena Shumilova’s photographs from earlier this morning, but I would like to shift from the natural to the artificial – though no less pleasing to the eye. What you are seeing in this post are examples of indigenous art created by the Huichol people of Mexico. These Huichol yarn paintings are variations on the traditional nierikas, small tablets or discs which were made by shamans to document their experiences communing with the gods and other spirits during rituals and ceremonies, and then being left for those same spirits in holy places.
Upon looking at these images for longer than 5 seconds I experience a phenomenon similar to the old Magic Eye books – and, more meaningfully, it feels like a connecting with their creators – as new details reveal themselves, as the movement and harmony of the piece resolves itself. While I cannot fathom or interpret everything taking place in these canvases, I certainly get an idea of what the revelation must have felt like for the creators of these intricate works. This being the case I am sure they are described as “visionary art” a sub-category-to-a-sub-category to say the least (but one that I admittedly LOVE) whenever they are shown within the art world, but I enjoy seeing them as vibrant pictures of a culture that is still surviving in our hemisphere in the technologically-obsessed 21st century.
Perhaps the most impressive thing to me is how simple the process seems in its essence – melted wax or resin are put on a baseboard and then yarn stuck to it – yet how intricate and alive the artists are able to make such a mundane medium as yarn. Way to go, indigenous people with no capitalist strivings in your art-making!