Written by: Miguel Angel Sosme
Mexico is a country diverse in its culture, languages, customs, traditions, landscapes, ecosystems and natural environments. It is the country of Frida Kahlo and Diego Riverathe cradle of millennia-old civilizations with strong cultural development such as Maya, Aztec, Zapotec, Mixtec and Totonaque. The nation of Day of the DeadMexico is a country of pyramids and stone palaces, jungles, exotic white sand beaches and the turquoise waters of Cancun. Mexico is a nation as complex as the Mexicans.
However, foreigners often have a diffuse view of the country and its people. To begin with, we must emphasize that Mexico is not South America, as Americans sometimes assume. On the contrary, Mexico is a country located in North America, south of the United States. It is the largest economy in Latin America, the third largest in the Americas and the 13th largest in the world.
It is also the fifth country with the highest biodiversity, the seventh with the most sites recognized as world heritage sites, the number 7 in tourism and the birthplace of 3 of the most important filmmakers of the last decade: Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón.
It is a sovereign nation in which various ethnic groups coexist, including 68 indigenous groups are distinguished by their own cultures, languages and ways of life. Indigenous peoples constitute a significant "minority" of nearly 15 million people (the same number as the combined populations of Norway and Switzerland).
In this country of 220 million inhabitants, the predominant population is of mestizo origin, the result of the racial and cultural mixing of indigenous and European peoples throughout the colonization and migration processes that began in the sixteenth century. Currently, the mestizos, but especially the whites, have a strong influence on the economic and socio-cultural life of the country.
In this sense, one of the most crude and complex realities of Mexico is precisely the social inequality based on ethnicity and skin color, a structural and historical problem, the result of Spanish colonization and the exploitation of white elites over the majority of the population. Mexico gained political independence from Spain in 1821, but colonial practices persist to this day and are expressed in the monopolization of wealth and power in the hands of a small elite and the exclusion and marginalization of indigenous peoples. The denial of their presence and the unequal distribution of State benefits.
Despite the historical denial of indigenous peoples, the country is experiencing a cultural blossoming that celebrates cultural richness and strives to revitalize the traditions and artistic expressions of indigenous communities. The creators themselves have turned to their past to document, rescue and disseminate the cultural heritage of their ancestors, and many cultural and commercial projects have flourished under the slogan of nurturing pride in what is handmade by Aboriginal artisans.
This "revival"This is largely due to the market and the appreciation of the authenticity of tourism. Many foreigners visit Mexico attracted by its diversity, colors, gastronomy, festive atmosphere and exotic beaches. However, they are also attracted by its wide cultural offer in which creative and artisanal productions abound.
In this sense, artisanal production has become one of the most successful industries in Mexico's creative economy. It maintains a clear indigenous influence that manifests itself in its color, exuberance and technical complexity. This overflowing explosion of textures and chromatic festivities tends to dazzle and confuse travelers, but it is a clear expression of the relationship that creators establish with the environment. In other words, Mexican art is colorful because Mexico's natural environment is.
Similarly, among the creative indigenous production, mention should be made of textiles, a cultural and economic production in which authentic systems of communication are represented, through which the origin, gender, class, marital status and, above all, the world view of indigenous peoples are expressed. Indeed, textiles express stories associated with the creation of the universe, territory, cultures and life itself. Various garments such as rebozos, huipiles and overcoats or ponchos have been important references in the construction of Mexican culture and are today a reason to claim an identity.
In this way, handicraft production is a window on the "deepest Mexico", on the poorest and most excluded Mexico, which today is reborn and flourishes thanks to the determination of indigenous groups and the power of their creativity.