In 2010 Mexico celebrates a double anniversary: the bicentenary of its independence and the centenary of its revolution. The occasion is being marked by festivities in Mexico and around the world, all year long. Belgium will play a prominent role in the celebrations. The bicentenary commemorates 200 years of Mexican independence or – to be more precise – the beginning of the country’s struggle for independence. It was on 16 September 1810 that the “¡Grito de Dolores!” rang out, the call to fight the Spanish invader issued by Miguel Hidalgo, also renowned for his summons, “¡Mexicanos, Viva México!” About 100 years later the Mexican Revolution was initiated by those who resisted the rule of President Porfirio Díaz. In Mexico the Centenario celebrates the beginning of the Mexican Revolution, one of the first great social uprising of the 20th century. In the context of this double commemoration, Mexico has also organised festivities outside its own frontiers.
The ¡México! festival that will take place at the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in 2010 will be the largest Mexican cultural event outside the country itself. Behind the clichés of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, the Virgin of Guadalupe, and revolutionaries in sombreros, you can discover, over three whole months, a rich and complex nation that is constantly inventing and deconstructing its own “Mexicanness”.
The five exhibitions at the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts this spring will offer a fine overview of Mexican culture, past and present. The keynote exhibition Imágenes del mexicano (11 February > 25 April) sketches, in 150 portraits, “the Mexican”, as seen by both Mexican and foreign artists, including Hermenegildo Bustos, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Frida Kahlo y su Mundo (16 January > 18 April) offers an opportunity to explore the world of Mexico’s most famous painter in an exhibition that presents the entire Kahlo collection of the Dolores Olmedo Museum (19 paintings, an etching, and 6 drawings), as well as photographs of the artist’s family, friends, and surroundings. Photography and architecture are also represented, in Mundos mexicanos: 25 Contemporary Photographers (11 February > 11 April) and Mexican Modernisms (11 February > 11 April). In The Mole’s Horizon (11 February > 25 April) visitors to the Centre can also discover the work of contemporary artists such as Daniel Guzmán, Jorge Satorre, Ilán Lieberman, Teresa Margolles, Yoshua Okón and Sergio de la Torre. Throughout the festival (11 February > 25 April), moreover, Alejibres, fantastic papier mâché creatures from the Museo de Arte Popular de México, will be on display in the Horta Hall.
In addition to these five exhibitions, the performing arts will also be at the heart of the Mexico festival. There will also be literary encounters with Jorge Volpi (1 April) and Paco Ignacio Taibo II, two worthy successors of Carlos Fuentes. Cinema also features in the festival, with a panorama of the new Mexican cinema (at the CINEMATEK) and a day devoted to the new Mexican documentary, in the presence of the directors (25 April). Onstage, audiences can also see two works directed by Claudio Valdés Kuri, who made a great impression at the KunstenFestivaldesArts and at the Wiener Festwochen, El Automóvil Gris (17 April) and El Gallo (20 April). And on the evening of 19 March local audiences can discover the leading lights of the booming and extraordinarily dynamic Mexican contemporary dance scene. On 21 March, moreover, Party Time at the Centre will have a decidedly Mexican flavour.
For further information, dates and tickets visit www.bozar.be
Frida Kahlo y su Mundo continues until 18 April.
Frida Kahlo painting the portrait of her father, 1951
Photograph : Gisèle Freund © Archivo del Museo Frida Kahlo. Banco de México Fideicomiso Museos Diego Rivera-Anahuacalli y Frida Kahlo.