On View Starting October 30, 2020
Hecho en México highlights the work of Mexican folk artists featured throughout Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG). These artists create handmade works that reflect the stories, people, and traditions of their particular region, and their artistic skills are passed down through generations, often within families. From ceramics to papier-mâché to paintings, these works are infused with talent and beauty. By sharing this art, PMG highlights folk art’s importance in Mexican communities and elevates its significance within the greater art world.
Hecho en México features ceramic work by the Aguilar Family and the García Family, paintings by the Lorenzo Family, papier-mâché pieces by Joel García, and ceramic pieces and paintings by Luis Valencia.
Isaiah Zagar, the creator of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG) and his wife Julia first connected with folk artists in the 1960s when they worked in Peru as Peace Corps volunteers. Many of the folk art pieces in this exhibition and throughout the permanent installation at PMG are special collaborative commissions between Isaiah and the artists. These partnerships sometimes continue for years and result in hundreds of unique pieces that Isaiah installs in his work.
PMG staff began taking trips to Mexico in 2016 to carry on the Zagars’ legacy of working with Mexican folk artists. This has allowed us to more accurately share their stories and traditions with the public and recognize them for their artwork. Many of the objects displayed in this exhibition are recent purchases. Other new works have been added throughout the sculpture garden as old ones deteriorate or break.
Museums, art scholars, and curators often label folk, self-taught, and women or non-white populations as “craft” or “outsider” artists instead of “high” or “fine” art. PMG rejects these labels and respects artistic talent in all of its variations and sources. The folk artists featured in this exhibition have spent their entire lives mastering their materials, enriching traditional techniques, and perfecting the business savvy needed to sell their work.
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens’ mission is to champion art that has typically been dismissed in mainstream culture and highlight the remarkable contributions these artists bring to our communities. Our site features thousands of permanently installed folk artworks from Mexico and we celebrate these artists every day.