Lecture – Zapotec Culture

Pink Icon Man - Lecture Event Date(s): 03/08/2018     Time: 2:00 am - 3:00 am


Acclaimed weaver and Textile Artist Porfirio Gutierrez discusses Zapotec culture

Leading into our annual three-day Magic of Mexican Artistry event scheduled at the museum for March 9-11, Porfirio Gutierrez, a Zapotec weaver from Oaxaca, Mexico, will discuss Zapotec culture.

Zapotec Weaver Porfirio Gutierrez

Master weaver Porfirio Gutierrez of Oaxaca, Mexico weaves beautiful textiles using traditional methods.

Weaving Loom - Porfirio Guiterrez (traditional Zapoteca weaver) Zapotec Weaving Rug Design

Porfirio comes from a family of Zapotec weavers. He is a master weaver and has his work exhibited in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington.  He uses traditional techniques and materials, and uses only traditional dies which are made by his sister.

He is a proud descendant of many generations of Zapotec weavers from Teotitlán del Valle, in Oaxaca, Mexico. For over 2000 years, this town has cradled Zapotec arts and culture. It is known for its traditional Zapotec weavings made of hand spun yarns dyed with local plants and insects. Ancient woven symbols developed over centuries relate to Zapotec beliefs and history.

Gutiérrez was a child prodigy with exceptional talent in weaving, design and color. At 12 years old, he participated in art classes taught by local maestros who helped him develop and refine his artistic skills. As Gutiérrez grew as an artist, his appreciation for his Zapotec heritage deepened. Stories told by his elders about cultural myths, the Zapotec way of life in the past and present, and the value of nature, have all given him a more profound understanding of who he is, and have influenced his personal expression through art.

When Gutiérrez eventually settled in California, the artistic roots that were deep set in Oaxaca were expanded upon and integrated into influences from life in urban America. Gutiérrez’s transition from weaving the traditional designs of his ancestors to his work today is more of a melding than a departure. Old materials and cultural themes merged with broad stroked, liberated design. There is no mistaking where he has come from artistically, and yet there is a progressive reinvention of the original elements of his culture through the lens of modern America.

His work has now been shown in eight countries on four continents. While primarily an artist, Gutiérrez also lectures on Zapotec weaving and natural dyes at universities, arts foundations, and museums. The story of his art has been told in publications, and videos televised on PBS, Univision, as well as a documentary funded by the Smithsonian Institute’s NMAI. In 2015 Gutierrez was chosen by the Smithsonian Institute to be one of only four artists in the Western hemisphere to participate in their prestigious Artist In Leadership Program. He also contributed to the Forbes Pigment Collection at Harvard University. Gutiérrez continues to be an advocate, educator and ethnic ambassador for traditional Zapotec culture.

The lecture begins at 2:00. Bring your lawn chairs, as seating for this event fills up fast. While you are waiting for the lecture to begin, you can buy a delicious hot dog or tamale from Pat the Hot Dog Lady. Coffee and cookies will be available for purchase with all proceeds going to the museum for continuing education programs.

  • Don’t forget a hat and sunscreen.
  • Please, no smoking on the property.
  • Please put your cell phone on vibrate during the lecture or turn it off.

Buy a raffle ticket! As a Self-supporting organization that receives no federal, state, or local funding, we rely on revenues generated by our gift shops, events, and fundraisers. As one of our fundraisers, at each week’s lecture we raffle off an item from our gift shop, usually something that is related to the lecture topic for the day. Raffle tickets are priced at 1 for $1, or 6 for $5. Winning tickets are drawn from tickets sold that day. Winner must be present to win.

Don’t forget to buy some tickets for this season’s special fundraising raffle of a 1/4oz gold nugget. Tickets are on sale for $1.00 each, or six for $5.00. The drawing will be held on March 29th, at the conclusion of Dan Ware’s lecture. You need not be present to win.

Gold Nugget for the 2017-2018 season raffle next to a dime

Gold Nugget for the 2017-2018 season raffle next to a dime

We appreciate your support and participation in our raffle fundraisers.

Don’t miss this presentation!



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