Wixaritari (Huichol) artists from Huejuquilla, El Alto Jalisco, Mexico : creating art in a capitalist global art market
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Wixarika or Wixaritari (Huichol) live in the mountain ranges in the Mexican states of Jalisco, Nayarít, Durango, and Zacatecas; states that are part of the Sierra Madre Occidental (Negrin, 2003). Historically Wixaritari art is a symbolic expression of cultural and religious significance of everyday life that is recorded through beaded work, drawings on stone, embroidery, weaving, and yarn paintings on wood. This religious symbolic art is becoming less practiced among many artists of this tradition, which is due in part to Mexico’s political and capitalist economic encroachment, and the effects of global markets around the once secluded Sierra Madre Occidental. In addition, in the past forty years to the present date the infringement and expansion of electricity, roads and more recently the proposal of another dam, have implemented further development to “civilize” Huichol communities in the Sierra Madre Occidental and surrounding areas. This type of “progress” is and will forever change some of the most sacred sites of the Wixaritari landscape, and have a tremendous effect on not only artists, but also the community and future generations. In this thesis, I will examine the effects of how “progress” is shaping and reshaping traditional art as well as the Wixaritari community relations in Huejuquilla el Alto Jalisco, Mexico and the surrounding area.