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Toys, Masks and Stories: A vision of a Mexican artist
August 23, 2015, 11:56 am

'Toys, Masks and Stories: a vision of a Mexican artist' is an exhibition by Polina Porras Sivolobova presented by H.E. the Mexican Ambassador Miguel Angel Isidro on behalf of the Mexican Embassy to Kuwait and the Mexican Government, congratulating the Amir of Kuwait H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the Kuwaiti leadership, upon 40 years of successful bilateral relations between Kuwait and Mexico.

The exhibition takes the audience back to the age of the Aztec empire. The Aztec Universe – a world that is defined by duality and where everything comes in pairs, is shaped by a variety of gods and goddesses, reigning all aspects of life and death.

In order to introduce this universe as a vital part of ancient Mexican mysticism with importance until today, the exhibition displays two artistic interpretations – titled 'The Alebrijes in Search of the Sun' and 'Journey to Mictlan' – of these ancient myths.

The first work – 'The Alebrijes in Search of the Sun' – in the form of a puppet play, deals with the sky and the Aztec concept of creation. A group of Alebrijes, which are traditional wooden Mexican toys and fantasy creatures, embark on a journey to search for the sun after its disappearance from the sky. Being inspired by the ancient Aztec creation-myth of the fifth sun, this play, commissioned by the Department of Cultural Affairs of New York City and performed at the Queens Museum in 2009, displays cosmic and supernatural events.

Polina's second work Journey to Mictlan introduces the audience to the ancient Aztec myth of Mictlan, the underworld or the place of the dead. It is a 2006-created artistic book as a hand-made limited edition of ten pieces, when a group of children engage in a conversation about a possible journey to this mysterious place.

The book itself  is an example of multi-level engagement. The cover  can be used  as a puppet theatre and its story elements, which are included as mini-puppets, give depth and a feeling of multi-dimension to this ancient myth.

Celebrated once a year, the 'Day of the Dead' stands testimony that these old Aztec traditions are enwove into today's Mexican culture, where death is considered a vital part of living.

In subsequent years, Polina created two other artworks inspired by the books Journey to Mictlan and Back – commissioned by El Museo del Barrio, and Journey to Mictlan: The  Eight Levels – commissioned by the Smithsonian Institute.

In this exhibition, Polina presents the original book, as well as an accompanying video used in the performance "Journey to Mictlan and Back" with  original music by musician Javier Meza.

The exhibition will carry on until 26 August at Bayt Lothan. Pass by anytime during working hours: 9 am- 1 pm and 5 pm - 9 pm.

Sign up for a unique opportunity to learn from Mexico's very own Polina Porras.
Workshop is for ages 13+
Check Instagram @baytlothan for more details.

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