Nican Mopoua (Aquí se narra)

Video, papel picado, series of serigraphs and room device

Leon, Mexico 2021-22


The place where León (Guanajuato, Mexico) was settled was traveled through, but not properly inhabited, by the Chichimecas. And precisely a Chichimeca Indian, Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, was the one who gave rise to the tradition of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico, a mestizo virgin whose face was printed on his ayate. I wanted to start from this first printer, Juan Diego, to accompany the process of making a papel picado, the edition of a series of serigraphs and a film.

Just as he prints on a supposedly white agricultural canvas (the ayate), the city of León has also been built on a supposedly uninhabited land. Each of the elements that make up each layer of the city are added as a layer of paint, which paints but at the same time erases what was previously there with its superimposition.

The final result of this process has been the elaboration of a papel picado based on the current image of the parish of El Sagrario, one of the founding buildings of the colonial city. The papel picado has been made on amate paper, an artisan-manufactured vegetable paper that has been used in Mesoamerica since pre-Hispanic times. To arrive at the contour with which this papel picado is made, I have started from a silkscreen made by layers. Each of them corresponds to a story and/or construction that configures the current appearance of the place. These intermediate serigraphs have been made on revolution paper.
The video shows the process of construction, or rather, of deconstruction, because it starts from the chopped paper to go, little by little, lifting all those layers of screen printing that correspond to the different additions and constructions that the parish has suffered throughout of the centuries. In the stories that make up this story, different voices intertwine with each other. In the same way as the story of Nican Mopohua (which can be translated as "Here it is narrated"), they go from oral tradition to the story with a Nahuatl sound, to finally be written with Latin characters. Thus, the construction of the audiovisual story has been carried out thanks to the conversations held with different interlocutors in León: the Municipal Archive of León Guanajuato, through Rodolfo Herrera, Luis Alegre, official chronicler of the city, Octavio Arreola, architect in charge of the remodeling of sensitive parts of the city and Chango Pons, filmmaker and owner of the screen printing company with whom I worked and produced a part of the screen printing, among others. Some voices, stories, that also overwrite my own voice.

This project was carried out thanks to a residence in León, Guanajuato (Mexico) in CHARCO with the collaboration of the REGA 21 RESIDENCE PROGRAM and at the invitation of Susana González