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Arquetopia Foundation and International Artist Residency (Mexico and Peru)

Published July 31, 2017

Arquetopia Foundation – Puebla, Mexico

Performativity of Mortuary Rituals 2017: Exploring the Idea of Death in Mexico

Special 2-in-1 International Program Includes Day of the Dead Arts Techniques Instruction and Self-Directed Art Production

Session Dates: October 9 to November 6, 2017

Deadline: Apply Now Through Sunday August 13, 2017. Spaces are limited. Our selection committee evaluates all applications when they are received vs. after the deadline has passed. E-mail Chris at

Why is the idea of Death representing Mexico globally? This program addresses the subject of Death as a national totem, by questioning its construction as a macabre source of identity, exploring its relevance in the invention of Mexican modern art and its secularization in popular culture. It explores the performativity of rituals in Mexico and focusing on the mortuary celebrations known as Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead).

PERFORMATIVITY OF MORTUARY RITUALS: Exploring the Idea of Death in Mexico is a 4-week critical program that offers competitive professional opportunities for international emerging and mid-career artists, curators, art historians, and students age 22 and over.

This unique program offers critical approaches to the representations of Death in Mexico as a source of national identity. Through the exploration of the myths of its origins, the program will present a complex perspective of the Day of the Dead celebrations. The goal is to provide tools to understand its performativity by approaching complex nuances, including sentimental representations, material culture, and the historical transition in the meanings of death. Through the program, participants will conceptualize their art by engaging their own art practice and medium in critical perspective while observing cultural practices, including mortuary rituals, food offerings, and familial solidarity. The program will also put into context the construction of popular imagery departing from the tension in baroque representations of death, modernization and the macabre, death in the invention of Modern Art in Mexico, and its political implications with visual culture. Participants will also have a chance to place their own art practice in context, having the opportunity to learn diverse art techniques directly related to the imagery and spatial construction of ofrendas (altars) which are central to the celebration of the Day of the Dead.


This program includes 27 hours of instruction in Day of the Dead ephemeral art techniques, including paper, installation, and the edible dimension of the altar; as well as an exploration of José Guadalupe Posada’s imagery and techniques. Participants will have the opportunity to join guided tours and visits to prominent museums in Puebla, altars, graveyards, and relevant sites. Activities are designed to promote intense creative work and artistic dialogue; therefore, artists are expected to allocate self-directed studio hours as part of their weekly schedule. Workshop instruction is in Spanish or English. Participants produce work in our partnered studio in one of Mexico’s most important art museums, in Puebla’s majestic central historic district.


Museo de Arte Ex Convento de Santa Mónica is one of Mexico’s most prominent religious and colonial art museums. Its collections were formed in the 1930s with artwork from the 16th through 17th centuries including some of the greatest artists of the New Spain such as Juan Correa, Miguel Cabrera, Miguel Jerónimo de Zendejas, and Lorenzo Zendejas, among others. The museum also records monastic life in different periods of history, from everyday life to religious rituals.


Our Artist-in-Residence Programs offer competitive professional opportunities for emerging and mid-career, national and international artists, designers, curators, art historians, art educators, journalists, writers, and cultural researchers age 22 and over. Our programs are based on a non-exploitative model promoting
social consciousness. Residents are strongly encouraged to explore various ways of cultural exchange as part of their artistic and/or research goals and to actively engage in critical discussions as part of their residency experience. Understanding Mexico’s context, and specifically Puebla and Oaxaca’s cultural complexity, is key for a successful cultural exchange. We welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds and disciplines who are interested in creating work or inspired by art, elements, techniques or processes specific to Mexico and/or unique to Puebla or Oaxaca.

Arquetopia is distinguished worldwide for its array of unique residency programs with substantial content. In contrast to various property rental schemes, tourist resorts, B&B’s, and sublets elsewhere, our residency spaces function exclusively for productive art professionals, writers, and researchers and include structured, informative programs; a network of collaborative workspaces, institutions, and studios; and individualized project support.


• Selection decisions are based on quality of applicant’s work and proposed
project. Candidates at all stages of their careers (emerging and established) must demonstrate a clear sense of potential.

• Our pool of applicants and residents is diverse in all aspects.

• Our residency programs are competitive opportunities for artists and researchers to pursue their own work, free of pressure (especially work that in
their particular circumstances would normally be difficult to produce).

• Selection priority is given to projects that explore a responsible connection
between the applicant’s artistic practice and the cultural context of Mexico, of Puebla, or of Oaxaca. The connection can be as broad as an artistic technique or as specific as a local theme.

• The creation of community with fellow residents and staff during the residency period is important.


Founded in 2009, Arquetopia is an internationally established, award-winning nonprofit arts and cultural foundation with a social scope that emphasizes critical thinking through artistic practices. Our Artist-in-Residence Programs are the largest and most reputable in Mexico and Latin America, with an array of contents anchored in a solid structure of collaborations with prominent cultural institutions, renowned experts, and notable artists.

We are invested in approaching art and art history with a critical perspective by understanding Mexico’s complexity in context and incorporating nuances in narratives and interpretation of Mexico’s 3,000-year heritage of visual culture. Since its founding, Arquetopia has raised the bar in the residency field, becoming a reference to every residency program in Mexico and influencing most of them in approaching artmaking with more rigorous practices, critical perspectives, and high standards.


A spectacular, four-story 1939 Mexican Colonial California-style compound conveniently located in Puebla’s central historic district and close to the Zócalo (city square) accommodates the offices, residency space for up to 12 artists-in-residence, and numerous production spaces of Arquetopia. Recently renovated and expanded, the residency offers a large, natural-light studio; a darkroom; a printmaking studio, a ceramics firing facility with a medium-sized gas kiln; a natural pigments laboratory; ten furnished bedrooms; a large dining room; an open-access kitchen; furnished outdoor terraces and viewing decks; a small botanical garden; a research library; and a rooftop lounge with panoramic views of the city.


Accessible via two international airports in Puebla (PBC) and Mexico City (MEX), Puebla is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that lies 136 km (84 mi) from Mexico City and has approximately 5,000 colonial buildings. With a population of 2.7 million, Puebla is famous for a deep cultural identity, delicious cuisine, Talavera ceramics, and traditions rooted in the 16th-century baroque and enriched by a blend of five pre-Hispanic/indigenous cultures, Arab, Jewish, French, and Spanish influences. Puebla lies 45 km (28 mi) east of the Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl volcanoes, giving the residents a magnificent view of their snow-topped peaks. At an elevation of 2,200 m (7,200 ft), Puebla features a temperate subtropical highland climate, resulting in an average of only three days per year seeing temperatures above 29°C (84°F).


Term of 4 weeks. Dates for this program are fixed, from Monday, October 9 to Monday, November 6, 2017 (Day of the Dead Festival Session).


Technique Instruction:

• 27 hours master instruction, spaced over the 4 weeks

Staff Support:

• Each resident meets weekly with our staff for individualized research assistance/resources, project guidance, reading curriculum, and critiques

• Our residencies are process-based; residents are not required to give talks/exhibitions/workshops

Accommodation and Meals:

• Furnished, private bedroom

• Meals and 24-hour access to the kitchen and dining room

• Wireless Internet

• Use of Arquetopia’s residency spaces including 4th-floor lounge and outdoor terraces

• Shared bathrooms with modern fixtures and showers

• Housekeeping

Studio Workspace:

• 24-hour access to large and bright, shared art studio with generous natural light

• Personal workspace with large table and wall space

• Some tools provided

• Equipped darkroom provided for photographers

• Materials and supplies for the instructional course provided

• Materials and supplies for additional project production not included but available for purchase locally


Apply Now Through Sunday August 13, 2017.


USD $665 per week (USD $2660 total for the 4 weeks). Deposit of 20% due within 1 week of selection notification. Balance due within 3 weeks of selection notification. Possible fee reduction for optional early payment (e-mail us to request this info).


E-mail Chris at

Visit the Arquetopia website at

Complete and submit the Arquetopia Artist-in-Residence Online Application Form, following the instructions on the web page.

Following selection, applicants are notified immediately via e-mail.

Arquetopia is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our diverse local and international community. Arquetopia’s resident artist and staff backgrounds vary in all aspects. As part of Arquetopia’s mission is to promote diversity, Arquetopia actively fights discrimination by offering access to its programs and activities without regard to race, color, gender or gender expression, national origin, age, religion, creed, or sexual orientation.

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