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Cantón exhibit picks the flowers of Mexican culture

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The Palacio Cantón’s next exhibit is all about flowers, from pre-Hispanic to contemporary times. Photo: Palacio Cantón

Mérida, Yucatán — Flowers have been a part of human life since ancient times, and countless cultures have attributed different meanings to them.

Flowers have served as a marker of social status, have been used as ornamental objects, and have played in important role in medicine.  Flowers are also the center of the new exhibition of the Palace Museum Cantón: The Flower in the Mexican Culture.


Starting with an opening reception Friday evening, 230 items will be on view, including pre-Hispanic works, paintings, lithographs, textiles and contemporary pop art, all demonstrating how Mexico has perceived and represented flowers.

This original exhibit is not typical for the Cantón, which focuses mainly on archaeological interests.

“With this exhibition, we want to create more open spaces so that attendees can enjoy these works in any way that suits them,” said Giovana Jaspersen García, director of the Palacio Cantón Museum. “We intend to reach audiences where we did not reach before.”

Exhibit curator Sofía Martínez del Campo Lanz, who has worked with the museum only once before, explained the show’s five thematic axes.

The flower: metaphor of the precious will be headed by a flowery jaguar from the collection of the Canton Palace, from which begins a tour of pre-Hispanic Mexico.

The flower: description of the unknown will address the botanical interest that the New Spain raised, once the first conquerors and explorers brought European species, such as the dahlia, to Mexico.

The symbolic redefinition of flowers through pictorial and sculptural work will guide the third module, The flower, allegory of the divine, where attendees will be able to appreciate oils such as  “La Virgen de Izamal.”

The fourth theme consists of The flower: symbol of the beautiful, which will analyze the influence of romanticism and modernism, which linked the flower with the female figure and eroticism.

The final module, The flower: synthesis of the diverse, will be dedicated to contemporary folk art, as well as the importance of flowers in traditions such as the day of the dead or in the traditional dress of numerous communities.

The exhibit will remain in place until Sunday, Nov. 19.

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