This figure was carved and polished from unidentified green-brown stone, possibly jadeite. Mezcala figures such as this were usually recycled from earlier stone hand axes. This work perhaps retains some of the axe features such as the deep vertical cut through the legs and narrow “feet” at the bottom, which appear similar to a dulled blade. Meanwhile, the handle has been shaped into an abstracted human head and face. The rounded face, eyebrow ridge, indentation for eyes, and open mouth all display Mezcala traits, while the ears first emerge around the period associated with this particular variant of the style and usually feature in all future adaptations of Mezcala figures.
Due to looting and a lack of archaeological excavation and analysis, a great deal remains unknown about Mezcala-Chontal traditions originating in what is now the Mexican state of Guerrero. However, interest in such extraordinary abstract forms has been generated over the past century, helping scholars piece together more knowledge about these remarkable traditions and their context within the broader Mesoamerican world.
[Claiborne Gallery, Santa Fe, NM];
The Jan T. and Marica Vilcek Collection, 2006-2010;
Gift to The Vilcek Foundation, 2010;
Nari Ward receives the Vilcek Prize in Fine Arts for a body of found-object assemblage artwork that invites both a public discourse and an intimate dialogue with viewers on topics such as race, poverty, immigration, and the Caribbean diaspora identity.
Iman Issa receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Fine Arts for exploring, through works of various media, difficult philosophical questions, such as the individual’s relationship to places, figures, and events that are collectively familiar, or the difference between experience and recognition.
Meleko Mokgosi receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Fine Arts for paintings that rely on intensive research, reflection, and conversation in order to address widespread misrepresentation of Africa and Africans, and to accurately portray the continent’s complex social and political realities.
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