The woman in Yucatán’s history arrives at Palacio Cantón in the exhibition “Ko’olel, transforming the way”

*** A journey from the first known woman, to the new
female identities.
*** With a total of 174 pieces, including pre-Hispanic, artistic, documentary,
photographs and private collections, the story is told from another
*** A reflection on the women of the peninsula and how they transformed
the road for human rights.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History recognizes museums as spaces of memory, but also as active sites that build imaginations and are capable to reconfigure traditions and reduce gaps.

Where is the woman in the story? Where are her voices narrating it? and What were their names and contributions? The answer emerges in the Regional Museum of Anthropology at palacio Cantón, in Mérida, Yucatán, “Ko’olel, transforming the way.” An exhibition on women through the look of women; from the first known, to the new feminine identities.

Thus, Ko’olel, a Maya word meaning “woman,” takes on more meaning, reflecting on events, movements, influences and presences, which in the past had not been narrated. The story takes a different voice to make visible and honor the life and history of women, and thus activate reflections on their roles, gender identities, and violence in their lives.

“Ko’olel, transforming the way” gives face, names and surnames to the protagonists who have transformed and built the history of Yucatán along three discursive lines: periods of time and objects; the testimonies that show the thought of each era; and the life of almost 90 women who have transformed history and continue doing so. There are four themes:

“Maya Women in Front” recalls the dual basis of Maya pre-Hispanic societies and the determining role of women from the myth of creation. This is the basis for the rebellions and resistances of women in historical movements such as the Caste War, but also the sustenance of the Maya sense of community up until today.

“The power of ideas” exposes the post-conquest transformations, and even the nineteenth century, when peninsular women managed to have access to liberal ideas and education, and organize a movement to claim their rights in opposition to traditional society.

In “Liberty and rights”, it is discussed how Yucatán becomes the cradle of feminism in México and Latin America with the First Feminist Congress in 1916, the first political participation of women in the country, and an international reference in the theme.

Finally, “Transforming and building” brings the contemporary world closer, alluding to the pioneers in various fields who continue in the daily struggle to overcome obstacles, such as gender violence and the recognition of new female identities.

The exhibition is made up of pre-Hispanic collections in various materials, such as lithic, ceramics and green stone; manuscript documents, old and contemporary photographs, paintings, sculptures, historical objects, installations and documentary videos.

The collections come from: Palacio Cantón Museum; Project Z.A. of Chichén Itzá; Project Z.A. from Ek ‘Balam; INAH Campeche Center; Archaeological Museum of Hecelchakán; Museum of Fort San Miguel; Fondo Reserved CEPHCIS-UNAM; Pedro Guerra photo library of the Faculty of Anthropology of UADY; General Archive of the State of Yucatán (AGEY): Colonial Fund and Rita Cetina Fund; Historical Archives of the Archdiocese of Yucatán (AHAY); Yucatán Library: Crescencio Carrillo and Ancona Library and Reserved Fund; as well as from private collectors and contemporary photographers.

In support of the curatorship, due to their long careers in this topic, the investigators were integrated: Georgina Rosado Rosado, Miriam Judith Gallegos, Dulce María Sauri Riancho, and Ana Patricia Martínez Huchim; coordinated by Ana Méndez Petterson and Giovana Jaspersen from Palacio Cantón, curator and director of the venue, respectively.

The Government of the State of Yucatán joined the project through the General Secretariat of the Government and the City of Mérida, reflecting the genuine interest in generating cross-cutting gender visions that encompass all levels of government to achieve a just and equitable society. As well, the National Institute of Indigenous Languages ​​(INALI) presented the script in the Maya language and created listening stations, showing the progress in the process of the institutionalization of the Maya language in public instances.

Thus, the show is a place of collaboration, to write history in the present and future; showing museums as spaces of legitimization, and ways to reduce violence and show diversity as a source of wealth in the contemporary world.

The exhibition was inaugurated on March 8, 2018 at 6 pm, in the framework of the commemoration of International Women’s Day.

Museo Regional de Antropología “Palacio Cantón”
Paseo de Montejo No. 485 x 43, Centro, Mérida
Tel. (999) 923 0557
e-mail: [email protected] @palaciocanton

Editorial by Museo Regional de Antropología “Palacio Cantón”

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