In the heart of México City, in a space where the dimensions of a small apartment determined the size of their initial works, a story of art and collaboration was born. Melva Medina and Abel Vázquez, two creative minds who crossed paths in school, reunited a decade later to breathe life into what would later become Nahualli Gallery, a project that has transcended borders and found its home in the beautiful city of Mérida.
The beginnings were modest but promising. From the iconic Jardín del Arte, a gem in the world of outdoor galleries and the largest of its kind globally, Melva and Abel began exhibiting their works and, over time, built an eclectic client portfolio, opening the doors of their apartment to all kinds of people, from visionary entrepreneurs to passionate artists. Personalized interaction with customers became a priority, marking the beginning of a long relationship with art and its admirers.
In 1993, a chance encounter was a turning point for Melva. A member of the Asemex Banpais Financial Group, involved in Mexican banking, expressed genuine interest in purchasing Melva’s works in bulk. This encounter paved the way for her to leave her mark on the interior design of bank branches in various cities across the country, and the couple managed to acquire an apartment with an exquisite façade, the home of their dreams.
La Casa de los Artistas (The House of Artists)
In this very apartment’s basement, they began to hold two yearly artistic events where the works of Melva and Abel were showcased. As time passed, the community began to refer to their home as “La Casa de los Artistas” (The House of Artists in Spanish) a nickname they decided to embrace and preserve in recognition of its profound meaning.
The growth and evolution of The House of Artists faced its share of challenges. The violence plaguing México City compelled Melva and Abel, along with their daughters, to seek a new home in Mérida in 2004. In their luggage, they carried their passion for art, culture, and the excitement of conquering new horizons.
Even though their initial audience was primarily composed of foreigners, the local community gradually integrated into the artistic scene that the gallery fostered. Shortly after settling in Mérida, they sealed the fate of their creative home with the official name, Nahualli Gallery.
Nahualli Gallery: A new beginning
The name Nahualli is inspired by the Náhuatl language and culture, as well as the “Nahuales,” mythical beings from central México related to shamanism. Nahuales embody the duality of the human being and their spirit animal, and are cleverly depicted in the gallery’s logo, evoking the imagery of a macaw and a Maya figure adorned with a headdress in a skillful artistic fusion.
Currently, the gallery not only provides a space for renowned artists but also supports young, talented individuals from the local community, fostering a diversity of artistic expressions. Under the direction and curation of Melva Medina, a passionate figure and a feminist, each exhibited work undergoes rigorous auditions, ensuring high standards of quality and honoring an unwavering commitment to their clients and the artistic community as a whole.
Melva Medina, on her part, uses her art to empower women and celebrate the essence of pre-Hispanic cultures, especially their reverent relationship with Mother Earth. Her upcoming exhibition, “Toda Luna,” composed of 15 pieces and a main work in recovered marble, will pay homage to the lunar symbol of the goddess Ixchel, a manifestation of the interconnection between nature and the divine. This exhibition will be open to the public starting November 25, during the Noche Blanca.
Social commitment and creative resilience
In the social realm, Nahualli Gallery has been actively involved, donating artworks for charity auctions and opening its doors to fundraising events, sometimes even hosting them. This commitment extends beyond the gallery walls, becoming a supportive voice for various causes.
Moreover, in response to the pandemic, Nahualli Gallery has taken the initiative to explore new forms of digital interaction. A 15-day creative marathon celebrating drawing and creativity marked a milestone in their crisis response. This initiative not only amplified its presence globally but also engaged a worldwide audience, highlighting the gallery’s resilience and adaptability during challenging times.
In a promising future, Nahualli Gallery plans replicate the success of the Film Festival they organized earlier in the year, an experience that attracted approximately 300 short films from local, national, and international talent.
In line with its philosophy of inclusion and diversity, Nahualli Gallery will continue to be a beacon for art, promoting creativity and commitment to the artistic community, solidifying its place in the history of contemporary art in the state. Feel free to explore this incredible gallery, learn more about the stunning works housed here, and follow their social media to stay informed about their upcoming events.
Calle 60 #405 x 43 y 45, Centro
Tel. 999 928 6566
FB: Galería Nahualli
Mon. – Fri., 10 am – 6 pm.
Saturday, 10 am – 2 pm
By Sara Alba
Panamanian with a Mexican accent since 2005. Editorial Assistant, a walking jukebox, and always lurking on social media, in the constant search of hidden gems to visit and share.
Photography by Nahualli Gallery, and Sara Alba for its use in Yucatán Today.
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