Mariano y Cilau Valadéz Navarro

Mariano y Cilau Valadéz Navarro, Sayulita Nayarit

Mariano Valadéz Navarro is a Huichol yarn painter. Born in 1953, in Rancho Limón located in the mountains of Santa Catarina, Jalisco he is the youngest in a family of 10 siblings. His father was a well-respected shaman. The Huicholes are known as Wixarika in their own language — Huichol is how the outside world knows them. They are one of the few tribes that were not conquered by the Spaniards.

Huichols may lack resources for their physical bodies, but in their spiritual hemispheres they are blessed. Life in their community gears towards their yearly harvests. There is a balance in everything. There are dry seasons, and rainy seasons; day and night; water and fire; male and female. A lot of what Huichol culture is about is acknowledging these balances through ceremonies in order for their crops to grow and our lives to prosper. 

Mariano's best childhood memories relate to gatherings around grandfather fire “Tatewari” while listening to the stories their wise elders told. This is how he discovered Huichols were once shape shifters, and that their elder brother deer "Kauyumari" sacrificed himself by letting Huichols hunt him for ceremony.

Being a yarn artist has presented Mariano with many opportunities. He has traveled around the world showcasing his art. He met the mother of his wonderful children through his work.The networking and income he generates allows him to give back to his community and he has been able to donate food, jackets, blankets, medical supplies and offer financial assistance to different Huichol groups.

Yarn painting is achieved by placing strands of yarn onto a thin surface of beeswax mixed with pine resin that has been spread onto a wooden board/shape. The figures and symbols are created first and then the background is filled in with a swirling mosaic design.

Mariano uses his fingernail or the tip of pointed scissors to push the yarn onto the surface. He is featured in the landmark book "Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art” (published in 2001 by Fomento Cultural Banamex). His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Man in San Diego, CA and is currently being shown at the Museum of Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Cilau Valadéz is the son of renowned Huichol artist Mariano Valadéz and anthropologist Susana Eger Valadéz. He grew up in Santiago Ixcuintla, Nayarit Mexico. Cilau’s parents were the founders of The Huichol Center. Throughout his childhood, Cilau was surrounded by Huichol master artists and their beautiful creations that were inspired by the tribe’s native myths and spirituality. Under the tutelage of his father Mariano, Cilau learned this intricate art form and the deep meanings of the symbols. He participated in many ceremonies and was mentored by an elder shaman where he gained firsthand knowledge of Huichol mysticism.

At the age of 14, Cilau took advantage of his dual citizenship and attended high school in the U.S. to become more fluent in English. He returned home to Mexico, inspired to make the commitment to become a full-time yarn painter. Since then he has taken this art form to a new level, incorporating his unique cultural identity into dramatic art that blends Huichol cultural traditions with the cosmic consciousness he has acquired on his own spiritual path to higher knowledge.

Cilau works in tandem with Mariano as a father-son yarn painting team, and both have been invited abroad on numerous occasions to represent the Huichol people and native Mexican culture. He created a piece that was entered into a National Folk Art contest in Mexico, which was then selected as one of the best 100 pieces from more than 10,000 submissions.



Facebook: mvhuicholyarnpainter

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Cilau: Facebook - cilau.valadez

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