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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkVallarta Living | Art Talk | January 2009 

Lena Bartula's Enigmas at Sol y Luna
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"Enigmas" by Lena Bartula opens for a two-week run at Sol y Luna Contemporary Art Gallery on Wednesday, January 28th at 6 pm.
The image of a Huipil (wee-peel) takes center stage in an upcoming exhibition at Sol y Luna Contemporary Gallery in Old Town Puerto Vallarta. Opening with a wine reception on January 28, the show has been named "Enigmas" by the talented artist, Lena Bartula.

Lena explains what hupils are to her: "Huipil is a Maya woman's traditional blouse; it is her identity, a marker of her village, her status, her background and beliefs. The weaving of this garment is both a sacred duty and a personal statement, woven with her own designs, colors and ideas, yet all within the context of her tradition."

Bartula is sure that never in this lifetime will she understand all the codes whispered within their threads. They are beautiful, mysterious and holy. It is said the goddesses reveal the weaving process in dreams. They are enigmatic in that the symbology originally woven into them, as related to religion, agriculture or astronomy, had to be hidden.

With the Spanish conquest, as with all conquests, a 'cover up' had to be devised so that the traditions would not get lost. This exhibition, "Enigmas," aims to shine a light on the significance of these magical garments, as well as the women who weave them.

The huipil shape is reverberated throughout the exhibition, with or without the ubiquitous details one would normally see on this clothing. Symbols for rain, serpent, corn, or cosmic signs such as sun, moon, eclipse, show up enigmatically; some paintings include not the shape itself, but rather a design or a detail that prompted me to examine another part of the history of these textiles.

The heart of the contemporary Maya still beats to the rhythm of the seasons, planting and harvesting of corn is still sacred, as one painting, "Secretos del Maiz" suggests. In "Sing With Praise" we see the toad and the saints, both instrumental in bringing the rain needed for the crops.

The neck opening of a huipil is thought to represent the center of the world into which the wearer places herself, as seen in "Axis Mundi." "Eclipse" tells of the goddesses who come in dreams, but who since the conquest are known as Santa Lucia, Maria Magdalena, or other saints.

As in a celestial eclipse, the light of these beings was simply covered over for a time. Other works, "Whitewash" and "Weft/Warped," also employ the power of words in the titles, to covertly discuss the politics of conquest. With the words Text and Textile entomologically linked, such wordplay seems perfectly appropriate for a text and image artist like herself.

The owner and director of Sol y Luna Contemporary Art Gallery and Art for the Uninhibited, Alejandro Baez, invites you to welcome Lena Bartula, one of his most talented artist and dearest friends, at a Cocktail Reception on Saturday January 24 at 7:30 pm on the rooftop of JapaNice Restaurant, Morelos 696 Col. Centro. It will feature new videos created by MEXIATTLE Productions. Please call 322-113-0475 to RSVP.

Lena Bartula will offer a talk about her newest artwork created for her One Woman Show, "Enigmas" on Monday, January 26 at 7:30 pm at Los Mangos Library, Av. Francisco Villa #1001.

Enigmas opens for a two-week run at Sol y Luna on Wednesday, January 28th from 6 to 10 pm with a wine reception and hors d'oeuvres from Caio Restaurant and artist Lena Bartula presenting 24 of her newest and most spectacular paintings.

Sol y Luna Contemporary Gallery is located at Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez 155-A, in downtown Puerto Vallarta. For more information please visit, call (322) 222-1302 or email solylunapv(at)

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the included information for research and educational purposes • m3 © 2009 BanderasNews ® all rights reserved • carpe aestus