Pox, soul medicine

Photograph of Genaro Sántiz

April-may 2022

The Galería MUY is pleased to present a complex and fascinating exhibition by the artist Genaro Sántiz (Cruzton, Chamula; 1979) inspired by pox (also spelled posh). As is known, this locally made drink with ancient roots establishes, in itself, a sacred and healing space. (Poxil for example means medicine, even the one bought at the pharmacy.)

Genaro, with a long career in the art of photography, is also a musician, an English teacher (he spent seven years in the northern country as a migrant), an art promoter (formerly a member of MUY) and a promoter, with his wife Rie Watanabe) of culture in its new cultural center space in Las Piedracitas, San Cristóbal.

Sántiz identified pox as a subject of artistic exploration since 2005 when he published the book of this name (“Pox”) in collaboration with the Chiapas Photographic Project in the 1990s. With exquisite prints made in collaboration with Bats’i Lab now, taking up the theme 25 years later, Genaro revives the cultural-spiritual, almost magical, exploration of pox, and explores the ritualization of pox-making itself. But now his socio-artistic reflection branches off: he considers, warning of the danger of, alcoholism. It defines the territory of the pox as one of dispute, and claim of gender inequality. And it symbolizes, in the current commercialization of pox, both the increasing incursion of capitalism into native communities, and the vile appropriation of pox by globalized capitalism, especially in the new tourist economy of the Chiapas Highlands. (Pox is turning out to be the new craze after mezcal, even outside of Mexico!)

This exhibition includes music (reinforcing its sacred character) and performance in an installation, respecting the multimedia and multidimensional practice of the artist, who also always works in collaboration with his wife and family (of rich and diverse artistic talent).

We thank Genaro Sántiz for sharing in the MUY Gallery this lucid and poetic presentation of the contemporary Mayan culture of Chiapas.

Artworks

Distillery

Digital photography printed on cotton photo paper
13 x 16 inches
2022

Powered with firewood.

Cones

Digital photography printed on cotton photo paper
13 x 16 inches
2022

Adding colors to get good pox.

Appropriation

Digital photography printed on cotton photo paper
11 x 14 inches
2022

The urban contrasted with the Indigenous town.

The veins

Digital photography printed on cotton photo paper
13 x 16 inches
2022

Filtering the heart of the pox.

Xat Vo' (Spring water)

35mm film, printed on cotton photo paper 1997 / 2022
11 x 14 inches

The sacred origin (in spring water) for pox producers.

The factory

35mm film, printed on cotton photo paper
11 x 14 pulgadas
1997

The place that sustains the family in this village.

Girls and boys

35mm film, printed on cotton photo paper
11 x 14 pulgadas
1997

Small workers.

Kurus bis (Cross cup)

Digital photography printed on cotton photo paper
11 x 14 pulgadas
2022

“You never curse at pox.”

Brave women

Digital photography printed on cotton photo paper
11 x 14 pulgadas
2022

The pioneer women who broke stereotypes after 500 years. (February 2022, Carnival of San Juan Chamula)