Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Cemetario, Juchitan, Oaxaca

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Cemetario, Juchitan, Oaxaca

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Graciela Iturbide


Cemetario, Juchitan, Oaxaca

Creation Date


Medium & Support

gelatin silver print on paper


17 1/2 x 13 in. (44.45 x 33.02 cm)

Credit Line

Archival Collection of Marion Boulton Stroud and Acadia Summer Arts Program, Mt. Desert Island, Maine. Gift from the Marion Boulton "Kippy" Stroud Foundation

Accession Number



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The photograph brings together two of Iturbide’s favorite subjects, birds and death, to evoke the fleeting passage of life. She created it in 1988 in Juchitán, located in southern Mexico along the Isthmus of Tehauntepec, where she had been working since 1979, befriending many of the women, whom she described as “big, strong, politicized, emancipated wonderful women. I discovered this world of women and I made it my business to spend time with them and they gave me access to their daily world and to their traditions.” The rural region is famed for its syncretic fusion of Pre-Columbian Zapotec traditions and myths with Christian rituals and beliefs imposed during colonization. Hovering between imagination and keen observation, Iturbide credits her ability to elevate depictions of daily life to the trust she builds with her subjects: “I want to be clear that I do not work in the indigenous world if there is not complicity and respect. I don’t like it when they refer to my work as magical—it makes me furious.”

Sarah Montross
Curator, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts

Portfolios: FEAT|Contemporary Art