Mata Ortiz Pottery Exhibit Opens at the Mexican Cultural Institute with Support from PCAHMata Ortiz Pottery Exhibit Opens at the Mexican Cultural Institute with Support from PCAH

Mata Ortiz potters are extraordinary artisans whose work reflects cultural influences drawn from a 1,000 years of traditions found in the Southwestern U.S. and Sonoran Mexico. The President's Committee is helping to support an exhibition of 43 works by several families and individuals who are master craftsmen of the Mata Ortiz style at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C , August 15 to October 17.

A small pueblo in Chihuahua, Mexico, Mata Ortiz is home to Juan Quesada, a self-taught potter who revived a centuries-old coiling method for his vessels, which incorporate contemporary interpretations of ancestral symbols and designs. His work eventually became prized by collectors and museums, and as interest in this work grew he taught many of his immediate and extended family members in Mata Ortiz the craft of making pots. Today, Mata Ortiz potters have each developed their own style and approach to their work, making their community a thriving marketplace and destination for collectors. Although a unique style of pottery, Quesada and the other Mata Ortiz artisans are part of a shared tradition of pottery connecting Native cultures and peoples across the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico.

The Mata Ortiz exhibit is one of many Mexican exhibits and performances that the President's Committee has helped bring to the United States. The exhibit reflects the cultural connections between the U.S. and Mexico, which has been a focus of the PCAH over the last several years. In 2003 and 2007, the PCAH convened representative from the U.S. cultural agencies—the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services—and their counterparts in Mexico, resulting in two landmark cultural accords. The Mata Ortiz exhibit and the partnership between the PCAH and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico to co-sponsor American performing artists and exhibits in Mexico are two examples of the many such cultural exchanges or projects that have grown out these accords.