Sheldon Museum of Art


Date of this Version



Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, September 7 - December 9, 2007


All images are copyright by the original artists. Publication copyright 2007 The Regents of the University of Nebraska


The photographs in Seasonal Celebrations, Daily Life highlight the work by contemporary Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide. Early in Iturbide's artistic career she studied with Mexico's preeminent photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo. Several of his photographs selected from the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery's permanent collection are also on view.

The exhibition focuses on Iturbide's photographs of the people of Juchitan, a Zapotec community in Oaxaca. She created this portfolio over a six-year period beginning in 1979. Here she earned the trust of the people she photographed by living among them and participating in their daily life and festivities. Iturbide gravitated toward the women and children in this matriarchal society where women dominate as the healers, political leaders and breadwinners.

Born in 1942 into an upper-middle class family, Iturbide was reared and educated in a Catholic setting in Mexico City. At a time when cameras were not readily available, she was given one in her early teenage years but did not develop her artistic style until later. After she married and gave birth to three children, she entered the National University of Mexico's Film School, Centro de Estudios Cinematograficos. There she met Bravo, and ended her formal education to become his assistant. From Bravo she learned about Mexico's indigenous cultures and traditions. Describing her education, she said: "He opened the door a little so that I could get to know my country and begin to understand its distinct cultures." She left Bravo's tutelage after a year and a half to discover her own photographic language.