In the southern part of the Western Sierra Madre highlands, there is a region known as the Grand Nayar. There, on both sides of the Chapalagana River Canyon, among deserts, mountains, and valleys that join the states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Durango, and Zacatecas, live the Huichol or Wixarika people, one of the most important indigenous groups in Mexico.
For the Wixaritari (plural of Wixarika), the sun, the sea, the rocks, the earth, the deer, the eagle, corn, peyote… are at the same time the origin of life and man’s companions.
Those of us familiar with their exquisite folk art creations know that theirs is an ancestral art. It is an art that narrates, sings, provokes… an art that makes one imagine dialogues, dances, confrontations, mysteries, since all their images and designs, no matter how simple they seem to be, have one common characteristic: they all tell stories.
Nothing is gratuitous in Huichol art. Every pattern, color, and stroke has a meaning. They’re enigmas that can only be deciphered by the observation, sensitivity, respect, and wisdom of these mystical people.
Their tsikuri or eyes of god, their yarn-decorated tablets, their gourds and masks covered with multicolored beads; their embroideries and arrows; their music and dances; their body paint, garments, hats, necklaces, and bracelets… all have a hidden phrase, a secret passage, a story to tell.