San Cristobal de las Casas is considered the cultural and artistic center of Chiapas. As one of Mexico’s poorest, most indigenous and most revolutionary regions, Chiapas has a long tradition of pushing the boundaries of politics and aesthetics. Here are nine galleries in San Cristobal that should be on your list for the next time you’re in town.
Arteria is dedicated to emerging and established artists that are asking critical questions about not only their work, but the context – cultural, social, political – within which they are creating it. They favor young, Mexican artists but also hold space for international artists of all stripes. Their exhibits are multimedia merging photography, sound, sculpture, painting, video and installation art.
The LeK Museum and art gallery is a contemporary art museum with both permanent and temporary collections and a rooftop restaurant space to enjoy a drink or snack after you browse. They feature artists such as Beatriz Gaminde, Carmen Parra, Gerardo Cantú, Guillermo Ceniceros, Hermenegildo Martínez, José Luis Cuevas, Juan Manuel de la Rosa, Luis Filcer, María Esquerra, Martha Chapa, Oliver Esquivel, Raúl Anguiano, and Sebastián. Many of the pieces on display are for sale.
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The word muy in the Maya language, tsotsil, is the root of the word pleasure and this gallery’s mission to provide a platform for local artists working in Maya and zoque art forms and languages. This makes their exhibitions and programs very specific to their region of Chiapas and they offer their multimedia exhibits to rural indigenous communities in the form of roving art expositions. They also have an artists’ residency program.
The Enzue gallery is the studio and exhibition space of Enzué Durán, who works with various mediums including painting, sketching, clay and wood carving. The studio also displays the work of invited artists and is a space open to students who want to learn the techniques that Durán uses in her work.
Studio Cerrillo opened to the residents of San Cristobal back in 2002, way before there was the amount of galleries that the town now houses. They have hosted artists from around the world in over 75 different shows and are currently working with a concept called “shrink the gallery” in which every subsequent show at the studio reduces its pyshical size by 10cm, making artists’ display of their work in an ever shrinking space even more creative and challenging.
Mudra is a collective art space shared by several local and emerging artists where they display their work and offer classes, workshops and talks to the larger public. There’s a small store where you can buy pieces by the collective’s artists and the occasional theater production.
This gallery is dedicated to design and its mission to put designers and their public in direct contact with one another. Artisanal, textile, jewelry, environmental, graphic, industrial and interior design are all on display in the gallery’s space and they also offer a full menu of design services to the general public.
A new gallery just opened in 2016, the Beau Dégat was founded as space to encourage and promote art in San Cristobal. They are open to all types of art and artists with previous shows highlighting the work of Jordi Boldó, Marie Sol Payro, Gitte Daehlin, and Nacho Chincoya. They host both permanent and temporary exhibitions that change approximaitely every 2 months.