Partners: Lancashire County Museum Service, British Museum, Chloe Sayer, Tiburcio Soteno and family.

During 2006-2007 we developed and delivered Viva Mexico, an inspiring project bringing internationally renowned Mexican ceramicist Tiburcio Soteno and his son Israel to live and work in-residence at Green Close for seven weeks.

Tiburcio worked with local artists, communities and schoolchildren, bringing a unique opportunity to learn about Mexican art and culture into the heart our rural community.

El Canto de Lancaster – The Song of Lancaster by Tiburcio Soteno, 2007

The residency commissioned Tiburcio to create a new arbol de la vida (tree of life) for the collection held by Lancaster City Museum. His piece, El Canto de Lancaster is currently on display in the upstairs gallery and was inspired by his time spent in the area and the conversations and creativity he experienced with others.

For many people this was the first time they had ever come across information about the Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ festival or seen high quality arts and crafts from Mexico. For Tiburcio, it was the first time he had worked within a rural context or alongside artists, rather than with museum and gallery curators. A lifetime of friendship and mutual creative respect has resulted from this project with two more residencies later emerging in both Mexico and the UK.

During the project we worked with expert curator and collector Chloe Sayer who facilitated Tiburcio’s visit, and brought her unique collection of Mexican arts and crafts to exhibitions held at Lancashire County Museum sites at Gawthorpe Hall, Lancaster City Museum and Rossendale Museum. Chloe also gave a number of talks about her collection and accompanied the artists to London where they undertook further workshops at the British Museum. This ensured that the Soteno’s work was seen within the wider context of other contemporary artists working in Mexico from a craft tradition.

Watch the documentary film ‘El Canto’ to learn more about the project here: