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“Noreña explored with scale and built metal frames covered with fabric made from different colored plastic cords. These frames and fabrics are what give shape to this soft and taut sculptures. As is known, plastic cords are used in different traditional crafts and local designs, as the emblematic and well-known Acapulco Chair. The artist seems to place the appropriation of this type of national designs on a global scale in line with the issue of cultural and patrimonial pillage present in the Patterson case. Furthermore, the intention behind the recreation of these pre-Hispanic pieces through sculpture, is not to produce exact (scientific) replicas but to operate in a symbolic way. Their presence fills the gap for effective repatriation while giving visibility to the broad phenomenon of trafficking in pre-Hispanic objects outside the country”.

Garza Usabiaga, Daniel. Aurora Noreña: El que nace tepalcate

Expanded territory

In collaboration with recognized agents of the current Mixtec culture, I prepared a certificate (such as those requested by UNESCO) to claim the restitution of a looted post-classical Mixtec tripod.

The certificate was written in Mixtec and not in any of the languages ​​admitted in these processes in order to make visible the contradiction between international good intentions to solve the trafficking problem and the reality. Rich countries and their cultural and tourism industries continue profiting meanwhile the world’s heritage distribution is less equitable every day.


The explorations around this vessel and the possibilities of thinking about disclosure and restitution from art, have led me to carry out another series of actions and artistic products, among which I can mention: Oaxaca's history books hollowed out according to the shape of the emptiness of the vessel, 3D reproductions and gold leaf shells, anaglyphic photographs of landscapes from Mixteca Alta visible with lenses within the shape of the ceremonial glyphs decorating the mentioned ceramic piece, and its fictional registration card in the Mexican Monuments Registry of Archaeological and Historical Zones, and many others.

Noreña, Aurora. Tepalcates. The pertinence of the past. El Rizo Robado, 2021

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