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Resilient objects department

Original project by Daniel Garza Usabiaga y Aurora Noreña

The Resilient Objects Department is a nomadic device that seeks to insert itself into community museums to return looted archeological pieces to their original owners.

The first restitution achieved by this initiative took place (January-July 2022) in the Museo Regional de Huajuapan, a community museum of the Oaxacan Mixteca, with a display focused on the study of a ceramic vessel from Leonardo Patterson's problematic collection, which is originally from this cultural area.

The aim is not to provide a replica to replace the stolen object, but rather to articulate a plastic assembly that indicates the absence of the piece, fostering, at the same time, its imaginative understanding. In this way, an attempt is made to introduce and to make visible the issue of illegal trafficking of cultural property in the museum space as a fundamental part of the history of archeology and anthropology in Mexico.


“We have been fortunate to collaborate with different agents, artists and local public. Noreña presents several lenticular photographs of the Oaxacan Mixtec landscape in order to offer an immersive experience in the geography that gave rise to this object. Also, on display is a simplified 1:1 reproduction of the vessel owned by Patterson, obtained through 3D printing. Noreña has also given a workshop in which attendees have produced their own versions of the ceramic piece, from the narration about it without having seen the original vessel. In addition, artists Neftalí Peralta Rojas, Rigoberto Martínez Sandoval and Javier Hernández Rojas, have collectively produced a painting that addresses the ornamentation of the vessel and offers different interpretations of its problematic history. The project is accompanied by two texts written in ceremonial Mixtec by Dr. Ubaldo López García that, more than a technical interpretation, offer an evocative and poetic reading of the absent object.” 


Daniel Garza Usabiaga y Aurora Noreña

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