Ballroom Marfa and Agave Festival Marfa presented Tlacuilcopa – a workshop and exploration of Nahuatl with artist and activist Fernando Palma Rodríguez at Ballroom Marfa.
Nahuatl is a widely-spoken indigenous language of Mexico and Central America that uses a writing system based on logograms – written characters and images that represent a word or phrase. While our familiar alphabetic writing employs a few dozen symbols, logographic writing make use of hundreds if not thousands of symbols.
Participants in the workshop learned about the structure and application of the Nahuatl writing system and then learned to create their own logograms. Rodríguez also shared his efforts to save this threatened language. Together with his family, the artist operates several NGOs that focus on teaching and preserving the language in Mexico.
Rodríguez’s artwork was on view in Ballroom’s galleries as part of the exhibition Candelilla, Coatlicue, and the Breathing Machine.
Fernando Palma Rodríguez
Fernando Palma Rodríguez (San Pedro Atocpan, Mexico, 1957) lives and works in the agricultural region of Milpa Alta outside Mexico City, where he runs Calpulli Tecalco AC, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Nahuatl language and agriculture. He was the subject of a retrospective at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (2017). His work has been exhibited at MoMA PS1, New York (2018), FRAC des Pays de la Loire, France (2016); Parallel Oaxaca, Mexico (2016); Nottingham Contemporary, England (2015); the Biennial of the Americas, Denver, Colorado (2015); Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City, Mexico (2014); and SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico (2014).