News - Totem Latamat

A new indigenous artwork, Totem Latamat, will travel 9,000km from Mexico to UK for COP26...

Press Release

Carved by Totonac artist Jun Tiburcio, Totem Latamat will travel 9,000km from Mexico, stopping at iconic locations across the UK, before arriving at the Indigenous Elders' COP26 camp around the Sacred Fire in Glasgow’s Hidden Gardens. 

As part of Border Crossings’ ORIGINS Festival, Totem Latamat is a message from the Totanac people to our communities and world leaders conveying how deeply interwoven our existence is with nature and the need for immediate action to disrupt the damage done by climate change.

Though colonisation has historically and deliberately obscured Indigenous voices, COP26 will highlight the crucial role of Indigenous people and local communities in mitigating and adapting to the climate emergency. Cut from a single cedar tree and standing at 4.5m tall, Totem Latamat demands that neither it nor its message be ignored. It will travel to important cultural hubs across the UK including London, Coventry, Milton Keynes and Manchester drawing powerful links between Indigenous experience and local heritage. Following COP26, it will be ceremonially returned to the Earth in Dumfries, emphasizing the cyclical and transient nature of life and art.

Jun Tiburcio commented, "For the Totonac people, birds are our messengers. In the totem, they tell us that we must take care of all life... At the top of the totem are hummingbirds, representing the aspiration for a new consciousness: they are messengers of peace between humans and nature. The face on the reverse represents the state of emergency in the world. We are so close to reaching the peak of this crisis and the raised arms of the Totonac culture represent the balance that we must find in the mind and the heart. We need to act quickly to care for the world through prayers, thoughts, connections, and laws."

Intercultural theatre company Border Crossings’ ORIGINS Festival is a multidisciplinary celebration of Indigenous arts and culture from around the world. The 2021-22 Festival offers an unprecedented and evolving year-long programme, transforming digital and physical spaces into vibrant sites of creative enquiry, intervention and performance by leading Indigenous artists and thinkers. The festival offers an opportunity to engage with the work of Indigenous artists and activists and ORIGINS’ themes of climate, covid and colonialism.

About Jun Tiburcio

Jun is an artist painter, embroiderer, earth sculptor, writer, and poet in the Indigenous language of Totonac. He has exhibited his work across the globe including in Mexico, Canada, France, Washington, Australia and New Zealand. He is the ambassador of the Totonac language and is the founder and artistic consultant of the Cumbre Tajin Papantla Cultural Festival, in the state of Veracruz.

The artwork will be on display as follows:

29th September – 4 October 2021: Chiswick House
5th -10th October 2021: Milton Keynes Station Square
11th – 13th October 2021: Fountain Square, Enfield Town
14th– 17th October 2021: Rollright Stones, Oxfordshire
18th – 20th October 2021: Warwick Arts Centre
21st – 23rd October 2021: Manchester University
24th – 27th October 2021: Hexham Abbey
27th October – 13th November 2021: Hidden Garden, Glasgow
14th November 2021: Return to Earth Ceremony - The Crichton, Dumfries

Find out more at the Origins Festival website

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