- Harrison Berry
- This beaded panther head by Jose Benitez Sanchez is part of Huicholes: People Walking in Search of Sunrise at Ming Studios through Friday, April 15.
Standing guard inside the double doors of Ming Studios are two large, beaded Huichol panther heads. Like real jungle cats, something about the colorful skulls says, "Do not touch."
The cats are the work of Huichol artist Jose Benitez Sanchez (1938-2009). An exhibit of his work, Huicholes: People Walking in Search of Sunrise, will be on display at Ming through Friday, April 15. The exhibit also includes yarn paintings, artifacts, clothing and jewelry.
The Huichol live in central Mexico, in the remote mountainous states of Navarit and Jalisco. Huichol art, as described at thehuicholcenter.org, "is personal and captivating, with intricate designs, vibrant colors and sacred symbols. It is an expression of deeply held spiritual beliefs."
In Huichol culture, "art and religion are inextricable. The shaman links the community with the spirit world, from where their creativity pours forth as a gift from their deified ancestors."
Slideshow BW Slideshow: Huicholes: People Walking in the Search of Sunrise Exhibition at Ming Studios13 slides
Benitez Sanchez's work reflects his Huichol culture's aesthetic and myths, from cosmology—divided between the sea, the mountains and the desert—to adornment. During a special event at Ming on March 10, which was attended by Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little and members of the Mexican Consulate in Boise, attendees had a chance to preview this awe-inspiring body of work.