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MFA Boston Acquires Thirty-Seven Photographs by Graciela Iturbide

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has acquired thirty-seven works by the Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide. The photographs, which span from 1969 to 2007, include images of life in Mexico and represent her interests in various subjects such as the ritualistic and celebratory nature of fiestas, as well as death, birds, and botany. Thirty-five of the prints were purchased by the institution, and two were donated by Iturbide.

Born in 1942 in Mexico City, Iturbide first wanted to become a film director and studied at the Centro de Estudios Cinematográficos at the Universidad Nacional Autónama de México. Shortly after she enrolled, she switched her focus to photography and began learning from her mentor, photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo. Throughout her career, she would travel across the globe, completing projects in Cuba, Germany, India, Madagascar, Hungary, France, and the US.

The acquisition features work from three projects that focus on Mexico’s indigenous cultures, including eleven images from “Juchitán,” a series that examines the essential role of women in Zapotec culture; three from “Los Que Viven en la Arena” (Those Who Live in the Sand), for which she documented the Seri people living in the Sonoran Desert; and two from “La Mixteca,” a group of photographs of the elaborate goat-slaughtering rituals in Oaxaca.

The exhibition “Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico,” opening at the MFA on January 19, 2019, will feature approximately 125 photographs spanning Iturbide’s five-decade-long career. Organized into nine sections, the exhibition will comprise works drawn primarily from Iturbide’s own collection.

“It has been a pleasure and honor to work closely with Graciela in preparation for the exhibition and on this special acquisition,” said curator of photographs Kristen Gresh. “She has successfully and beautifully brought to the forefront the many untold stories of Mexico’s rich culture and history. We are eager to present these groundbreaking images to our global audiences—both in the upcoming ‘Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico’ exhibition and in many years to come.”