Archive for September, 2009

Benitez Studio: the ledgend continues at Peyote People

Kevin September 20th, 2009

 Its a whole new world out there now that Jose Benitez has left us.  Some have taken it upon themselves to exploit his death offering his art for exorbitant prices.  His work will undoubtably go up, but not just 3months after his passing.

In a constant effort to stay one step ahead of the market we are proud to present a new facet in Huichol art- Benitez Studio: the ledgend continues at Peyote People; our new registered trade mark.

For the last few years Hilaria Chavez Carrillo, Benitez widow, worked hand in hand with the master.  He taught her not only the importance of color and how to create depth by combining or contrasting colors but more importantly he taught her the importance of motion in an otherwise static art.  Benitez is gone but his style will live on in the work of his widow  Hilaria who is working directly with Peyote People from his old studio.

As with most art that has seen its prices appreciate there will undoubtably be a number of fakes, and copies of Benitez work that will make their way to market.  Unscrupulous dealers and time-share marketing companies will go to great lengths to copy his signature and classic style.  Benitez Studio: the ledgend continues at Peyote People is an exclusive line of yarn paintings that Peyote People has tradmarked and is your guarantee that the pieces were made by Benitez family and come from his old studio.  For more information please feel free to email us or if your in Puerto Vallarta drop by the shop.

Benitez Studio: the ledgend continues at Peyote People

Benitez Studio: the ledgend continues at Peyote People

Peyote People on Facebook

Kevin September 12th, 2009

I’ve started a new group on Facebook called Peyote People where people will be able to see new pieces and read about current events.  If anyone is interested please feel free to check it out.  Any and all comments are greatly appreciated.

I’d like to keep things positive but its been a really tough summer.  First the flu killed what little tourism we had because of the bad economy and then the passing of Jose Benitez.  Gone but not forgotten, Benitez will live on in the art that everyone loves.

Tragedy has struck the Huichol community of San Andres Cohamiata.  I got a call on Friday from Santos Bautista that the son of the commissario de bienes communales or sheriff was murdered.  Our prayers go out to Margarito and his family for the loss of his son.  The tragic event is under investigation, based on preliminary reports it seems that this was an internal struggle and hasdnothing to do with Margaritos political position within the community.

My buddy Luis Castro is going through some tough times but is finally getting the help he needs.  Luis is one of the finest yarn artists I’ve ever me, we’re really pulling for him to get better soon and back to work.Asking for Rain

New Mexico Museum of Indian Art and Culture

Kevin September 12th, 2009

The New Mexico Museum of Indian Art and Culture is going to put on an exhibition of Huichol artifacts this March.  Attached below is the press release that Steve Cantrell from the Media Center sent me:

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture


Huichol Art and Culture: Balancing the World




Santa Fe, NM (September 11, 2009)—For the first time, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology presents a significant collection of Huichol art from the early part of the last century in Huichol Art and Culture: Balancing the World. The exhibition opens at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture April 11, 2010 and will run through March 6, 2011.


There are important ties between Huichol work and Native American, prehispanic, and Hispanic art histories and cultures. Known today for colorful, decorative yarn paintings, the origins of modern Huichol art are found in the earlier Huichol religious arts of the Robert M. Zingg ethnographic collection at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.


Huichol Art and Culture: Balancing the World focuses on the Huichol, a Native American people of western Mexico who for many centuries have retained their unique culture and prehispanic religious beliefs. Their remote location in the rugged Sierra Madre Occidental mountains primarily in the states of Jalisco and Nayarit has allowed for greater resistance than any other indigenous group to the forces of Christianization and acculturation. The Huichol people today continue to create traditional art and practice ancient rituals that predate the time of Spanish contact.

From 1934-1935, Dr. Robert Mowry Zingg (1900–1957) was the first American anthropologist to conduct extended ethnographic fieldwork among the Huichol in the community of Tuxpan de Bolaños. Zingg lived with Huichol families and participated in everyday life, while studying their mythology and ceremonialism. Huichol Art and Culture: Balancing the World presents the collection of Huichol artifacts which Zingg collected on behalf of the Laboratory of Anthropology during the earliest years of its history as an institution. 


In the past and today, Huichol art is made to communicate with a pantheon of ancestors and gods. When Zingg arrived in Tuxpan, he found that most Huichol adults were occupied with making art. As he observed, the Huichol constantly create offerings which serve as visual prayers to the gods. As part of the ceremonial cycle, the Huichol make pilgrimages to leave offerings at sacred sites.




Ceremonial offerings to the gods are the precursors to the art of modern Huichol yarn painting. Early Huichol votive art evolved into art produced for sale beginning in the 1950s, when artists adapted traditional techniques, designs, and materials to “paint” in yarn. Sophisticated and vibrant Huichol yarn paintings have now become renowned in the global art market.  

Among the highlights of the Zingg collection are outstanding examples of ancient, symbolic textile designs that were intricately woven on backstrap looms by Huichol women. The collection features prayer arrows, richly decorated votive gourd bowls, and other offerings for the gods. Oversized shamans’ chairs and diminutive gods’ chairs are unique to Huichol ceremonies. Colorful macaw feathers, beaded jewelry, deerskin quivers, embroidered clothing, and hats adorned with feathers, squirrel tails, and ribbons all attest to a time and a culture where art objects were made for everyday and ceremonial use, not tourist consumption.


The concept of balance is central to Huichol art and culture. The balancing of opposites, such as the wet and dry seasons, or darkness and light, is a prevalent theme in Huichol art. Huichol ceremonies are performed and offerings are made to keep the world in balance, ensuring successful crops and hunting, fertility, and health. Today, the Huichol say that they continue to make art and perform the centuries-old rituals not just for their own people, but for the benefit of everyone in the world.


The concept of balancing opposites, so central to Huichol culture, is also basic to the Pueblo worldview and is seen in Pueblo architecture, government, and ceremony. A further connection to Pueblo culture can be found in the Uto-Aztecan language of the Huichol. It is related to the language of the ancient Aztecs of central Mexico , to the Cora, to the Tohono O’odham and Hopi of Arizona, and to the Tanoan languages of the Northern Rio Grande region of New Mexico .


Zingg, who spent his youth in northern New Mexico , noted a similarity in “the richness of the ceremonial life of both the Huichols and the Pueblos .” He and other scholars have drawn parallels between the two cultures, including the importance of the cardinal directions and elaborate religious symbolism in art and decoration involving the deer, fire, rain, corn, and concepts of growth and fertility.




Media Contacts

Melissa Powell,  Curator of Archaeology


Steve Cantrell, PR Manager


505-310-3539 – cell

Exhibition images may be found on the media center;