Artist


Mexican - American, Zapotec textile artist Porfirio Gutierrez was born and raised in the richly historic Zapotec textile community of Teotitlán del Valle in Oaxaca, Mexico. His life’s work has been reviving and preserving traditional Zapotec natural dyeing techniques, with a focus on reinterpreting traditional textiles and materials. 

Living and working in both California, United Estates, and Oaxaca, Mexico Gutíerrez’s practice brings awareness to a profound spiritual belief that nature is a living being, sacred, and divine. His expression in the arts resolves the apparent conflict between ancient and modern – between a hands-on life where one creates everything from the food one eats to the clothes one wears, versus an urban life where needs are met through complex systems of interacting mechanisms. He resolves the apparent dichotomy by integrating, reinterpreting, and incorporating the symbols and natural materials that have held meaning for thousands of years.  

The story of his art has been told in The New York Times and on PBS. He has been featured in Vogue Australia and American Indian, Magazine of Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. In 2015, Porfirio received the Smithsonian Institute Artist in Leadership fellowship award, his work is in the collection of the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares, Fomento Cultural Banamex, and the  National Museum of American Indian Smithsonian Institution. A selection of the Gutiérrez dye materials was documented and added to Harvard Art Museums’ Forbes Pigment Collection, the world-renowned archive of artist materials.

Porfirio Gutiérrez

Selected Exhibitions

2019

Man of Two Worlds
San Luis Obispo Museum of Art
San Luis Obispo, California

2018

Exodus
Palm Springs Art Museum
Palm Springs, California

Rituals
Travois Gallery Space
Kansas City, MO

Ritual de los Sueños
Museo Textil de Oaxaca
Oaxaca, Mexico

2017

Cycle of Life
Cam Gallery, Carnegie Art Museum
Oxnard, California

2016

Contemporary Art of Shibori and Ikat
10th International Shibori Symposium and Exhibition
Centro de las Artes, San Agustín, Oaxaca, México

Manos y Alma de Oaxaca
Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares
México City, México

2015

Intercontinental Biennial of Indigenous Art
World Award for the most outstanding traditional art and culture. A traveling exhibit shown in London, Egypt, USA, Norway, Denmark, and Canada (2015 through 2017)

2014

Threads of Life
Museum of Ventura County,
Ventura, California

Bienal de Artes Indigenas Contemporaneo
Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares
Mexico City, México

Selected Interviews

5 ways to fix fashion’s biggest pollution problem
Vogue Australia

Vivid Colors, Naturally
New York Times

Saving an Ancient Craft:
Porfirio Gutiérrez Returns Hom
e
American Indian, Magazine of Smithsonian’s
National Museum of the American Indian

A Colorful Tradition
Index, Harvard University

Ancient Weaving
PBS TV (video)

The Fabric of your Life
Selvedge, London

Tejedor de Sueños
Univision TV (video)

No Quería Ser un Artesano Más
El Universal (newspaper article)

The Weaver from the Place of God
Flint Magazine (video on Flint website)

Local Hero
Hole & Corner, London

Museum Collections

National Museum of American Indian
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C.

Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies
Fogg Museum, Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Fomento Cultural Banamex
Mexico City, Mexico

MACO
Contemporary Art Museum
Oaxaca, México

Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares
México City, México

Museum of Ventura County
Ventura, California

Distinctions

2016 Artist Leadership Program
Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
Washington, D.C.

2012 Honorable Mention
Bienal de Artes Indigenas Contemporaneas
Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes
Mexico City, México

Selected Lectures

Traditional Zapotec Dyes:
Surviving in the Modern World

Harvard Art Museums, Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Color: The Language of the Earth
Fowler Museum, UCLA
Los Angeles, California

The Art of Hand Made
Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology
University of California, Berkeley

Innovation Within Traditional Folk Art
De Young Museum
San Francisco, California

Sustainability to Dye for:
Preserving Zapotec natural dyeing tradition

International Folk Art Market
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Focus on the Masters Artist Spotlight:
A Conversation with Porfirio Gutiérrez

Lecture, oral history and video documentation of Porfirio's life work
Ventura, California

Traditional Techniques: Preservation in the Modern World
Mingei International Museum
San Diego, California

Bring it Home
Artists Reconnecting Cultural Heritage with Community
Panel discussion with artists in the National Museum of the American Indian’s Artist Leadership Program
Washington, DC