Indigenous Mexican artwork visits Milton Keynes en route to climate change conference

Unique wooden carving is on display at MK Station Square until Monday

Friday, 8th October 2021, 1:41 pm
Updated Friday, 8th October 2021, 1:42 pm

An indigenous piece of Mexican artwork has stopped off at Milton Keynes en route to COP26, the next annual UN climate change conference in Glasgow.

Totem Latamat, a hand-carved totem created by Totonac artist Jun Tiburcio, arrived in Milton Keynes on October 5 and can seen at MK Station Square until Monday, October 11.

Cut from a single cedar tree and standing at 4.5m tall, the artwork has travelled to cultural hubs across the UK including London, Coventry, Milton Keynes and Manchester.

See the hand-carved totem created by Totonac artist Jun Tiburcio at MK Station Squareuntil Monday, October 11

The artwork has been sent as message by an indigenous community in Mexico conveying the need for immediate action to disrupt the damage done by climate change.

Artist Jun Tiburico is a painter, earth sculptor, and poet in the Indigenous language of Totonac. He has exhibited his work across the globe and is the ambassador of the Totonac language and founder and artistic consultant of the Cumbre Tajin Papantla Cultural Festival, in the state of Veracruz.

Following COP26 it will be ceremonially returned to the Earth, emphasising the cyclical and transient nature of life and art.

Jun Tiburcio said: "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."

"As part of Border Crossings’ ORIGINS Festival, Totem Latamat is a message from the Totanac people to 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."

The Hidden Gardens in Glasgow will host Indigenous elders and the Sacred Fire for the duration of the conference. It is part of ORIGINS, a year-long Indigenous and art and culture festival showcasing the work of leading Indigenous artists and activists exploring the themes of climate, Covid and colonialism.