Axixic is an exceptional centre of cultural life. A small town in the central west of Mexico, it has benefited from a rich natural setting between San Juan Cosala Mountains and Lake Chapala, the country’s largest fresh water lake – and from its proximity to Guadalajara, second largest city in the nation and a rich centre of culture. The local indigenous communities, Nahuatl and others, bring a deep respect for the pre-Hispanic sites, rituals and deities of the area along with a deep desire to protect them.
This physical exploration of Axixic, seeks to draw out those natural & manmade elements, networks and organizations – formal and informal – that make up the town’s unique cultural landscape and, most importantly, to find the resonance between these elements and the local myths and legends. Building awareness around Axixic’s mystical underpinnings is a key goal, recognizing the deep impact of the local indigenous communities, including the Nahuatl, on Axixic’s cultural legacy.
Water is at the heart of Axixic’s identity – not only the 80km long Lake Chapala but also the many rivers that run from the surrounding mountains to replenish the lake. And water is featured in the town’s origin story that tells of Michcihualli, the goddess, emerging from a natural spring at the foot of the San Juan Mountains to create the town. The emblem for this work combines images of the two key deities of the town – Tlaloc, the rain god (identified in Aztec culture as early as 800AD) and Michicihualli – and frames them in the Nierika, the Mexican equivalent of the Asian yin and yang symbol (with 6 directions rather than two).
With the support of La Cochera, an Axixic arts cooperative, founded by Canadian architects, Thom Weeks & Jennifer Stanley, local artist, Antonio Lopez Garcia, local architect, Leon Felipe --- and Canadian architect and urbanist, Joyce Drohan have worked together, bringing their unique perspectives to the initial cultural mapping of the town. This initial work is intended as a starting point for other artists and cultural representatives in Axixic and elsewhere to deepen the exploration especially to foster awareness of this unique cultural landscape.
In 2022 the Mexican federal government is amidst a campaign to celebrate & elevate the ‘pueblos magicales’ or ‘magical villages’ of Mexico. It is hoped that Axixic will meet the description of this and, as such, benefit from possible cultural programs that can reinforce the many wonderful historic & cultural landmarks already identified in the work of Antonio, Leon Felipe l& Joyce.
This pdf seeks to provide some background on the extraordinary 45 min film that La Cochera has made to present Axixic at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival.
We hope this helps to support this exceptional town we should all know more about.