Jason Botkin

Hibridación Cultural:

Cultural Hybridization:

On the east façade of the dome base, Jason Botkin composed a highly detailed work illustrating
the two distinct halves of a long integrated Mexican identity.

On the left, evoking the colonial conquest of the Spanish, we are confronted by the penetrating gaze of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the poor and of animals. To the right, sharing the same human form, but looking off into a future, sits the head of Quetzalcoatl, the “feathered serpent”. Of the traditional Mexican deities, he was the most powerful force of nature: “He was the wind; he was the guide, the road sweeper of the rain gods, of the masters of the water, of those who Brought rain” (From the Nahuatl language).

In the flanking side vignettes, an additional pair of hands impart to us the power of the yogic hand Mudras, connecting our personal vitality with the universal cosmic energy, through the position of hands held in ‘blessing’. Emanating from the flowing robes below emerge the poor and thirsty, gravely imploring us to take action in solving the collective challenges we face as a species, and reminding us that the best way to face the future is to honor and deeply understand our ancestral legacies.

The Aztec Sun Stone (or Calendar Stone)

During the creation of the murals for “Agua es Una”, an intercultural team of artists set out to bring to the world powerful messaging concering the health of water on this planet, from desert to oceans.

While falling rain is an important part of the water cycle, for a festival and the many artists encouraging paint to dry, it presented a major setback. Rising to the challenge of time constraints plus changed plans, and having only just finished an extended series of panels at the ground level, artist Jason Botkin (Canada) assembled buckets, brushes, and the support of an expert rappel safety team to cap this monumental altarpiece.

To conceptually underpin the project and its relationship to the community in a historical and contemporary context, Botkin and festival director Édgar Sánchez landed on a rendering of the Aztec calendar, with its twenty days and radiant sunshine, which now shines at the highest and most hidden part of the dome. This is a reciting an enormously complex work, conceived by an ancient culture’s greatest minds, rendered not in stone but with brush. It is a mystery that fully reveals itself only in flight, like the tens of thousands of birds that flock above this crowning piece of Foucault’s Pendulum at dusk every night.

At times, to perceive order in the chaos going on around us, we must elevate ourselves and one another, to realize a grander picture…one connecting Heaven and Earth, unifying the four pillars of heaven, and resonating with the pre-Hispanic worldview: at the navel of the Moon, in the center of the Earth, where hearts rise to the Sun.

Resting at the very the top of the dome, at the heart of the Aztec Sun Stone, Jason recreated the 4 pillars of heaven according to Mesoamerican mythology.

Before the creation of nature and the universe, there existed a Toltec diety known as
“Ometeotl”, who raised four sons, the “Tezcatlipocas”, or the four cardinal points of the cosmos. Mythology assures that thanks to them and to the sacrifice of the crocodile Cipactli, there was space to create all things and natural phenomena in the four lower levels of the sky. The pillars support the sky from the four principal points (North, South, East, West), which correspond to the four elements; water, fire, earth, and wind. Jason’s pillars also symbolize the pathways through which atmospheric forces, and particularly rain, travel.

Detai of cultural hibridation

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The work of Mantra is a true visual delight. Its first wall reminds us of the importance of water as a generator of life and the death and despair of its absence. It is located at the western end of the building, in a narrow and cloudy passage that connects two important avenues of the city, surrounded by grey walls and floors stained by years of walking. The Mantra altarpiece is erected with grace and color, as nature does on a daily basis, as if flowers had bloomed on those walls and a monarch butterfly reigned over the alley. On the left, a sea turtle skull lies on a fishing net, as in Tre Packard’s original photograph. The transformative power of the art of Mantra has accentuated the enormous force of nature to make everything bloom, pristine, even in the darkest alley.

The technical ability of Mantra is almost disconcerting. However, it is from the metaphor contained in the mural that the strength to move the passer-by is born. The piece identifies us with nature, to be more human. We see a huge female presence that gazes with delight at the fertile nature. It is an allegory about biodiversity, with the purpose of showing that humanity has the capacity to interact with the natural environment in complete harmony and balance. The main character is inspired by the female deities of water in Mesoamerica and represents nature in its original splendor. From the east side of the dome, the Mantra piece dances with the west side, the lizard Cipactli beset by the pollution of Goal and Ryper, completing the dance game of the four directions of the world on the Dome and under the Sun. With a quetzal on his shoulder, a salamander, a butterfly, a whale shark and other natural beings representing the wealth of the world connected by the same element – water.

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“Cultural Freedom is the ability of people to define their own identity and evaluate their individual culture. The exploration of Noségo, an artist from Philadelphia, led him to paint on his wall Oshun, the African deity (Yoruba) of love and fresh water, which in Cuba is synthesized in the Virgin of Charity of Copper. In her Sunbathing Mural, an African woman comes out of the water and raises her hands to create a spell of light and love, a creation that will produce other creations. Life illuminates with the power of the fresh waters, refreshes with its sweet protection and speaks of an act of love for nature.

Nosego’s mural is a testimony of the life of a person who lives in the small moments. When his elongated hand and strong arm hold a brush, the artist finds himself working on a work more than just performing a beautiful soliloquy in the symphony of his life, rarely can such freedom be appreciated in the stroke, perhaps that is why the smile on Oshún’s face is serene and cheerful, showing that his author was truly free within his painting.”


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Paola Delfín

“””Among all the natural phenomena that are linked to water, rain is probably the most emblematic and significant for the human species. Like the rain that is sometimes heavy and sometimes light, Paola Delfín moved nonstop for 13 days on the dome of Focault’s pendulum to invoke with her painting the Tláloc Zapoteca: Pitao Cosijo. His rain deity raises a glance to heaven, a pair of hands hold a heart, as delicate as Paola’s stroke, symbolizing the gift of life, while a waterfall flows reminding us of the connection between water, life and the offering that in return we human beings make with our work. A third eye awakens on the forehead of the deity, looking at the truth of things, and at its side ornamental plants bloom in a monumental work that makes the heart beat.

The Relationship between Paola and Cosijo, describes an intimate romance between an artist and her work, created under the scorching Queretaro sun, during 13 long days of work. While Paola initially confessed to underestimating the structure, like the rain soaking through a desert, the work of the Capitalina filled the structure to the brim to bathe the north face of the festival’s emblematic Water is One dome. The work is a monumental work of art that invites us to remember the roots of Mexicans and the care of water as a catalyst for life. The piece also stands out for the way in which it took the author out of her comfort zone, leaving the delicate lines of the female figure briefly to address the roughness of a stone god that seems to be carved on the stone of the Dome and whose heart resounds in the sky with lightning. Behind this northern wall, at the southern end of the dome, Curiot Tlapazotl paints the consort of Tlaloc, the female deity Chalchiuhtlicue with whom he begins a dance of life, love and prosperity.”

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“Within the natural conflicts of life, those generated by man are becoming more and more frequent and it would seem that humanity is struggling to destroy itself. The Pogo mural describes the conflict between opposing forces. On the one hand, water and nature push with force and life, containing the voracity of a beast of death that attacks from the other extreme, enveloped in sewage, garbage and human ambition.

Pogo represents a generation of illustrators and designers who are taking responsibility for the things that happen in the cities where they live and find their power in the realization of pieces with a strong meaning, in such a way that they capture the attention of the passer-by and stir their ideas until they make him reflect deeply.

Pogo’s high-contrast graphics describe a sincere and honest concern to try to be the best version of ourselves for the Earth, showing the best face to every problem and, like Pogo when making its wall, respond to every challenge with a huge smile.”

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Renata Martinez & Aaron Glasson

In collaboration and within the main altarpiece, Renata Martínez and Aaron Glasson also developed an altarpiece. In it they tell the story of thirst and the absence of water. On the far right, Macedonia Blas Flores, the indigenous woman and human rights defender who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, holds a jug of water with the attributes of Tlaloc. Behind him, a man with Spanish features holds another jar that has been broken by an indigenous boy to take advantage of his runoff and feed a garden.

The mural covers different topics such as water pollution, marine fauna affected by contaminated water, difficulties in getting water to the house, floods and droughts. Also at the bottom center of the composition, a piece by Renata shows the desperation in the form of a person trying to drink from a bottle so that the bottle seems to be drinking from it. On the far left and beyond the parking lot wall, the artists depict a masculine face that peeks under the surface of the water to look at the garbage, including a Spanish conqueror’s helmet. Next to it is the message “plastic is toxic”, inside a pet bottle, in the hand of a skeleton…

At the center of the mural, two stone figures symbolize nature and the creation of man, in a reflection that tells us that both the idol and the stone are of the same material, so why not preserve nature in the same way that the work of man is preserved?

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Goal y Ryper

The mural by Goal and Ryper, Keretan artists with deep graffiti backgrounds, emerges on the west side of the dome. We see the enormous head of Cipactli, the mythological being, similar to a crocodile, which was sacrificed by the Tezcatlipocas to create the world and nature, according to pre-Hispanic mythology. Cipactli gives his body so that Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca can divide it in two, creating the sky with his head and the earth with his body. So Cipactli is a metaphor for the beginning of nature. On the lizard, small molecules of carbon dioxide have reclaimed the atmosphere. Small and subtle, little by little they have made life more unstable and this is shown in the eyes of the sick reptile, which breathes a purplish and cloudy air. Beneath the lizard, life seeks to survive in the waters corroded by human activity and global warming, homes lie in agony barely able to withstand flooding. The Cipactli de Goal and Ryper looks to the south for the pure water that all beings claim, while pollutants and human settlements sneak up on it, threatening the life of Mexican fauna and the stability of the Earth as a result of the constant deterioration of water and habitats, generated by human ignorance and ambition.



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In addressing the water issue, Smithe created a codex describing Tlaloc and Coatlicue, both worn and ill. The exploited gods are loaded with cables, pipes, wells and other artifacts necessary for humans to live; in contrast we find thirst, wear and tear, death and a final consequence for a species that seems to be forging its own destruction of not contemplating in depth the repercussions of its actions.

Placed firmly on four sections of the building, the complete composition describes an altarpiece of Mexican pop art that stands out for the clean strokes of the most skilled in graffiti and whose resonance is already beginning to influence contemporary graphics, defined by a style that is leaving its mark on world illustration.


Foto: Documentación Nueve Arte Urbano.
Foto: Documentación Nueve Arte Urbano.
Foto: Documentación Nueve Arte Urbano.
Foto: Documentación Nueve Arte Urbano.
Foto: Documentación Nueve Arte Urbano.
Foto: Documentación Nueve Arte Urbano.


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Addressing the theme of thirst and despair, Saul’s work portrays a dreamlike landscape where creatures migrate from one side to the other seeking first to quench their thirst in the desert, first as a nuisance that becomes a terrible need for survival. Saul’s agglutinated line invites reflection and gives the message that without water we have nothing. On the left side of the mural, Saul approaches a more optimistic tone with a female face wrapped in symbols of fertility and life. The work is sprinkled with different forms, sometimes visionary and sometimes abstract, which make up a kind of garden graffiti artist of delights.

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Sänk’s mural recreates the legend of the mystic Chan, the mythological creature that governs the waters of the springs where the liquid flows from the rock, and the responsibility of taking the water from Querétaro to the Zamorano hill when humans fight for it. Today the Chan seems to be further and further away from our cities, so we have to unite communities and actions to recover the ecological balance. On its wall, Sänk portrays the legend in which a wise man of the village invokes the chan, asking him to let the water of Zamorano flow so that it can return to the springs of the glen. The scene features a handful of Ajolotes, the extraordinary Mexican salamander that has the power to regenerate your organs. From them the rains come out, new rivers are born and at one end, hidden at the bottom of the space, in the limits of the building, the Blue Deer of the Wirrarica, lord of life, contemplates the rebirth of its garden.


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