Photo: Palacio Cantón

Mérida, Yucatán — In time for International Women’s Day this Thursday, the Palacio Cantón Museum will inaugurate an sweeping exhibit, explaining eight centuries of progress, told from a female perspective.

A press conference, led by all women, explained the upcoming ‘Ko’olel” exhibition.

Accompanied by Martha Góngora Sánchez, general secretary of the government; and interim Mayor María Dolores Fritz Sierra, museum director Giovanna Jaspersen, said that women in a privileged position in public office have the responsibility to give a voice to women who live in silence.

“Ko’olel: Transforming the Road” is supported by the Ministry of Culture through the National Institute of Anthropology and History, the Regional Museum of Anthropology, Cantón Palace and the City of Mérida. The exhibition is organized under three axes: historical periods, first-person voices, and biographies of almost 90 women from the Peninsula, from the colonial era to contemporary times.

This exhibition is important, added the museum director, because museums typically tell the story of the country from a male point of view.

“We see photographs of men, government posts occupied by men. For more than a year we have dedicated ourselves to telling the story from the feminine side, through 170 objects obtained by the generosity of various institutions,” Jaspersen explained.

The show is composed of collections from the General Archive of the Nation, the Yucatán Library, educational institutions, museums in Campeche and Quintana Roo, as well as personal friends and family.

As the period progresses from the pre-Hispanic era to the contemporary, it focuses less on Campeche and Quintana Roo and more on the Yucatec state.

“Merida was a pioneer of the feminist movement and women’s political participation. What we have is the result of the struggle of those who had the vision and courage to open the paths that we can travel today,” said Fritz Sierra, whose administration includes seven female directors and seven female council members.

“This exhibition will make it possible to visualize women from pre-Hispanic times to the present, as we have always had a preponderant role in social, political, artistic, scientific and academic life. We have a long way to go; this show can teach our girls that we can transform society, live together and transcend together,” added Góngora Sánchez.

Among the exhibits are pre-Hispanic relics from royalty and dignitaries, as well as correspondence between Rita Cetina Gutiérrez and her best friend at age 12. Rita Cetina Gutiérrez was a Mexican teacher, poet and feminist who promoted secular education in 19th-century Yucatán. The first book written by a woman in Mexico, in 1830’s Yucatán, will also be part of the exhibition.

“The exhibition is an example of how a museum is also a laboratory. The past is written every day and this is a gift to continue writing the history of our states. The idea is to replicate this in all the states of the Republic,” Jaspersen concluded.

The exhibition will open 6 p.m. Thursday on the second floor and will remain on view until the end of summer.

Source: La Jornada Maya, Reporteros Hoy