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November 6

Inside Out

MadArt Seattle’s latest exhibit brings Aztec and Mayan iconography to SLU.

Artist Marela Zacarías unexpectedly spent a good chunk of the COVID-19 pandemic at her family’s home in Cuernavaca, Mexico. While there, she reflected on societal and political unrest and found inspiration in the Temple of the Feathered Serpent in Xochicalco, a Meso-American archaeological site about 20 minutes south of Cuernavaca.

This temple serves as the centerpiece of Inside Out, MadArt Seattle’s latest exhibition. Zacarías built her version of the temple pyramid at MadArt out of wooden frames and wire mesh. Patrons will notice she left the temple’s foundation exposed, offering up multiple perspectives of the structure. Within the temple is a plaster figure called Cihuacoatl, which is the eponymous representation of an Aztec fertility goddess known to provide strength to women in childbirth.

Artist Marela Zacarías working on a painting with vibrant colors.
Artist Marela Zacarías working on a painting with vibrant colors.

Zacarías surrounded the temple with bright, colorful floor to ceiling murals on the perimeter walls of MadArt studio. These murals draw inspiration from actual relief carvings and the architecture of the temple in Xochicalco. According to MadArt, the murals help portray “overlapping cultural influences in Xochicalco after the disbanding and resettlement of many of the region’s indigenous empires.”

For the artist, Inside Out is an opportunity to retell the stories of lost communities in a new and vibrant way.

Check out this video showing Zacarías creating the temple and murals that make up this exciting new exhibit.

You can see Inside Out at MadArt Seattle Thursday­–Saturday from noon to 4pm through December 12. No appointments are necessary, but if you want to visit outside open hours, you can make that request to info@madartseattle.com. Note that masks are required and groups are limited to five people.

Story by Ethan Chung and photographs by James Harnois, Elias Herrera, and David Wulzen.


Meman Harishu

aka little lake – nickname given by the Duwamish