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Media Release

Published: 04/17/2013
Mary Beth Hermans, 505-277-1400,

Curanderismo: Healing & Ritual Exhibition opening and Southwest Herbalism event

Exhibition to run through October 2013
A new exhibition at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology will explore the historical and contemporary practice of Mexican folk healing. Curanderismo: Healing and Ritual is the first exhibition in the United States to focus on the traditional healing practice begun in rural Mexico and spread to the Southwest United States and beyond. While the healing techniques have been common among Mexican American populations, curanderismo is currently gaining popularity as people interested in natural alternatives to allopathic medicine seek traditional healers. 

Curanderismo is rooted in cultural knowledge from across the globe, since the time of contact of the Old World with the New. It includes Moorish and Arabic elements; Judeo Christian concepts, and herbal traditions of the Maya and Aztec. Treatments and therapies were popularized by turn of the century Curanderos Niño Fidencio, Teresita, and Don Pedrito Jaramillo who have since become folk saints. 

A multi-layered practice born of many cultural influences, curanderismo has, in turn influenced contemporary localized practices of culture, politics and religion. This can be seen in the way that folk saints or political figures might be associated with curanderismo and the way that contemporary Pop culture engages with the imagery and ideas of curanderismo.
The exhibition includes a vivid array of contemporary and historical objects and images.

Curanderismo and Southwest Herbalism, will be celebrated at the 5th annual Food and Life program on Saturday, May 4, from 1 – 4 p.m. An exhibition blessing and opening ceremony will start promptly at 1p.m. The program will feature Master Herbalist and Ethnobotanist Dr. Tomas Enos, who will share his knowledge of Southwest plants and Curandera Tonita Gonzales will speak about herbs used in spiritual cleansing and perform limpias. Presentations on medicine gardens and local healing weeds will be provided by permaculturist/chef Trish Cyman, and Sophia Rose of La Abeja Herbs. Exhibition blessing and opening ceremony UNM Parking restrictions will be lifted. 

Curanderismo: Healing and Ritual exhibition will run through October 2013.

Traditional Medicine without Borders: Curanderismo in the Southwest and Mexico, a UNM course will be offered July 15 – 26, 2013. The class explores the history of curanderismo and features healers from Mexico and the U.S.

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