Toronto says ¡Adiós! to “¡Viva México! Clothing & Culture”

TORONTO — Charming more than 130,000 visitors since its May 2015 opening, ¡Viva México! Clothing & Culture came to an espectacular end at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), on Monday, May 23, 2016.

On display in the Museum’s Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles & Costume, the exhibition was enhanced throughout its presentation by lively demonstrations from talented, Mexico-based artists (whose creations are included in the exhibition), as well as a stunning variety of inspiring programming. As ¡Viva México! came to a close, the ROM said ¡Adiós! to the exhibition in a suitably vibrant fashion.

On Saturday, April 16, an all-day symposium brought together internationally renowned experts to address the rich and varied visual and material culture of Mexico—both past and present.

Viva México Clothing & Culture_1
Viva México! Clothing & Culture

Speakers included the UK-based guest curator of ¡Viva México!, Chloë Sayer, who discussed the spiritual and ceremonial aspects of textiles, dance-masks, and other popular art forms. She was joined by eminent artist Humberto Spindola; Wellesley College Senior Lecturer/author James Oles; former director of Oaxaca’s Textile Museum Ana Paula Fuentes; anthropologist Marta Turok; and Amherst College’s Rick López; at the ROM’s Signy and Cléophée Eaton Theatre.

The exhibition’s companion book, Mexico: Clothing & Culture by Chloë Sayer, with contributions by exhibition co-curator Dr. Alexandra Palmer, the ROM’s Nora E. Vaughan Fashion Costume Senior Curator, is available online.

Viva México! Clothing & Culture
Viva México! Clothing & Culture

¡Viva México! Clothing & Culture featured approximately 150 pieces created in Mexico between the 18th and 21st centuries. It marked the first-ever presentation of the ROM’s wide-ranging collection, which spans 300 years and reflects Mexico’s indigenous and colonial past.

Presented by:




This exhibition was generously supported by:

  • Burnham Brett Endowment for Textiles and Costume
    Gwendolyn Pritchard Fraser Fund
    Veronika Gervers Memorial Research Fund
    Kircheis Family Endowment Fund
Viva México Clothing & Culture_3
Taking over an entire gallery to showcase this stunning collection of Mexican textiles, one of the largest and most important in the world, it is worh mentioning that few textiles from this remarkable collection have ever been displayed publicly before.

Viva México Clothing & Culture_4
Vibrant expressions of creativity, the pieces in this exhibition combined remarkable technical skill with exquisite artistry. Over 150 stunning historic and contemporary pieces were on display, including complete costume ensembles, sarapes, rebozos, textiles, embroidery, beadwork and more.

Viva México Clothing & Culture_6
The evolution of Mexican fashion reflects the history of Mexico, where the textile arts reach back over many centuries. After the Spanish Conquest of 1521, European styles influenced the distinctive clothing of the Maya, the Aztec and other great civilizations. Contemporary Mexican textiles owe their vitality to the fusion of traditions. ¡Viva Mexico! celebrates this rich and enduring cultural legacy.

Mexican Consul General Mauricio Toussaint (right) receives a copy of Mexico: Clothing & Culture from ROM Interim Director & CEO Mark Engstrom and book author
Mexican Consul General Mauricio Toussaint (right) receives a copy of Mexico: Clothing & Culture from ROM Interim Director & CEO Mark Engstrom and book author Chloë Sayer.

From the iconic to the innovative, ¡Viva México! exploded with colour, regional diversity, and bold Mexican style!