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Convents Built During México’s Conquest Highlighted in Banamex Photo Exhibit

Malinalco Cloister

Metztitlán Facade

By Jesús Aguado

A labor of love that took photographer Beverly Spears inside México’s historic convents for a decade is on display at Casa de Cultura Banamex until October.

Architecture, Photography and Art, an exhibit of 68 of Spears’s photographs is the result of the longest road trip of the photographer’s life. At the exhibit opening, she told attendees that one day she took her camera and set off across México, attracted by its landscapes and sculptures, but mostly by the facades of its great religious buildings dating back to the sixteenth century, in the period when México was being conquered by the Spanish.

The exhibit features architecture in 10 Mexican states, from the more southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas to the more northern states of Hidalgo and Guanajuato.

With these images, Spears seeks to document an important period in the history of México—the merging of two cultures, the conquerors and the conquered—that resulted in many of México’s architectural treasures, its murals, and its sculptures. Spears carefully handled the natural lighting in many photos to great artistic effect, and the spectator is left viewing the buildings as if they were there right in front of them.

The photographs highlight the esplanades, chapels, doors, and towers of México’s oldest convents. Each photograph captures the history of these spaces, but also their continued vitality as community centers. Spears wanted to document these convents’ history but also their static, tranquil, and spiritual qualities.

“It was a great pleasure and honor to have the opportunity of visiting and capturing these breathtaking sites,” she said.

This exhibit is free and open to the public Mondays–Fridays, 9am–6pm, and Saturdays and Sundays, 10am–6pm. Guided visits take place Monday–Friday at 1pm and 5pm.


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