Curanderismo Exhibition Opens at Maxwell Museum

June 18, 2013

"Curanderismo: Healing and Ritual" is a new exhibition at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology that explores the historical and contemporary practice of Mexican folk healing. The exhibition opens on Saturday, May 4 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. The event is free, open to the public and parking restrictions will not be enforced. The exhibition will be up through October.

The opening event features master herbalist and ethnobotanist Tomas Enos, who has been cultivating and sharing his knowledge of Southwest plants since 1990. Curandera Tonita Gonzales speaks about herbs used in spiritual cleansing and performs limpias. Presentations on medicine gardens and local healing weeds is provided by permaculturist/chef Trish Cyman, and Sophia Rose of La Abeja Herbs.

"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 Ni˜o 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, evident in the way 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.

The UNM course, Traditional Medicine without Borders: Curanderismo in the Southwest and Mexico," will be offered July 15 - 26.

For more information about the exhibition, contact Mary Beth Hermans at or call (505) 277-1400.