To mark the Year of Mexico in the UK the University of Birmingham is hosting MEX/BHX: Mexico in Birmingham celebrating Mexican culture and research through exhibitions, lectures, film and food.

Running from June 1-5, the highlight of the cultural festival will be exhibitions by two Mexican artists, Edurne Esponda and Amador Montes. Own Code II and The Other Wall are exhibitions which display the artists’ reflections on Mexican culture. Both hail from the Oaxaca region in the south of Mexico, known for its cultural, geographical and biological diversity.

Edurne Esponda’s Open Code II reflects the impact of contemporary codes of fashion and cuisine in visual memory. Inspired by the colour and shapes of traditional Mexican foods, the work is influenced by dishes such as nieves (sorbet), mole (a rich sauce), and mescal (a local alcoholic drink). Drawing on her passion for Oaxacan cuisine and her former life as a fashion designer, Esponda’s work uses vibrant colours of chillis and tropical fruits, and abstract iconography to create stimulating visual artwork.

To mark the first UK presentation of Esponda’s work, the University of Birmingham’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood, will meet the Mexican Ambassador to the United Kingdom, His Exellency Diego Gómez Pickering. Together they will be given a gastronomic guided tour of Esponda’s exhibition.

Complementing Own Code II is The Other Wall by Mexican artist Amador Montes. This exhibition explores the concept of walls as boundaries and barriers. Influenced by the mestizo (mixed) culture of Oaxacan art, Montes’ work brings together animal life with symbols of passage, the hearth and home.

In addition to the flagship exhibitions, the festival includes film showings, lectures, and chances to experience traditional Mexican cuisine on campus. The festival runs from Monday 1 June until Friday 5 June on the main University of Birmingham campus.