Ambassador opens Mexican cultural festival at Birmingham

His Excellency (H. E.) Diego Gómez Pickering, Mexican Ambassador to the United Kingdom, will officially open a cultural festival at the University of Birmingham today (Friday 5 June).

MEX/BHX: Mexico in Birmingham marks this year’s status as the Year of Mexico in the UK and celebrates Mexican culture and research through exhibitions, lectures, film and food.

His Excellency Diego Gómez PickeringAhead of his visit, H. E. Diego Gómez Pickering said:

“We are very glad to celebrate the Year of Mexico in the UK with the University of Birmingham. During 2015 we are showcasing the diversity of Mexican cultural heritage, its rich history and strong traditions. We are also supporting innovative projects to build a more solid basis for mutual collaboration in the future.”

During his visit, Ambassador Gómez Pickering will join the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Eastwood for a gastronomic guided tour of Mexican artist Edurne Esponda’s exhibition, Own Code II. The exhibition itself is inspired by the colours and shapes of traditional Mexican foods such as nieves (sorbet), mole (a rich sauce) and mescal (a local alcoholic drink), and marks the first UK presentation of work by Esponda.

Complementing Own Code II is The Other Wall by Mexican painter Amador Montes. His exhibition explores an alternative interpretation to the concept of walls as boundaries or barriers using a mixture of textures created through multiple techniques: layers of paper, oil and enamel, dripping, screen printing and sgraffito.

Ambassador Gómez Pickering added:

“It is an honour to be back at Birmingham for the opening of the art exhibitions of two young and talented Mexican artists. The Mexican cultural festival is a brilliant opportunity to share the best of our country with the Birmingham community and strengthen our relationship with one of the top universities in the UK.”

Today marks the second time Ambassador Gómez Pickering has visited the University, where he previously delivered a lecture about how the Mexican government is transforming the country into one of the largest and most stable economies in the world.

Alongside Ambassador Gómez Pickering, the opening of MEX/BHX will also be attended by senior Mexican university officials, visiting as part of a delegation organised by the UK Higher Education International Unit (IU) and the Mexican National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions (ANUIES).

Professor Michael Whitby, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Arts and Law, University of Birmingham said:

“We are delighted to welcome the Mexican Ambassador and the IU-ANUIES sponsored delegation of senior Mexican university officials to campus for our MEX/BHX festival as part of the Year of Mexico in the UK celebrations.

“Collaborations with Mexican researchers and institutions are an emerging part of the University of Birmingham's international engagement strategy and this week we look forward to sampling a taste of things to come.”

The two exhibitions and the ANUIES delegate programme have been made possible by the University’s International Relations team. International Relations informs, enables and implements the international aspirations of the University and its academic community, brining tangible benefits to its students, colleagues and campus.

Forming the centrepiece of MEX/BHX: Mexico in Birmingham, Own Code II and The Other Wall have been curated by Anna Young, Research and Cultural Collections, University of Birmingham. She said:

“This has been a fantastic opportunity for us at Research and Cultural Collections to collaborate with our International Relations department on an exciting cross-disciplinary celebration.

“The main themes to which Edurne Esponda and Amador Montes respond, migration and food, naturally lend themselves to this approach. This has allowed us to work with colleagues across the University, including academics from Hispanic Studies, Film Studies and Health and Population Sciences.”

ENDS

Notes for editors

For interview requests or for more information, please contact Ben Goodwin, International Media Relations Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254

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  • MEX/BHX: Mexico in Birmingham has a programme of events between Monday 1 June – Friday 5 June in locations across the University of Birmingham’s Edgbaston campus. Own Code II and The Other Wall run from Monday 1 June – Friday 17 July, Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm. Both exhibitions are open to all and free.
  • H.E. Diego Gómez Pickering was appointed as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mexico to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in December 2013.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 4,000 international students from nearly 150 countries.
  • The University collaborates with partners across the world to produce ground-breaking research, deliver innovative teaching, and to create opportunities for students and staff to gain international experience.