TOTEM LATAMAT

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 to Saturday, November 20, 2021

Open air

Venue: Various locations across the UK

Experience an Indigenous Mexican response to Climate Change this Autumn. 

In Chumatlán, Veracruz, México a 4.5m high totem is carved from a single tree during a ceremony to thank it for giving its life. The head of a man and the wings of an eagle are sculpted into the cedar wood, the chiselled lines imprinting a message that will stretch 9000km from Mexico to London.

Commissioned by ORIGINS and carved by Indigenous Totonac artist Jun Tiburcio, TOTEM LATAMAT is a messenger sent by the Totonac people. "Latamat" means "life" in Tutunakú, and the totem is expressive of Totonac spiritual ideas as they relate to the environment.  It emphasises how deeply our existence is interwoven with nature, calls attention to the damage being done to the seas, the land and the air, and insists that we cannot ignore this destruction any longer. 

TOTEM LATAMAT is travelling to the UK by ship and will travel to important cultural hubs across the UK including London, Coventry, Milton Keynes and Manchester drawing powerful links between Indigenous experience and local heritage. The totem will finally arrive in Glasgow for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

Following COP26 it will be ceremonially returned to the Earth, emphasizing the cyclical and transient nature of life and art.

Listen to Jun Tiburcio describing the symbolism of TOTEM LATAMAT.

1st –  5th October 2021 
Chiswick House

  • Welcoming ceremony 4th October 2.30pm

5th -11th October 2021 
Milton Keynes Station Square 

  • Welcome by Interfaith MK - 6th October 11am-1pm

11th – 14th October 2021 
Fountain Square, Enfield Town 

  • Welcoming event featuring Pickled Pepper, Patrick Samuel and Young Notes Choir - 11th October 5.30pm-7pm

14th– 18th October 2021 
Warwick Arts Centre 

18th – 21st October 2021 
Rollright Stones, Oxfordshire

21st – 24th October 2021 
Manchester Museum, University of Manchester

24th – 27th October 2021 
Hexham Abbey 

  • Welcome by the Rector of the Abbey and Chaplain to the Queen, Rev. David Glover - Monday October 25th 2pm
  • Talk and discussion on "Religions, Ecology and Climate Change" by Prof. Graham Harvey (Open University) - Abbey Great Hall - Tuesday October 26th 2pm
  • Treasure Trails for Children - Monday and Tuesday mornings

27th October – 14th November 2021 
The Hidden Gardens, Glasgow 

From 15th November 2021 
The Crichton, Dumfries 

  • Totem Latamat and Cop 26 - a reflection on the journey - November 19th 7pm
  • Return to Earth Ceremony - November 20th 11am

Please follow us on social media for updates on this journey and all the latest ORIGINS Festival news.

TOTEM LATAMAT is co-presented by Centro de las Artes Indígenas with the support of The Open University and the Embassy of Mexico.