Artist Talk: Z’otz* Collective, “Words from Returning Rocks”

ArtTalk at ARTSPLACE: Z'otz* Collective, Words from Returning Rocks (February 25, 2023)

Z’otz* Collective is Nahúm Flores (Honduras), Erik Jerezano (Mexico) and Ilyana Martínez (Mexico/Canada). Their work has a playful spirit, quirky subjects, and hybrid characters that connect to the storytelling traditions of their culture and history. Drawing is their primary means of expression and is used to respond to each other and to what surrounds them. Their approach allows them to create idiosyncratic images that touch on the experiences of migration, transformation, and regeneration.

An important part of their process is to be engaged with the communities that view their work. While creating their wall work at ARTSPLACE, the gallery remained open with three simultaneous exhibitions in other rooms. The artists were always eager to talk to the public, playing music and sharing memories and conversation with anyone willing to engage. ARTSPLACE visitors were welcomed into a full ‘behind the scenes’ experience.

In this video, the three artists retrace the steps of their journey from a playful meeting at a festival where they sat together and drew on paper plates after a meal, through nearly two decades of creation together.

The artists of Z’otz* Collective were in residence at ARTSPLACE from Tuesday, February 21-Friday, February 24, 2023. Opening reception, Saturday, February 25, 12- 2, followed by an artist talk at 2pm. The exhibition Words From Returning Rocks then ran until March 25 before the mural was painted over.

Artist Profile - Z'otz* Collective

  • Three artists standing in front of their artwork in progress on the walls of the ARTSPLACE Main Gallery.

    Three visual artists with a passion for collaboration, Z’otz* Collective was formed in 2004 by Nahúm Flores (Honduras), Erik Jerezano (Mexico), and Ilyana Martínez (Mexico/Canada) who share Latin American roots and a Toronto studio. They join forces to create drawings, collages, sculptures and site-specific installations.

    The group’s name comes from the Mayan word for bat, an animal that represented dreaming and intuition in the Mesoamerican world.

    Z’otz* is intrigued by the niche—from the French “nicher” meaning to make a nest—as a space to incubate, collect, investigate, and share stories. The concept of the niche is used as a point of departure for their installation and contains mythological beings, animals, and symbols. 

    The exhibition Words from Returning Rocks at ARTSPLACE included collaborative drawings, animation and an in-situ ephemeral wall installation.