Azulik Uh May brings sustainability and art together under one eco-conscious roof
Azulik Uh May brings sustainability and art together under one eco-conscious roof in a small, but significant part of Mexico’s untouched Quintana Roo region, a social movement that brings together, sustainability, creativity and heritage is taking hold. Azulik may be first known as a luxury eco-resort, completely built from local materials, but its founder, Eduardo Neira has bigger dreams to fulfil.
Last April, Neira, who is affectionately known as Roth, unveiled the multifunctional arts space, Ik Lab, which is located next to the resort in Tulum. This month, he has unveiled Azulik Uh May, new cultural centre dedicated to helping both individuals and tribes – contemporary and indigenous alike – to re-establish ties with their community and the environment.
Located within the sprawling jungle, the opening phase of the project features an art gallery that is also connected to artist residencies. As it continues to evolve, it will ultimately also encompass a recording studio, a fashion and design lab, as well as a school that caters to the surrounding Mayan communities by local art and craft techniques with state-of-the-art infrastructure. Medical facilities, which will integrate Western medicine and ancient Mayan healing practices, are still set to come, along with a research kitchen and restaurant that will similarly draw from Mayan culinary wisdom.
‘Azulik was conceived around the concept of tribe, the tribe of the enchanters and transformers. The purpose has always the same: to reconnect people and tribes with themselves, others and the environment,’ Roth says, of the pioneering concept. ‘We have always had a close connection with the original communities. We build our own hotels and our staff is mostly Mayan, many people working on the construction do not speak Spanish. The Mayan culture is still very much alive and among the Mayans you will find healers, herbalists, priests and artists.’
For the inaugural exhibition at the new Ik Lab Uh May, the gallery’s curator and artistic director Claudia Paetzold helped to transform its 16-metre-high, domed concrete and bejuco (a local climbing plant) structure with ‘Conjunctions’, comprised of works by artists Ernesto Neto, Oskar Metsavaht and Paulo Nazareth. On view until April 2019, the works range from video projections, interactive installations and intricately woven structures that bridge the social and structural realms. §