The world of Mexican wrestling, where heroes and villains parade their physical abilities in the theatre of the ring, will be brought to Colchester to coincide with an exhibition at the University of Essex Gallery.
Two wrestling matches, featuring famed Mexican wrestlers Blue Panther and El Hijo del Santo, will be staged at the Colchester Arts Centre and the University Dance Hall.
The exhibition, entitled Arena Mexico, consists of prints by Mexican artist Demián Flores Cortés whose work is inspired by the symbols of popular culture in his native country. His work is particularly influenced by wrestling which has a similarly wide fan base in Mexico as football has in the UK. Like British footballers, Mexican wrestlers often come from humble origins to become the most well-known faces in the country, some even becoming movie stars.
Gabriela Salgado, Curator of the University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art (UECLAA), explained: ‘Flores Cortés’ work is full of the raw energy, movement, and the staged drama of the wrestling world but to have wrestling matches here in Colchester really is like bringing a little bit of Mexico to our corner of Essex. Attending one of the matches offers a great opportunity for the local community to experience Mexican culture first-hand and I would encourage everyone who is able, to take that offer and live like a Mexican for an hour.’
The exhibition and programme of events is being jointly funded by the University, Colchester Borough Council, the Mexican Embassy in the UK, Visiting Arts and the Arts Council.
‘Blue Panther’ and ‘El Hijo del Santo’ will face each other in two matches, the first at Colchester Arts Centre on 6 October at 6pm and again in a revenge match at the University of Essex on 8 October at 4pm. Admission is £5 for adults and £3 for concessions. Children of all ages are welcome.
Arena Mexico will be at the University Gallery from 9 October until 10 November. Admission is free and opening times are as follows: Monday to Friday 11am to 5pm, and Saturday 1pm to 4.30pm.