Nelson Morales | Febrero 2021
Nelson Morales (b. 1982, Unión Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Mexico) lives and works between Oaxaca and Mexico City.
Morales’ photography celebrates gender identity and fluidity in Mexican culture by creating vibrant and richly pigmented narratives within his imagery, providing a distinctive perspective on sexual diversity, gender expression, and the muxe tradition in Latin America.
Muxe is a Zapotec term that refers to the gender that defines a man who assumes female roles. The muxe community is concentrated in the isthmus of Tehuantepec, in southern Mexico, and since pre-Columbian times the Zapotecs considered the muxes of Oaxaca part of a third sex in the country. Accepted by society as a blessing to have, they go beyond defining themselves as homosexuals to consider they are a mix between both genders, in a constant search for beauty.
The Muxes project, presented here, began more than ten years ago. Although it was in 2015, as a result of his participation in a workshop with Magnum photographer Antoine d'Agata, that he pushed himself to get at the heart of the series at all levels. At this moment, the artist moved away from mere documentation of their daily life, to start a special relationship becoming an accomplice which ultimately led him to rediscover his own identity.
The photography of Morales highlights the power of color. The artist excludes straightforward narratives as well as a documentary tone to establish a dialogue with the viewer that demands intimacy and collaboration. His work captures the surrealism, grace, eroticism, and mystery that defines his lived experience as a muxe.
The artist graduated in Communication Sciences from José Vasconcelos University in the city of Oaxaca. He is the recipient of several awards in Mexico and abroad, highlighting his nomination for the World Press Photo 2020, Joop Swart Masterclass, Amsterdam. His work has been featured in numerous national and international solo and group exhibitions and has been widely recognized in the press including: The New York Times, The British Journal of photography, Vice, Foam Museum, Aperture Magazine, Musée Magazine, Vogue, and The Guardian, among others.