• Enrique Chagoya: Codex Cosmovisionarius, 2006 (detail); acrylic, water-based oil paint, pencil, solvent transfer, and gesso on 19th-century etchings; 15 1/2 x 122 x 1 3/4 in. overall; BAMPFA, museum purchase, bequest of Thérèse Bonney, Class of 1916.

Virtual Gallery + Studio: Codices: From Symbols to Stories

For ages 6–12 with accompanying adult(s)

  • With artist

    Vreni Michelini Castillo is a multidisciplinary cultural producer, community organizer, and educator with an MFA from UC Berkeley. She is the cofounder of Aguas Migrantes, an artist collective that runs a summer residency in Mexico. Her teaching incorporates Red medicine, hip-hop, decoloniality, and poetry into various art practices.

Drawing on her study of amoxtin (codices made by indigenous Mesoamerican people), artist and educator Vreni Michelini Castillo shows how the symbols, glyphs, and accordion-folded panels used in these historical books functioned as a visual language. Then, she invites you to experiment with a combination of collage and drawing to make a codex that tells about yourself and your surroundings. This workshop is inspired in part by Enrique Chagoya’s Codex Cosmovisionarius, part of the online exhibition Orbits of Known and Unknown Objects: SFAI Histories / MATRIX 277.

Please gather these materials before our session:

  • Drawing tools for coloring, such as colored pencils, markers, or crayons
  • Magazines or old books that can be cut up
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick or glue
  • Poster paper: one large sheet (11 x 17”, 18 x 24”) or two smaller sheets (9 x 12”)

Tip: Download this PDF of glyphs to print and use as reference when drawing.