Zenil, Nahum Bernabé (1947–)

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Zenil, Nahum Bernabé (1947–)

Nahum Bernabé Zenil (b. 1 January 1947), Mexican painter. Zenil, a native of Chicontepec, Veracruz, graduated from the National Teachers School in 1964 and began to teach primary school. In 1972 he completed studies at the National School of Painting and Sculpture, then continued to teach and paint until the late 1980s, when he dedicated himself to painting full time. Zenil's mixed-media paintings, generally self-portraits done on paper, address social circumstances and traditions in contemporary Mexican society, such as sexual identity, religion, and the family. His paintings are highly personal and autobiographical. Zenil is much influenced by the work of Frida Kahlo and popular painting of the nineteenth century, including the traditional exvoto and retablo formats. He often incorporates text into his compositions. Zenil's work is consistently imbued with a profound gay sensibility. His first important exhibitions were held at the Galería de Arte Mexicano, in Mexico City, in 1985. Since that time he has been exhibited and collected internationally.

See alsoArt: The Twentieth Century .


Edward J. Sullivan, "Nahum Zenil's 'Auto-Iconography,'" in Arts Magazine 63 (November 1988): 86-91, and Aspects of Contemporary Mexican Painting (1990), esp. pp. 67-74.

Luis Carlos Emerich, Nahum B. Zenil … presente (1991).

Additional Bibliography

Bender, Daniel J. "In Search of Nahum B. Zenil." M.A. thesis, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1997.

Zenil, Nahum B., Edward J. Sullivan, and Clayton Kirking. Nahum B. Zenil: Witness to the Self/Testigo Del Ser. San Francisco: Mexican Museum, 1996.

                                    Clayton C. Kirking