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Washing with the Gods: A Talk on Central and South American Magic Soap

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The Last Tuesday Society / Viktor Wynd's Museum of Curiosities

11 Mare Street

London

E8 4RP

United Kingdom

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The Last Tuesday Society is pleased to invite Dr. James Green for a special lecture Washing with the Gods: a talk on Central and South American Magic Soap.

Saints and sinners, Gods and demons, drunkards, intellectuals, lovers and gamblers. These are just some of the many characters and creatures that appear on the packages of magic soap: a range of soaps that can be bought from esoteric stalls in cramped and dusty corners of the markets of Mexico and South America. These soaps, although quite easy to purchase, are largely overlooked, and are virtually unknown in Europe. The artwork used to communicate the powers that each soap will unleash is novel and inspiring. That said, the artists who design the packages go uncredited, making it difficult to find out who they are, and where the inspiration for their package designs originated.

"I collected the packages displayed here between 2015 and 2016 during trips to Quito, Santiago, Easter Island, Mérida, Oaxaca, Guadalajara and Mexico City, while researching contemporary magic and masks. In an old shop in Quito, I spotted a clear plastic bag in a corner behind the counter. Inside were colourful boxes that smelled of soap. Closer observation found them to be Jabon Esoterico: magic soaps that could grant fast money (Don Dinero) or bring about true love (Pega Pega). The dusty boxes were sold with a warning from the old lady in the shop about their power, and what could happen if they were used at the same time. From then on, hunting down magic soaps became part of the focus of my research trips."

Dr. James Green is an artist and a lecturer in Fine Art, living and working in Cardiff. His research focuses on a fascination with masks and forms of contemporary magic. These subjects have led James to travel parts of Central and South America, where he collects Magic Soaps and studies ancient and contemporary art. James will be talking about his study of Magic Soap, and the artwork that collecting them has inspired.

James studied Fine Art at University of Wales Institute Cardiff before going on to study a Masters Degree in painting at the Royal College of Art. He received his Ph.D at Cardiff Metropolitan University in 2014, where he now lectures. James has also presented his research in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Santiago, and Quito.

Guests will be invited down to The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History to view the collection of Magic Soap from Mexico City's Witchcraft Market on view.


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The Last Tuesday Society / Viktor Wynd's Museum of Curiosities

11 Mare Street

London

E8 4RP

United Kingdom

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