Madame Adriana Mendez Murguia: Architect Turned Showcased Artist
An artist, Madame Adriana Mendez Murguia arrived in Bangkok in October 2019 with her husband, HE Bernardo Cordova Tello, Mexico’s ambassador to Thailand, who Elite+ interviewed for our April/May issue last year. At their residence in the central business district of Bangkok, I was fortunate to be able to sit down with Madame Adriana and talk about her artistic passion as well as other interests and charity work.
Born in Mexico City, Madame Adriana received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Intercontinental University in Mexico City in 1989. After spending time working on architectural projects in Mexico and Portugal, she began to focus more on her passion for art, enrolling in various art workshops, including Monotype in Mexico City and Engraving at the Jose Rincón Atelier in Madrid. Meanwhile, other university courses she studied were Abstract Painting and Interior Decoration at the Corcoran Institute of Art and History of Art at the Smithsonian, both institutes located in Washington, DC. She also taught artistic and technical drawing at the high school level to instil in youth her love for art.
Madame Adriana explained her art journey, saying, “I have always loved painting using different techniques such as watercolour, acrylics and oil. The fruits of this pursuit have enabled me to put together several exhibits. I consider myself a visual artist, which for me means it’s a way of life as well as a profession. I have been fortunate to have been able to travel and get to know different countries, their art and culture, which have heavily influenced my work.”
Madame Adriana admitted that it is very difficult to list all the highlights of her life, as she shyly disclosed that there have been so many throughout her professional life she is proud of. After pressing her on the subject, she opened up and shared, “First of all, getting a degree as an architect and having worked on several projects in Mexico City and abroad are things I am quite proud of. The second highlight for me was holding my first art exhibition in Mexico City in 2007. Another milestone was when my husband was first appointed as Mexican ambassador to Turkey. I think that being the wife of an ambassador, first in Ankara and now in Bangkok, are very important to me. Representing Mexico, I have had the opportunity to discuss and showcase our art, culture and cuisine. Sharing my beautiful country and all it offers with others is something that I find immensely gratifying. And finally, having a family has been paramount for me. Motherhood is by far the best and most important job in the world. I am extremely proud of my daughter, Elena, especially of her accomplishments as a graphic designer - you could say art runs robustly in our family.”
In 2007, Madame Adriana began her journey as an artist and has never looked back. Nine exhibitions over the years have been showcased in Mexico, Bulgaria and Spain. “Fourteen years ago, I had the desire to start painting and exhibit my work. I have always appreciated art in general and painting in particular, which has been a source of deep joy in my life. Thus, I try to convey, through my art, these feelings and sense of happiness to those who attend my shows. While I was in Portugal in 1991, I learned tile painting and then picked up the technique of stained glass in Washington, DC. I enjoy learning about new techniques in displaying and conveying art to the public. Art shall always remain a passion of mine and integral part of my life.”
Madame Adriana remembered, “My first exhibition was held in a small café in Mexico City in 2007. I was very excited as many people came. In 2008 and 2009, I participated in an international mini print exhibition in Sofia, Bulgaria. At the same time, in 2009, I joined a second international mini print exhibition in Cadaques, Spain, as well as two more exhibitions in Mexico City to celebrate Woman’s Day. Five years later, in 2014, I was quite fortunate to exhibit my work at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Madrid as I celebrated my 50th birthday with family and friends.”
Recently, Madame Adriana organized her first art exhibition in Thailand, titled “Cities Around the World”; “It is my tenth art show after a few exhibitions in Mexico, Bulgaria and Spain. This exhibition at River City Bangkok has been a dream come true. I feel very honoured to have been invited to show my art in this wonderful venue and truly admire and appreciate the amazing work they do in promoting Thai as well as international artists.” Madame Adriana candidly shared that aside from art, she loves visiting museums in general, reading and cooking, devoting some of her time to learning new recipes from around the world.
Madame Adriana cares about communities and charity work, “Wherever our postings happen to be, I am always involved in charity work. For example, when my husband was posted in Turkey, the women of the diplomatic corps organised assistance for Syrian refugees. Now in Bangkok, I have been offering my services to the Thai Red Cross, helping to organise the Diplomatic Bazaar to raise funds for the vulnerable and less fortunate. I believe this is a very worthwhile annual project established by the Thai Red Cross.”
On the topic of women’s roles, Madame Adriana stated, “We have seen with a great sense of satisfaction that women have taken more prominent roles in our societies. We have made strides but still, it is not enough. We must continue to push so more women everywhere are valued, respected and have their accomplishments recognized. I want to see more women in leading positions in all fields, sports, the arts, politics and the corporate world.”
After spending nearly two years in Thailand, Madame Adriana has developed a very fond view of Thailand. “It has been a wonderful discovery for me. I see a modern, dynamic and vibrant country open to the world while keeping in touch with its ancient heritage - a society rich in values and traditions. In many ways, Thailand resembles my native Mexico; the two have a lot in common. I would say that both countries have people who love their culture, their traditions and their wonderful, mouth-watering, spicy cuisine. Also, our people love to smile!
As a diplomatic spouse, Madame Adriana assists in the promoting the cultural relationship between Thailand and Mexico. “I am always involved in promoting cultural events in which our Embassy showcases our cuisine, traditions, tourism and contemporary art, cinema and music. Now, as Covid restrictions are lifted, we can again organise activities and events to promote our culture. I will also participate in the 2022 Thai silk festival with a Mexican designer where I can display a blend of Mexican and Thai art and design.”
In rounding off our interview, Madame Adriana expressed openly, “I would like to thank Elite+ Magazine for giving me the opportunity to share my art and experiences here in Thailand, and I hope your readers can visit my country and discover and enjoy our many wonderful and breath-taking destinations, our rich culture and distinct cuisine as well as our friendly people.“