Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Stepping outside my front door, sometimes the play of light and shadow in Oaxaca takes my breath away.

Black and white photo of Crown of thorns plant

Crown of thorns (aka, Corona de Cristo, Euphorbia milii) taken November 2018.

Miscellaneous messaging

Within a few blocks from home…

IMG_3118

IMG_3626

IMG_3625

Miscellaneous messaging brought to you by the streets of Oaxaca.

May 18 is Día Internacional de los Museos (International Museum Day).  Instituted in 1977 by the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the goal is to raise awareness of the role museums play in “cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.”  Traditionally, the primary mission of museums has been collecting, conservation, communication, research, and exhibition.  However, according to the ICOM:

Museums have transformed their practices to remain closer to the communities they serve. Today they look for innovative ways to tackle contemporary social issues and conflict. By acting locally, museums can also advocate and mitigate global problems, striving to meet the challenges of today’s society proactively. As institutions at the heart of society, museums have the power to establish dialogue between cultures, to build bridges for a peaceful world and to define a sustainable future.

The museums of Oaxaca seem to have embraced this expanding and dynamic role — exemplified by this past winter’s exhibition at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca, Intervención Índigo, created by Laura Anderson Barbata, in collaboration with The Brooklyn Jumbies, Chris Walker, and Jarana Beat.

Performance and textiles meld the Zancudos (stilt walkers) of Zaachila, Oaxaca with the Afromexicano devil dance of Guerrero, the color indigo (a natural dye important to indigenous cultures in both Mexico and Africa), batik and beading techniques of Africa, with political commentary about the realpolitik of the African diaspora in North America.

Indigo is one of the oldest natural plant based dyes, used all over the world and ritually embedded with symbolism and spirituality; power and nobility…. Barbata employs textiles hand woven and dyed in Burkina Faso,Guatemala and the United States. The color historically represents absolute truth, wisdom, justice, and responsibility.

So, get thee to a museum near you — you will, no doubt, be enriched, enlightened, and maybe even empowered.

 

 

 

On the way Mercado Sanchez Pascuas to restock the larder, for the past several months, this colorful scene has greeted me at the entrance to Callejon Hidalgo.

IMG_4388_port

IMG_4391

IMG_4389

“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.” — Anais Nin

Bicycles R Us

Need a bike?

IMG_2986

Need parts for your bike?

IMG_2987

Need to have your bike repaired?

IMG_2988

San Juan Guelavía has just the shop for you!

Love among the ruins

Dorothy and Pedro spotted on Calle Murguia, Oaxaca.

IMG_4398_b&w

Another mashup by Efedefroy.

Tis the season…

The thermometer hovers in the low 90’s (F), a very occasional late afternoon thunderstorm clears the air and cleans the sidewalks, and the high-pitched song of the cicadas (aka, cigarras and chicharras) add to Oaxaca’s soundtrack.

IMG_4057

In addition, “shaving brushes” are seen springing from the branches of the Pseudobombax ellipticum trees — commonly known here as Cabellos de Ángel (angel hair).

IMG_4417

In my garden, the night blooming cereus (Epiphyllum hookeri) have been greeting me early in the morning.

IMG_4055

And, my pistachio tree, which the leaf cutter ants stripped of all its leaves eight months ago, has rebounded and produced its first nut.  Such is spring in Oaxaca!

Happy International Workers Day!

Food vendors at the mercado in Teotitlán del Valle

Fireworks castillo builders in Oaxaca de Juárez

Flower vendor in the Villa de Zaachila market

Teamsters unloading maguey piñas near Santiago Matatlán

Snack vendor on market day in Tlacolula de Matamoros

Construction worker preparing a new roof, Oaxaca de Juárez

Life… brought to you by the workers of the world.

 

 

 

Market mural magic

Since I went to the market today and we are on the topic of murals in Oaxaca…    

IMG_4379

The Calle Porfirio Díaz entrance to my “go to” Mercado Sánchez Pascuas has undergone a make-over to commemorate the 487th anniversary of the elevation of Oaxaca de Juárez to the status of city.

IMG_4382

On April 25 (Oaxaca’s official birthday) city officials, market Board of Directors, and the artists gathered for the mural’s inauguration and ceremonial ribbon cutting.

IMG_4383

Javier Santos, professor of sculpture at the Taller de Artes Plásticas Rufino Tamayo, explained that the mural represents a collection of symbolic images, contextualizing life in the city and market.  How many of these symbols (many Prehispanic) do you recognize?

IMG_4384

Javier Santos continued, “It is important that there is availability and openness on the part of the Municipal Government to bring people the great talent of Oaxacan artists through the exhibition of works in public spaces, because in them people have the opportunity to visualize the graphic quality of our state.” (Google translation)

IMG_4385

Here is to the artists!  May the magic of their creativity continue to illuminate the past, find truth in the present, and inspire the future. 

IMG_4380

And, let us hope the city of Oaxaca will see more mural construction and less mural destruction.

Zapata stays

Even if you’re dreaming of sitting on a beach with a book and glass of wine in hand, there are reminders that one hundred years ago, on April 10, 1919, Mexican revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata was assassinated.

IMG_4243

In southern Mexico, in the words of Lila Downs, Zapata Se Queda (Zapata Stays) and remains a beloved martyr who continues to inspire.

IMG_4242

And, to remind all to never forget, and continue the struggle.  The cry of “not one more” echos from the streets.

IMG_4241

Mural on the wall of Taller-Galeria Siqueiros on Calle Porfirio Díaz.

Splendors of red clay

If one lives in Oaxaca long enough, the probability is high that you have purchased at least one piece of barro rojo pottery from the women of San Marcos Tlapazola.  Goodness knows, I have over the years — lunch plates, pitchers and urns, small decorative dishes for salsa, and, of course, a comal.  Alas, it’s hard to resist just another piece or two and so blogger buddy Chris (whose collection of barro rojo FAR exceeds mine) and I headed to San Marcos (44 km southeast of the city) last Sunday for the second day of their Esplendor Del Barro Rojo fair.

IMG_4245

Oh, the pottery!

IMG_4250

Women of San Marcos Tlapazola.

IMG_4253

Red clay pottery and performance watchers.

IMG_4246

Divinely light and flavorful higadito.

IMG_4244

The temptation of red clay pottery.

IMG_4260

The dignity and pride of an accomplished artisan (and fashionista).

It was a feast of pottery, food, music, dance, textiles, and warm and welcoming people.  What more could anyone want on a Sunday afternoon?  And, yes, I did buy a piece or two.

Restoration, phase one

Yesterday, the village of Teotitlán del Valle and its Comité del Museo Comunitario (Community Museum Committee) welcomed the public to the inauguration of the first phase of the restoration of the archaeological zone beneath the Templo de la Preciosa Sangre de Cristo.  Before the arrival of the Spanish, the area had been a Zapotec ceremonial plaza.

P1000653

Before:  Teotitlán del Valle archeological site, December 2013

A little background:  In 1553, Oaxaca’s Archbishop Albuquerque ordered the demolition of all Zapotec structures, including those in Teotitlán del Valle.  And, as was the practice of the day, in 1581 the Dominican friars began building their church atop the original Zapotec ceremonial complex.

IMG_3337

During:  Teotitlán del Valle archeological site restoration, February 2019

They scavenged building materials from the Zapotec site (some can be seen in the exterior walls of the church) and tried to erase all evidence of the rich and complex belief system that was already in place.

IMG_3339

During:  Sidewalk supervisor dog keeps an eye on the restoration work at the Teotitlán del Valle archeological site, February 2019.

As regular readers of my blog know, I visit Teotitlán often and am always amazed at the construction projects that pop up — new buildings, additions to homes, and street repairs.  However, this past February, when touring out-of-town friends around Teotitlán, I was surprised to see work being done in the archeological zone.

IMG_3340

During:  Teotitlán del Valle archeological site restoration, February 2019. Note the numbered pieces.

After three years of effort to obtain the necessary permits from the INAH (National Institute of Anthropology and History), the work on the restoration of the “basement” began in January 2019.  The end goal is to reclaim, rehabilitate, and restore the Prehispanic Zapotec ceremonial complex.  Teotitlán’s site is concurrent with nearby Mitla, thus the presence of grecas, the fretwork that characterizes the site 15 miles to the southeast.

IMG_4269

After:  Teotitlán del Valle archeological site restoration inauguration day, April 22, 2019.

I’m looking forward to what the next phase will reveal!  By the way, as is the custom in Teotitlán, this major civic event included not only speeches by gathered dignitaries, but also a procession, a performance of dances from the Danza de la Pluma, food, and a concert.

Preparing for the silence

Late afternoon on Viernes Santo (Good Friday), images of Jesús and María gathered, blessings were offered, and all began to assemble on the Alcalá for the Procession of Silence.

IMG_4095

Inside Templo de la Preciosa Sangre de Cristo, as the Archbishop called upon the people to reflect on the day and improve as people.

IMG_4098

Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (Our Lady of Solitude) arrives to take her place on the procession route.

IMG_4102

Standard bearers line the Alcalá to honor the arrival of the images of María and Jesús.

IMG_4107

San Pedro (Saint Peter), the only apostle to arrive.

IMG_4126

Jesús waiting in the Templo del Carmen Alto before he ventures out to take his place in the procession.

IMG_4118

Another Jesús image emerges from the Templo del Carmen Alto to take his place on the Alcalá for the procession.

IMG_4129

El Señor de Esquipulas ventures out onto Calle García Vigil, from the atrium of Templo del Carmen Alto, for his journey to join the procession on the Alcalá.

IMG_4143

And now, please keep silent, the procession is approaching.

And so it begins…

The sounds of this morning’s Santo Viacrusis (Stations of the Cross) moving closer, brought me into the mostly deserted streets before 9:00 AM.

IMG_4068

A block away, I found Jesús, La Virgen María, a priest, acolytes, the faithful, and a loudspeaker on the back of a pickup truck.

IMG_4064

Led by the children, images of María and Jesús from churches throughout the city had taken to the streets.

IMG_4085

Stopping along the way to pray and sing, the solemn throng made their way to the Cathedral for a farewell encounter between Mary and Jesus.

IMG_4093

It will be a long day for all concerned.  Following the encuentro, they will process back to their churches for a bit of a rest before this evening’s grand Procession of Silence.

Heavy lifting

It takes 30+ men, doing some heavy lifting, to carry San Salvador, his burro, and Palm Sunday bounty the kilometer between San Antonino Castillo Velasco’s cemetery and village church.

IMG_4038

IMG_4039

IMG_4040

The strength of their devotion.

%d bloggers like this: