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Posts Tagged ‘Alejandro de Ávila B’

Be it looking down from the windows above, strolling through the gardens on a tour, or peeking through openings in the wall on Reforma or Berriozabal on the way to someplace else, Oaxaca’s Ethnobotanical Garden is always a soothing and uplifting sight.

Looking out from window above Ethnobotanical Garden

Check out this informative and enlightening article by Jeff Spurrier discussing the origins and vision of  Oaxaca’s Ethnobotanical Garden — from the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of Garden Design:

Oaxaca’s Ethnobotanical Garden

“I am not a gardener.” Francisco Toledo is sitting in the courtyard of the graphic art institute he founded in downtown Oaxaca City, Mexico, sipping on a glass of agua de jamaica. His fingers are paint-smudged, and he moves stiffly from a sore back. Toledo, 71, is one of Mexico’s best-known living artists; his paintings, sculptures, and textiles are in galleries and museums around the world. At home in Mexico, he is identified with a fierce and outspoken defense of the indigenous arts and culture of the southern state of Oaxaca. He also, as it turns out, helped to create one of the world’s most original public gardens.

“The professionals are the people who live in the country,” he says. “The campesinos and workers — I don’t have the patience.”

Nearly 20 years ago, the Mexican military moved out of a 16th-century Santo Domingo monastery complex it had used as a base for more than 120 years. Mexico’s president gave the exit order after being lobbied by Toledo and other leading artists and intellectuals belonging to Pro-Oax, an advocacy group urging the promotion and protection of art, culture, and the natural environment in Oaxaca. Soon, a great clamor began: The state government wanted the five-acre parcel in the heart of downtown Oaxaca City to create a hotel, convention center, and parking facility. A restoration team brought in by the National Institute of Anthropology and History wanted to establish a European garden in the 17th-century baroque style. Some of Toledo’s fellow artists wanted to use the grounds for workshops and exhibition space.

n 1993, when Toledo knew the army would be leaving, he asked Alejandro de Ávila B., who had family roots in Oaxaca and training in anthropology, biology, and linguistics, what he and other advocates would propose. De Ávila suggested making the space into a botanic garden — or, more precisely, an ethnobotanic garden, one that would “show the interaction of plants and people.”

I highly recommend reading the Full Article.

h/t  Norma and Roberta

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