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Posts Tagged ‘art’

It’s good to be back in Oaxaca — land of mezcal.  Even the walls sing its praises.

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And, they are not alone — so does National Geographic, with their article, A Mezcal Boom Spurs Creativity.

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Yellow is the color of winter in Oaxaca, be it flora, fauna, or nature-inspired human intervention…

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Primavera amarilla (Tabebuia chrysantha) on Calle Porfirio Díaz.

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Corner of Calle Porfirio Díaz and Calle de M. Bravo.

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Great Kiskadee sitting in the tree next door surveying the scene.

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Emiliano Zapata looks out from above the entrance to Espacio Zapata and Atila del Sur restaurant.

A. M. A. R. I. L. L. O.
by Edward Kofi Louis

Aim high in life and, always seek for peace!
Making it possible to share with others;
As the sun always rises from the east! !
Resting down west to respect the muse of nature.
In the light of Life,
Lights in the sight of the truth! !

Living with positive morals,
Onward with the joy of life.

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I’m still on the East Coast, now outside of Boston.  It’s cold (not freezing, thank goodness), dark by 4:30 PM, and colors are bland.  Today, as we dashed down an alley, dodging raindrops, from parking lot to restaurant, I caught a brief glimpse of a mural on the side of a building, but it seemed rather lackluster compared to the walls of Oaxaca.

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Calle de Tinoco y Palacios, Oaxaca de Juárez — Oct. 31, 2016

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Calle de Ignacio López Rayón, Oaxaca de Juárez — Nov. 9, 2016

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Emiliano Zapata (corner of I. López Rayón), Oaxaca de Juárez — Nov. 9, 2016

While I LOVE (I think that’s what the last one says) seeing my family and appreciate (more than a little) paper towels that don’t disintegrate, drinking water from the tap, and plumbing that can handle toilet paper, I’m homesick for Oaxaca.  Soon!

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A pause in the Cuba coverage to echo Dorothy, “There’s no place like home” — especially if that home is Oaxaca.  I needed (yes, needed!) chocolate and coffee and, thus, headed toward the Benito Juárez and 20 de noviembre mercados.  As always, even just a grocery shopping trip is a feast for the senses.

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First, a calenda on Calle Independencia of students, academics, and workers to launch the registration of candidates for rector of Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca (UAJBO).

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A peek into el pasillo de las carnes asadas (ahhh, the smells) in 20 de noviembre mercado, while waiting for my chocolate guy to finish with other customers.

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A look at the finished murals (and merchandise) in a newly opened shop at Calle Macedonia Alcalá 100.

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Stopping to gaze up at the “Aves Sin Paraíso” exhibition above the Alcalá.

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Almost back to Casita Colibrí, a new stencil at the corner of Morelos and Tinoco y Palacios.

By the way, I got the chocolate, but couldn’t find my coffee guy in the maze of temporary stalls set up on the streets surrounding the Benito Juárez mercado (it’s undergoing a much-needed renovation).  There’s always mañana — I’m not completely out, yet.

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The murals may be disappearing, but the walls of Oaxaca continue to radiate with messages.

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2016_04_26 Blog Walls of Oaxaca

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Oaxaca, never a dull moment and never a dull wall.

 

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Old school…

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New school…

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Art school…

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For those dying to know what the heck a tinaco is and how the water system in Mexico works:

At my apartment complex, municipal water is regularly (or, not so regularly — as the case may be) delivered though a pipe under the street into a cistern (storage tank) located under our driveway); a bomba (pump) is run daily for an hour (más o menos) to bring water from the cistern up into tinacos sitting on the various rooftops of the complex.  In case you are worried, float valves keep them from overflowing (most of the time).  When we turn on the tap, courtesy of gravity, water flows (or dribbles) from the tinaco into and through our faucets.  ¡Ojala!

By the way, drinking water is a completely different story…

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Ahhh… a return visit to Centro de las Artes de San Agustín in early December still resonates.  The CASA, a former spinning and weaving factory, was re-imagined by artist Francisco Toledo and architect Claudina Morales Lopez.  Now it is one of the most aesthetically pleasing spaces I’ve ever experienced.  But, why have I never before noticied this?

Inside and outside, seen in black and white or color, wherever one looks, the attention to detail and design strikes, delights, and often surprises.

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Artist Fabián Calderón Sánchez (aka, Sanez) has changed the face of the building next to Hotel Azucenas again!

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Located on calle Martiniano Aranda, in the 6-1/2 years I’ve lived in the ‘hood, the front of this building has played host to two previous murals by Sanez.

I’ve been a big fan of his distinctive work and was again captivated by his  creative and powerful use of indigenous imagery.

The mural is signed,  Macuilxochitl Losdelaefe — MTY (Monterrey) – OAX (Oaxaca) – GDL (Guadalajara) – www.sanez.mx – 2015.

Let us hope this doesn’t meet the same fate as other murals in my neighborhood recently have.

 

 

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She’s gone…

P1090814_copyAs feared, by order of the government, the beautiful and moving mural by Lapiztola, on the side of Museo Belber Jimenez, has been erased.

P1140922copyOnly her ghost remains.

P1140920 copyI miss her, too.  Color and culture, indeed, seem to be unwelcome.

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As many of you already know, one of my favorite things about living and being in Oaxaca is, you just never know what you will stumble across.  Rounding a corner, one might come upon a calenda (parade) with band, marmotas, monos, and dancers; a street artist or payaso (clown) entertaining a gathering of nin@s to abuel@s; street art; or a newly opened store.

So (no surprise), a few months ago, walking up Tinoco y Palacios enroute to the Sanchez Pascuas mercado (in need of a few staples like quesillo, aguacates, and tamales), a stunning new mural caught my eye.P1120515Positioned to entice potential customers into Color y Cultura, a newly opened artisan community shop, the mural is the work of Chiquitraca Colectivo from Juchitán.  It worked, I was hooked, and later returned to browse and eventually buy a pair of earrings carved from a gourd.  However, during a return trip to the mercado, I was rather shocked to see unsightly papers defacing the mural.

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Usually, street murals are “hands off” zones for vandalism.  However, closer inspection revealed official notices declaring, “Suspendida” (suspended) and going on to say that the mural violates regulations on the conservation of the historic district.

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And, if this weren’t egregious enough, remember the stunning We sow dreams and harvest hope mural on the side of Museo Belber Jimenez?

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It too now has appalling “Suspendida” notices plastered on it.  WTF is going on???  A little research revealed that a law was recently passed to “criminalize” wall art.  Yes, yes, yes… I understand that the “powers that be” and even ordinary residents are sick of graffiti on historic buildings.  BUT to lump the anarchist “A” spray-painted on the side of the Cathedral with magnificent murals painted on ugly decaying walls and beautiful works of art privately commissioned by businesses and museums to decorate their buildings, is the height of absurdity, never mind assigning a “criminal” aspect to it.  Believe me, Oaxaca has a laundry list of more important issues that it needs to address.

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If in their “infinite wisdom” they are attempting to “clean up” the city to better appeal to tourist dollars, euros, yen, etc., then I think they are barking up the wrong tree — we extranjeros (foreigners) love the street art!  To that end, below is a copy of a letter I sent to the president of Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) last year, when officially authorized murals painted by art students as part of their course work were ordered removed by the university administration.

Dear President Miller:

I am writing to you from the city of Oaxaca de Juárez in southern Mexico, nestled in the valley where corn was first cultivated.  I have the privilege of living in culture that has a deep respect for, and appreciation of, communication through all forms of art.

Oaxaca is filled with museums and public art.  In addition, her walls are covered with murals, both officially sanctioned and unauthorized.  An example of the latter:  My current neighbor, previously lived next to a concrete bench built into a wall along her street.  It’s primary function seemed to serve as a gathering place for garbage and graffiti.  Being an artist, she painted a living room scene around the bench, replete with, a lamp, bouquets of flowers, pillows on the sofa/bench, and a framed painting with the image of a smiling creature holding a sign that quotes Oaxaca’s favorite son and former Mexican president, Benito Juárez:  “El respecto al derecho ajeno es la paz.”  (Respect for the rights of others is peace.)  It is a quote that every Mexican school child learns and in the eighteen years since the bench and mural were first painted, it has become a beloved icon of the street and very little graffiti and garbage have reappeared.

Oaxaca would lose much of her character and lessons would be lost, if we were to wake one morning and find all her murals disappeared.  The story is the same at CCSU and it would be shameful if the beautiful and thought-provoking student murals at CCSU were to be needlessly destroyed.

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It has been one year since 43 normalistas (student teachers) from the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero were disappeared and several of their fellow students were murdered.

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They are still missing and the truth of what happened that horrifying night has yet to be revealed.  The question remains, What happened to the 43 Ayotzinapa students?

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Cristian Tomás Colón Garnica of Tlacolula de Matamoros, Oaxaca; his 42 fellow students; 215 other Oaxaqueños, and 26,000+ other Mexicans missing since 2006, are not forgotten by their families, their friends, the people of Mexico, and the world.

We don’t have weapons sir!  Why are you aiming at us?
from the above video, narrated (in English) by Lila Downs.

And so, Mexico Marks One Year Since Disappearance of Students

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I wonder…  What is artist Nicko Foster saying along the walls of calle Constitución?

Behind every mask there is a face, and behind that a story.
–Marty Rubin

P1130219The human face is, after all, nothing more nor less than a mask.
Agatha Christie

P1100946I believe in my mask–The man I made up is me
I believe in my dance– And my destiny
Sam Shepard

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VW Beetles aren’t the only tricked out small vehicles on the road in Oaxaca.  While not allowed in the city, tuk-tuks (moto taxis) have become indispensible in ferrying passengers into the villages from bus and colectivo stops along the carreteras and up, down, and around the often narrow and dirt paved streets within villages where cars remain a luxury.  You haven’t lived until you’ve ridden one down a rocky embankment, forded a stream, and then climbed back up the bank on the other side — all without tipping over or getting one’s feet wet.  Talk about the little engine that could!

Most are utilitarian looking.  However, one day these tricked out tuk tuks appeared above the Plaza de la Danza.

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If you’ve got a little money and a large imagination, voilà!

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Eight months and counting… Tonight, eight months ago, 43 students from the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero went missing.  I am sadly resigned that marking this horrific anniversary has become a regular feature on my blog.  As a mother, a guest resident of Mexico, and someone who believes that the peoples of the world deserve social justice, I can’t ignore this tragedy.

I dare you to leave Carteles por Ayotzinapa, the current exhibition at Instituto de Artes Gráficas de Oaxaca (IAGO), with a dry eye.  The 49 posters on display are only a fraction of the over 700 posters submitted to the First International Poster Biennial 2014 Convocation Ayotzinapa, an initiative of Oaxaca’s internationally renown artist, Francisco Toledo.  In addition to Mexico, artists from Argentina to Greece; Iran to Lebanon; and Poland to the USA responded to his call, recognizing as Toledo explained, the tragedy of Ayotzinapa has outraged people from beyond the borders of Mexico.

Photo courtesy of Oaxaca Media

Photo courtesy of Oaxaca Media

Irwin Homero Carreño Garnica, a graphic design student, originally from Ocotlán de Morelos, Oaxaca, was awarded first prize for his heartbreaking work, “México fracturado por Ayotzinapa” (Mexico fractured by Ayotzinapa).  As you can see above, it is a map of Mexico in the shape of a skeleton, with a break in the femur, where Ayotzinapa, Guerrero is located.  Like the work of the Tlacolulokos, the use of an iconic image (skeleton) and a primary palette of black, white, and greys, increases the emotional impact, much like Picasso’s, “Guernica.

Second place was won by Damian Kłaczkiewicz (Poland) and third place went to Daniela Diaz (Mexico).  The three winning posters will be reproduced for distribution throughout Mexico.

The exhibition runs through June 26, 2015.

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Situated metaphorically at the busy intersection of imagery and content—and informed by history, mass media, commerce, and pop culture—stickers address both the personal and the political.  — Street Art Graphics, The Richard F. Brush Art Gallery, St. Lawrence University.

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Stick-to-itiveness:  the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult or unpleasant.

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Street art stickers — a metaphor for Mexico, methinks.

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