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Posts Tagged ‘exhibitions’

Prior to heading to el norte, I stumbled on the delightful exhibition, Ciudad BICible, at the Casa de la Ciudad.  It is a glimpse into the history of the bicycle — its role in society, culture, and its importance today as a means of transportation in the city.

The exhibition invites visitors to reflect on how the bike has managed to point cities towards a more tolerant, healthy, equitable, and human way of living, and how we can make Oaxaca a “Bike City.”

Ciudad BICible opened October 7, 2016 and runs until January 29, 2016.  The Casa de la Ciudad is located at Porfirio Díaz 115, at the corner of Morelos in Centro Histórico, Oaxaca.

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Before I become completely immersed in the myriad of activities related to and surrounding Day of the Dead, I want to write a post about Porfirio Gutiérrez, another of the talented and creative weavers from Teotitlán del Valle I have come to know.

I first met Porfirio via my blog and we soon became Facebook friends.  However, we didn’t actually meet in person until last November’s, Feria Exposición Maestros del Arte in Chapala, Jalisco.  I made a beeline for his booth and introduced myself to him and his sister, Juana Gutiérrez Contreras.  Porfirio’s recognition and warmth made me feel truly welcome — like we were long-lost friends.

While, as you can see from the video, The Weaver From The Place of Gods, Porfirio is soft-spoken, he is exceedingly passionate about his Zapotec heritage and the preservation of the textile traditions of his village.  His knowledge, talent, and dedication led him to be one of four native artists to be chosen to participate in last year’s, Artist Leadership Program sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

A key component of the Smithsonian program was, following their residency, each artist was charged with returning to their community to share their knowledge, with the goal of preserving the wisdom and techniques refined and handed down from their ancestors.  I had the privilege of attending the awarding of certificates and exposition that concluded the 9-day workshop, given in Teotitlán by Porfirio and Juana.  The exposition was entitled El Ritual de los Sueños and took as its inspiration the traditional fiber mat, known as the petate.  It is on the petate where babies are delivered, dreams occur, and in which bodies are wrapped before being placed their grave.

The family’s studio is located at Calle Simon Bolivar #6, Teotitlán del Valle and I can assure you, visitors will be warmly welcomed.  And, who knows, you may come away with beautiful new, naturally dyed, hand-loomed treasure.

I already have a place on the wall reserved for one of Porfirio’s distinctly designed tapetes and am now saving my pesos.

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For ten years, since the 2006 teacher uprising in Oaxaca, with scissors, paper, paint, and talent, the Lapiztola collective has been cutting through propaganda and meaningless phrases to lead, provoke, and inspire with their art.  Looking across the Alcalá from Santo Domingo, a new stenciled mural in front the Instituto de Artes Gráficas de Oaxaca (IAGO) caught my eye…

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There she was, beckoning, much like the beautiful and haunting mural, We sow dreams and harvest hope on the Tinoco y Palacios wall of Museo Belber Jimenez (before it, along with others, was unceremoniously ordered removed by the city government).  Another mural by Colectivo Lapiztola.

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The symbolism of the corn, the bandana, and a young indigenous girl is rich in the layers of rebellion and resistance of modern-day Oaxaca.  And so I went up the stairs of IAGO and into the courtyard where Benito Juárez presided over the entrance to the exhibit, Corte Aquí (Cut Here), by the Lapiztola collective.

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Lapiztola consists of three artists:  Rosario Martínez, Yankel Balderas, and Roberto Vega.  This small exhibit (3 stencils and 7 graphic works), with its larger-than-life images, covers three rooms and stimulates our hearts and our minds.

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Over the past ten years, as the exhibition demonstrates, Lapiztola has taken on the issues of social protest, disappearances, the protection of natural resources, and drug-trafficking — the latter, as evidenced below.

Also included, is one of the first Lapiztola images that fascinated me.  It covered the front of the Espacio Zapata in 2012 and speaks volumes about modern society.

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If you go to the exhibition, don’t miss the third room; in it hangs the three massive stencils (below) used to produce the brilliant mural I named the Art of Agave, celebrating the human face of agave cultivation.  It once educated and enlivened the wall of Piedra Lumbre on Tinoco y Palacios, before it, too, was painted over.

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I’m not sure how long the exhibition will last.  However, if you are in Oaxaca, I encourage you to pay it a visit and to all, when you are in Oaxaca, make sure to pay attention to the walls — they have something tell you.

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If you drive in Oaxaca, you might want to take a stroll down the Alcalá today.  In front of MACO, there is an exhibition of rules of the road for the municipality of Oaxaca.

Who knew Oaxaca has an actual motor vehicle code???

 

If you have ever walked, biked, driven, or ridden, this comes as a pleasant surprise — *surprise* being the operative word!

However, I’m not sure how many drivers stroll the Alcalá…  Something tells me that those who need these lessons the most, probably don’t spend their Saturdays promenading along the capital city’s Andador Turístico.

Just so you know…  Licensing drivers is up to each state in Mexico and, according to Alvin Starkman, Oaxaca “has done away with virtually all licensing requirements relating to safety: no written test, no road test, no eye test.”  Consider yourself forewarned. 😉

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I love the carved masks worn in many of the traditional dances in Mexico and, thus, made a bee-line to the current exhibition at the Palacio de Gobierno, Máscaras de Juxtlahuaca — part of the month-long celebration of Guelaguetza.

Most of the masks in the show are the work of  Alejandro Guzman Vera, a native of Santiago Juxtlahuaca in the Mixtec region of Oaxaca.  He was born in 1972 and, as a young child, made his first mask of cardboard and painted it with crayons.  At age 12, he carved his first wooden mask.  He went on to study at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plasticas and has become one of the premier mask-makers in Mexico.  He has exhibited world-wide and is one of the honored Grandes Maestros del Arte Popular de Oaxaca, profiled in the book by the same name.  By the way, he is not only a mask-maker, but also an accomplished musician and is playing a role in the rescue of the traditional music of Juxtlahuaca.

(Click on an image to enlarge it and to enable a slideshow.)

Dancers from Santiago Juxtlahuaca will be performing the Danza de los Rubios in the morning Guelaguetza presentation on July 27 and will, no doubt, be wearing masks, cracking their whips, and jingling their spurs during the Procession of Delegations on the preceding Saturday.  For a glimpse at the Danza de los Rubios and to get a feeling for some of the music Alejandro Guzman Vera is involved in saving, here is a snippet from last year’s Guelaguetza performance:

Masks are donned not only for the Danza de los Rubios, but also for the Danza de los Diablos and the Danza del Macho, which are performed at various annual festivals in the region.  Once carved and painted, the wooden masks can be embellished with glass eyes and real animal teeth and horns of bulls, goats, or deer.  They are an amazing sight to see!

The Máscaras de Juxtlahuaca exhibition at the Museo del Palacio in Oaxaca city closes August 28, 2015.

(This blog post is especially for you, Jane and Ken!)

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It’s been one year since the passing of maestro Arnulfo Mendoza Ruíz.

Tejedor de los sueños by Charles Barth

Tejedor de los sueños by Charles Barth (alas, with reflections from other pieces)

To honor his life, an exhibit of works by his friends, colleagues, and family was inaugurated at La Mano Mágica on March 13, 2015.

ManoMagica exhibit

His older son, Gabriel Mendoza Gagnier, curated this amazing collection of paintings, weaving, and artesanía.

Assisted by Arnulfo’s companion, Yukiko, the opening featured, not only amazing art, but also mezcal, tamales, and surprise entertainment by Carnaval dancers from San Martín Tilcajete, wearing masks carved by some of the well-known carvers from the village, including Inocenio Vásquez and Jésus Sosa Calvo.

Jésus Sosa Calvo had carved the signature entry sign for La Mano Mágica and recently, unasked, came by to freshen up the paint that had faded over the years under the intense Oaxaca sun.

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While, in the words of Manuel Matus Manzo,  Arnulfo Mendoza may have gone on “to meet the Jaguar and the god Murcielago,” the dreams of his magical hands remain.

Finally, this beautiful poem by Alberto Blanco from the exhibit’s catalog…

Mitades a Arnulfo

I
La mitad de la tierra
no sueña con la luna.
La mitad de la luna
no sueña con el sol.

Si la luna es la trama,
y si el sol es la urdimbre,
esa tierra es la tela
donde acaso se vive.

II
La vida es la comedia
ya la muerte es el drama,
pero el textil de siempre
es la urdimbre y la trama.

La mitad de la vida,
la mitad de la muerte:
una tela tejida
con un hilo de suerte.

 

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Tomorrow, it will be 43 days since the 43 students at the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos, teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero went missing.  Images of the missing are being posted online and on walls.

Person putting photos of missing students on wall

Oaxaca, along with the rest of Mexico, is heartbroken and outraged that her sons have not been found.  “We are not sheep to be killed whenever they feel like it”  Emiliano Navarrete, father of one of the missing students, declared following a meeting with Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto.

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As the brilliant Día de los Muertos colors of cempasúchil (marigolds), cresta de gallo (celosia or cockscomb), and roses began to fade, a massive march, led by the parents of the missing, filled the streets of Mexico City on November 5.

Graffiti: Ayotzinapa Oaxaca Resiste

And, Oaxaca continues to add her voice on walls, in the streets, and at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (MACO).

Entrance to MACO with Ayotzinapa exhibit announcement

… where a beautiful poem, simply entitled “Ayotzinapa,” fills one of the walls of the courtyard.

Ayotzinapa

Mordemos la sombra
Y en la sombra
Aparecen los muertos
Como luces y frutos
Como vasos de sangre
Como piedras de abismo
Como ramas y frondas
De dulces vísceras

Los muertos tienen manos

Empapadas de angustia
Y gestos inclinados
En el sudario del viento
Los muertos llevan consigo
Un dolor insaciable

Esto es el país de las fosas
Señoras y señores
Este es el país de los aullidos
Este es el país de los niños en llamas
Este es el país de las mujeres martirizadas
Este es el país que ayer apenas existía
Y ahora no se sabe dónde quedó

Estamos perdidos entre bocanadas
De azufre maldito
Y fogatas arrasadoras
Estamos con los ojos abiertos
Y los ojos los tenemos llenos
De cristales punzantes

Estamos tratando de dar
Nuestras manos de vivos
A los muertos y a los desaparecidos
Pero se alejan y nos abandonan
Con un gesto de infinita lejanía

El pan se quema
Los rostros se queman arrancados
De la vida y no hay manos
Ni hay rostros
Ni hay país

Solamente hay una vibración
Tupida de lágrimas
Un largo grito
Donde nos hemos confundido
Los vivos y los muertos

Quien esto lea debe saber
Que fue lanzado al mar de humo
De las ciudades
Como una señal del espíritu roto

Quien esto lea debe saber también
Que a pesar de todo
Los muertos no se han ido
Ni los han hecho desaparecer

Que la magia de los muertos
Está en el amanecer y en la cuchara
En el pie y en los maizales
En los dibujos y en el río

Demos a esta magia
La plata templada
De la brisa

Entreguemos a los muertos
A nuestros muertos jóvenes
El pan del cielo
La espiga de las aguas
El esplendor de toda tristeza
La blancura de nuestra condena
El olvido del mundo
Y la memoria quebrantada
De todos los vivos

Ahora mejor callarse
Hermanos
Y abrir las manos y la mente
Para poder recoger del suelo maldito
Los corazones despedazados
De todos los que son
Y de todos
Los que han sido

David Huerta
2 de noviembre de 2014. Oaxaca

Photos of the 43 students pasted on wall

Update:  Just hours after posting this, the worst has been announced.  According to Mexico’s attorney general, “The 43 Mexican students who disappeared near Iguala, in southern Mexico in September, were kidnapped by police on order of the mayor, and turned over to a gang that killed them and burned their bodies before throwing the remains in a river….”  — CNN

I can’t even begin to imagine the pain the parents must be feeling with the knowledge of the suffering and brutality their sons endured.  I am so sad and tears are welling up.  I think I will just let them fall…

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On Saturday, we drove to San Bartolo Coyotepec for the opening of the exhibition, Colorum, an exhibit of art by the children of Oaxaca, mounted as part of tomorrow’s el Día del Niño (Children’s Day) celebrations.  We went primarily to support my friend Juan, as his son Allan was one of the young artists participating in the show.  However, we stayed because it was a wonderfully inspiring and uplifting experience and I applaud the Museo Estatal de Arte Popular Oaxaca (MEAPO) for encouraging and showcasing the imagination and creativity of the children of Oaxaca.

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What is given to children, the children will give to society.

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Children are the most important resource in the world and the best hope for the future.

The free imagination transforms the world and makes things fly.

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The Colorum exhibition lasts until May 20, 2014.  It is open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Tuesday through Sunday.

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No, not a newly discovered mutant killer variety — only one of the sculptures currently hanging out along the Alcalá.  It is part of a public art exhibit, “El migrante,” by Oaxaqueño artisit, Fernando Andriacci.

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I think I’ve mentioned several times before, Oaxaca is filled with art — in the streets, museums, and galleries.  New venues crop up regularly and exhibit openings, replete with mezcal, cervesa, and botanas, seem to occur a couple of times a week.  I can’t keep track!

A few days ago, on our way to La Popular for tortas, my friend (and artist) Laurie Fisher and I stopped by the Galería Noel Cayetano Arte Contemporaneo to see the current exhibit, Los Apóstoles (The Apostles).  Male and female, they are all self portraits by Nayarit born sculpture and painter, Vladimir Cora.

Cora dedicated the exhibition to all all those who do their job well have not been corrupted.  “Todos tenemos un apostolado y si lo haces honestamente, esta exposición es para ti.” — Vladimir Cora (Noticias, 10 agosto 2013)

The Cayetano gallery is upstairs at the Plaza Santo Domingo, M. Alcalá 405-30 in Oaxaca city.

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Oaxaca is alive with street art these days — even more than usual and that’s saying a lot!  As part of their Hecho en Oaxaca (Made in Oaxaca) exhibition, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca) invited a dozen well-known and accomplished urban artists to transform the walls of the museum and the Historic District of the city.

A lifetime ago, prior to becoming a librarian, I was a registered nurse, first working in a hospital and then as a visiting nurse.  The current MACO exhibit reminded me of one of the primary reasons why I much preferred the latter — it was the creativity needed in creating treatment plans to provide care in a patient’s often-times challenging home environment.

The imagination and inventiveness required to create art on crumbling walls with windows, doors, meters, and electrical boxes, never ceases to amaze me.  As you can see below, even in MACO, that same vision is evident in the use of the museum’s many rooms and courtyards — including incorporating doorways, window sills, and colonial era frescos.

 Yescka

Retna

Dr Lakra

Swoon

Saner

If you love Oaxaca’s street art, get yourself to MACO.  The exhibition runs through the first week of October 2013.

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Oaxaca is mourning the loss of painter, Juan Alcázar Méndez, who succumbed to complications related to diabetes yesterday.

Juan Alcázar Méndez.  Photo from Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes

Juan Alcázar Méndez. Photo from Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes

Alcázar was born in Guadalupe Etla, Oaxaca in 1955 and entered the School of Fine Arts at the University Benito Juarez of Oaxaca at the age of 13.   He became known for his unique magic realism style.

Painting from fundraising auction by the Oaxaca Lending Library, 2010.

Painting from fundraising auction by the Oaxaca Lending Library, 2010

He was the founder of the Taller Rufino Tamayo, el Taller de Gráfica en la Casa de la Cultura, and the Taller Libre de Gráfica Oaxaqueña.  He was also one of the artists exhibited in the at the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco in 2012.

"El Rapto" at the The Magic Surrealists of Oaxaca exhibition 2012, San Francisco, CA.

“El Rapto” from the The Magic Surrealists of Oaxaca exhibition 2012, San Francisco, CA.

RIP, Juan Alcázar Méndez.  You will be missed but your magic will live on.

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As hoped, I managed to make my way to the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco for .  It’s the exhibit (I mentioned a few days ago) that celebrates the Zapotec artists of Oaxaca from Rufino Tamayo and Francisco Toledo to those they encouraged and influenced.

On the consulate’s ground floor the scene was a familiar one — signage and conversations en español; the eagle, serpent and green, white, and red of the Mexican flag prominently displayed; waiting room filled with patiently waiting people — a sliver of Mexico in San Francisco.  Climbing the two flights of stairs (elevator was broken) up to the third floor, a friend and I found the exhibit…

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According to the article, Oaxacan surrealism hits the SF Mexican consulate, the consulate’s cultural affairs attache, Marimar Suárez Peñalva, hopes the gallery and its exhibitions will offer Mexican expats an opportunity to connect with the creativity, not just the bureaucracy (my word), of their culture.  However, I don’t know how many of those waiting on the first floor make it up to the third floor; early in the afternoon, we had the gallery to ourselves.

And yes, works by Tamayo and Toledo are included, but I thought I’d feature some of the lesser known artists.  By the way, did you notice the name, Alejandro Santiago Ramírez?  This is the same Alejandro Santiago of the 2501 Migrantes sculptures that I’ve previously written about.

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I’m again in the San Francisco Bay Area, visiting family and friends and taking care of the odds and ends of still maintaining a presence here, while living in Oaxaca.  We’ve had clear blue skies and sun and, except for the high-speed pace and exorbitant price of food, it “almost” feels like home.  Hey, I even bought some resin chairs for my son’s backyard and ate some of the best Mexican food ever (in the USA) at Doña Tomás in Oakland.  (FYI:  The Callos con Sopa de Elote — puréed corn soup with seared day boat scallops and fingerling potatoes, roasted poblano chiles and cilantro, served with arroz achiote — was divine.)

To also keep from getting too homesick for Oaxaca, there are a currently a couple of exhibits in San Francisco I plan to see while here.  I found out about The Magic Surrealists of Oaxaca, Mexico from the Oaxacan surrealism hits the SF Mexican consulate article in the SFBG, which explains…

Aquatint etching

Francisco Toledo’s aquatint etching “Self Portrait”

The Zapotec identity … is one of the unifiers of the exhibit, which contains the works of not only [Rufino] Tamayo and [Francisco] Toledo but also artists who were inspired by their work like Justina Fuentes Zárate, she of the reclining mermaid and arresting red dress. Perhaps the works don’t look similar, but they represent the diversity and breadth of the work to come out of the surrealist Zapotec tradition in Oaxaca.

And, then I read the NPR story, In Mexico, Mixed Genders And ‘Muxes’, about a Galería de la Raza exhibit.

Parade of Muxes in traje of Juchitán

Photo from the exhibit

Searching for Queertopia revisits the experiences of Alexander Hernandez’s participation and Neil Rivas’ visual documentation of what is called, the Vela de ‘Las Intrépidas.’ This event, a 3-day celebration, is held annually in the town of Juchitán de Zaragoza, Oaxaca, México, in honor of its Muxe community.

Hmmm… maybe I’ll take the ferry over to “The City” tomorrow.

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There are only a few more days left to be delighted by “Manos que crean y ojos que leen” (Hands that create and eyes that read), a whimsical exhibition of popular art at the Biblioteca Andrés Henestrosa.  The pieces were commissioned by Rosa Blum (who, with Henry Wangeman, owns Oaxaca’s bilingual bookstore Amate Books) to celebrate reading and promote the incredibly creative artisans of Oaxaca who were suffering from a drop in tourism following the social conflict of 2006.

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So…  If you are in Oaxaca, be sure to see it before it closes at the end of this month.  If not, you might want to consider a trip down here (Oaxaca is NOT on the US State Department travel warning list), visit some of these artisans in their villages, see their work up close and personal, and perhaps purchase a few unique treasures from these talented people.

For other pieces in the exhibit, see Chris’s photos over at Oaxaca-The Year After.

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