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Posts Tagged ‘La Ruta del Migrante’

Yesterday, in the midst of Guelaguetza festivities, Oaxaca learned of the death of one of her beloved artists.   A sculpture and painter, Alejandro Santiago was only 49 years old when he succumbed to a massive hear attack.

Image of Alejandro Santiago projected on screen at Homage

Image of Alejandro Santiago projected on the screen at today’s Homage

Perhaps his most important work resulted from a return to the Zapotec village of his birth, San Pedro Teococuilco, after many years away.  He was moved by the large numbers of men and women who had left, leaving it almost deserted.  Inspired and feeling the need to make a statement about what had happened to his pueblo, and countless others in Mexico, he created a massive exhibition of 2501 sculptures, an homage to those who had left, plus one — those who are yet to make the journey northward.

One of his 2501 Migrants from a 2012 exhibit along Macedonio Alcalá,

One of his 2501 Migrants from a 2012 exhibit along Macedonio Alcalá,

There was an Homage to Maestro Alejandro Santiago this morning at the Teatro Macedonio Alcalá.

Casket of Alejandro Santiago on the stage of Teatro Macedonio Alcalá

Casket of Alejandro Santiago on the stage of Teatro Macedonio Alcalá

And, according to Think Mexican, there will be a memorial “in the coming days at La Calera.”

For more photos from the 2501 Migrants exhibit, see my blog post The path of the migrant.

Update:  Valerie J. Nelson has written a lengthy tribute to Alejandro Santiago for the Los Angeles Times.

RIP, Maestro.

 

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… let us walk together.  And we, in Oaxaca city, have been for the past several weeks thanks to Oaxaca born artist Alejandro Santiago.

The streets and sidewalks around Santo Domingo have been peopled with “La Ruta del Migrante – Caminemos Juntos,” his heart wrenching sculptures representing the 2,501 migrantes, men and women, who have left his pueblo of San Pedro Teococuilco almost deserted.

No two sculptures are the same; each is a tribute to the unique individuals who, most certainly with great reluctance, left the homes of their families and ancestors to make their way north in search of jobs.  The pain in their contorted bodies, their faces, and their feet causes me to pause every time I pass.  I’ll let the images speak for themselves and ask the questions societies all over the world need to answer.

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These migrantes on the streets of Oaxaca are scheduled to disappear at the end of the month and I don’t know where they are next headed.  However, two documentaries have been made about Santiago’s tribute to migrantes:  Twenty Five Hundred & One by Patricia Van Ryker and 2501 Migrants: A Journey directed by Yolanda Cruz.

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… and it never gets old, at least not for me!  Thus yesterday, returning from picking up a newly repaired sandal at the zapatero (shoemaker), a parade along the Alcalá had me happily stopping.

Women in embroidered black velvet costumes and wearing white lace head pieces arm in arm with men in black pants, white shirts, red neck kerchief and carrying a sombrero

Judging by the traje (costume), what is popularly known north of the border as Frida Kahlo style clothing, the elaborate multicolored embroidery on black velvet and the signature starched white lace head pieces, immediately said the Isthmus region of Oaxaca, the area along the Gulf of Tehuantepec.

A banda led off the procession with, of course, the requisite tuba.

Man carrying a shiny brass tuba

A marlin out-of-water  followed the band.  Actually, a friend and I had a discussion about what kind of fish it was.  Marlin (blue and black), sailfish, and swordfish are found in the waters of the Gulf of Tehuantepec.  After looking at this website, I’m thinking this guy is a marlin, but who knows???

Man carrying a large grey marlin on his head

Once home and photos downloaded, the detective work began; trying to figure out what this was all about.   Putting together the information I could glean from the banners and a little research, I think this was a parade by people from San Blas Atempa celebrating a traditional fiesta titular.

Woman carrying banner, surrounded by women in bright pink skirs and black emboidered huipiles.

Naturally, there weren’t just beautifully dressed adults.  Adorable little boys…

Little boy wearing black pants, white shirt, red neck kerchief, and sombrero

and girls kept up the pace on this bright sunny 80+ degree day.

Little girl in full embroidered black velvet attiren and including white lace headpiece, looking at the camera.

I wasn’t the only one watching… Alejandro Santiago’s growing army of Migrantes stood transfixed.  (Well, actually they are literally affixed to the sidewalks and streets with some sort of gooey glue.)

Tejuana women carrying banner, as they pass Migrante sculptures lining the street.

Just another day and another parade in paradise!

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I don’t know the details or even if it is all that it is cracked up to be.  However, I can’t help but wonder… Where is the USA?

Ceramic sculptures of immigrants“La Ruta del Migrante” exhibit by Alejandro Santiago, in front of Santo Domingo in Oaxaca de Juárez (more on this exhibit to come)

Oaxaca’s Government and UFCW Canada Sign Agreement to Protect Mexican Migrant Workers in Canada

OAXACA, MEXICO–(Marketwire -01/17/12)- Migrant workers from the Mexican state of Oaxaca traveling to Canada will receive better protection this 2012 season after the signing of an agreement between the Instituto Oaxaqueno de Atencion a Migrantes (IOAM) and UFCW Canada.

On Monday, Wayne Hanley, National President of UFCW Canada, and Rufino Dominguez, Director of the IOAM signed a co-operation agreement to protect and assist Oaxacan migrants working temporarily in Canada. The agreement addresses issues of human rights, labor rights and social security, proposing a framework for transnational cooperation.

“Mexican migrant workers make an enormous contribution to the Canadian society and economy,” says National President Hanley. “This must be acknowledged and we look forward to working with Mexican institutions to improve the living and working conditions of Mexican migrant workers in Canada.”

UFCW Canada and the IOAM will collaborate to increase the level of protection of Oaxacan migrants before, during and after their stay in Canada. From now on, Oaxacan workers will be assisted in Canada through the network of 10 agriculture worker support centers operated by UFCW Canada in association with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA).

The centres offer Spanish-speaking staff who deal with legal support services and training in human rights, labor rights, housing, and health and safety problems. Services also include a toll-free telephone assistance number from anywhere in Canada and Mexico, both for workers and their families.

Meanwhile, the IOAM will benefit from workshops offered by UFCW Canada to insure workers receive proper information about their rights. The plan of action will therefore focus not only on legal assistance, but also on prevention, information, and training of migrant workers. The program will also will help the migrant workers access Canadian legal benefits to which they are entitled.

The IOAM consolidates its commitment to the people of Oaxaca, actively developing policies to protect its citizens abroad. Other actors who have joined this international cooperation strategy with UFCW Canada include the governments of Michoacan, Tlaxcala and Distrito Federal, as well as two of the biggest agricultural workers labour federations. In this spirit of cooperation, the federal temporary worker programs will continue to be an important link for labour between Mexico and Canada, and these cooperation partnerships will strengthen the programs by involving all the strategic partners to ensure the workers’ experience is fair, safe and productive.

Contact:

UFCW Mexico
Andrea Galvez Gonzalez
3300 6144
Cell: 55 31 26 24 21
andrea.galvez@ufcw.mx
www.ufcw.ca

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