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Posts Tagged ‘mural’

Our first stop on day five of B’s Week in Oaxaca was the Palacio de Gobierno to see the magnificent Mural of Oaxaca history.  Ooops!  I had forgotten that the Government Palace was now closed to the public.  However, a polite appeal to see the mural, addressed to one of the guards by a couple of tourists (okay, one tourist and one resident), resulted in the guard receiving permission from a superior to let us in.  We were instructed, mural only!  We obeyed, walking only half-way up the grand staircase to take in the entire work of art.  I love this mural by Arturo García Bustos and hope the palacio will again be opened to the public.

Once we had finished marveling at the Bustos history of Oaxaca, we walked up the Macedonio Alcalá to the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (MACO) to check out the Espejos de Cal mural being painted in the courtyard by Jesús González.  Engrossed in watching the mural unfold and fascinated in the technique explained by the artist’s Russian assistant, we never made it inside this treasure of a museum.  Next time!

We strolled further up the Alcalá to the Instituto de Artes Gráficas de Oaxaca (IAGO), founded in 1988 by renown artist, philanthropist, and social activist, Francisco Toledo.  First we wandered through the exhibition rooms and then into the impressive library.  The 60,000+ books on art, architecture, design, photography, and much more is one of the most extensive arts-related collections in Latin America.  A photography professor friend raved to me about finding a book at IAGO that he had been searching for and B (the architect) was ooh-ing and ahh-ing at titles he eyed — and pulled a few off the shelves to leaf through.  IAGO also hosts lectures, conferences, musical performances, workshops, poetry readings, and film showings.

Needless to say, by the time we finally left, we were hungry.  Lucky for us, the acclaimed restaurant Pitiona was only a block away.  Born in Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca, Chef José Manuel Baños spent time in Spain under the tutelage of innovative chefs Feran Adrià and Juan Mari Arzak.  However, as the name Pitiona (a native herb frequently used in Oaxacan cooking) suggests, the starting point for Baños is local ingredients.  The simple elegance of the old colonial building and attention to detail in table settings, service, and especially food, made for a sublime interlude in the day’s activities.

We descended the stairs of Pitiona to the sound of music coming from the atrium of Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán.  It was Saturday and that means wedding day at Santo Domingo – each featuring a band, folkloric dancers, marmotas (giant cloth balloons), bride and groom monos (giant puppets), a wedding procession down the Alcalá, and scores of tourists and locals stopping to watch — which we did, too!

Our final stop was at the photography museum Centro Fotográfico Manuel Álvarez Bravo, another brainchild of Francisco Toledo.  The museum has over 18,000 photographs in its permanent collection, including by its namesake Manuel Álvarez Bravo, his first wife Lola Alvarez Bravo, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Tina Modotti, Guillermo Kahlo (yes, Frida Kahlo’s father), and Mary Ellen Mark.  Works from the collection and by photographers from all over the world are exhibited in galleries surrounding a beautiful courtyard featuring a reflecting pool.

However, that wasn’t the end.  After a siesta, we gathered with eight other diners for a Waje pop-up dinner.  The June menu was an homage to mole and the setting was at the restaurant Mezquite Gastronomia Y Destilado where Waje chef, José Daniel Delgado is the new chef.  As always, José Daniel and his Waje team provided a creative, delicious, and delightful evening.  An added bonus was being seated across from Jason Cox, co-owner and mezcal steward of El Destilado — a restaurant I definitely need to try.

Only one day left in B’s Week in Oaxaca.  Where to go?  What to do?  Stay tuned!

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Sunday afternoon at Casa Colonial in Oaxaca:  Sun filtering through the trees of a lush tropical garden, the smell of hamburgers and hotdogs grilling on a barbecue, a friendly bartender, and a great jazz combo.  What more could anyone want?

Thank you to the Casa’s owner Jane Robison and manager Amado Bolaños.  It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday.

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The US election results had come in and, with mixed feelings, I was preparing for a trip up into the belly of the beast, to visit family.  A mural seen shortly before I left, on the wall of contemporary art space La Curtiduria on 5 de mayo in Jalatlaco, seemed to speak to me.

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Today, after hearing of the death of Mose Allison, another musical great I had the privilege of seeing in person several times, I’m thinking the wall could very well have been singing…

Your Mind Is On Vacation
by Mose Allison

You’re sitting there yakkin’ right in my face
I guess I’m gonna have to put you in your place
Y’know if silence was golden
You couldn’t raise a dime
Because your mind is on vacation and your mouth is
Working overtime

You’re quoting figures, you’re dropping names
You’re telling stories about the dames
You’re always laughin’ when things ain’t funny
You try to sound like you’re big money
If talk was criminal, you’d lead a life of crime
Because your mind is on vacation and your mouth is
Working overtime

You know that life is short and talk is cheap
Don’t be making promises that you can’t keep
If you don’t like the song I’m singing, just grin and
Bear it
All I can say is if the shoe fits wear it
If you must keep talking please try to make it rhyme
‘Cause your mind is on vacation and your mouth is working
Overtime

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September 29 was Día Nacional del Maíz (National Day of Corn) in Mexico.  Corn was first cultivated approximately 8,000 years ago in the valley of Oaxaca and native varieties are still grown by the descendants of those original farmers.  This was a day to, not only pay homage to Mother Corn but, as Mexican painter Francisco Toledo reminded those along Oaxaca’s Alcalá, to continue the struggle to defend native corn against impending invasion by Monsanto and its genetically modified seeds.P1130669 The year revolves around the cycle of corn, which is planted in the same fields as beans and squash to make a perfect growing environment.P1130658The cornstalk grows, the bean plant crawls up the corn, and the squash vine sprawls out and shades the ground to keep it moist… Some of the corn is harvested in August and eaten fresh, while the rest is left on the stalks to dry.P1130662All parts of the corn plant are used — kernels, husks (for tamales), cobs (pig feed), and stalks (cow feed).  The dried corn is stored and used in many ways throughout the year.P1130675Text in italics is from the Seasons of My Heart cookbook by Susana Trilling.

The artists of the above, used the signature “olote” which is derived from Nahuatl word, olotl.  In English, it translates to “corncob” and “a nobody.”  Thank you to a couple of “nobodies,” Coral Saucedo and Ricardo Aeme, for such an expressive and beautiful piece of art honoring the sacred corn.

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Tonight, from the valley where corn was first cultivated, I’ll be watching my San Francisco Giants play game one of Major League Baseball’s, 2014 World Series.

I was amazed to discover that one of San Francisco’s ace relief pitchers, Yusmeiro Petit, the Giants’ do-everything man, played for the Oaxaca Guerreros in 2011!!!   The Guerreros, a Triple-A team in the Mexican League play at Estadio Eduardo Vasconcelos, within walking distance (albeit, a long walk) from my apartment.  I attended several of the Guerreros’ games in 2011 and, who knows, maybe I saw him.

When I was in Mexico, I always said to myself, “This is going to be my goal, to go back to the United States and be successful,” said Petit, through a translator. “I always knew that this could happen. I didn’t know how it was going to happen, but I knew this could happen.”  (from article, Giants’ do-everything man Petit ready for any task)

 (AP Photo/Don Boomer, File)

(AP Photo/Don Boomer, File)

And, from another article:

Petit thinks his experience with the Oaxaca Warriors was crucial in his career surge.   In Mexico he learned to mix his pitches and mastered the curve.  “I was in a slump, which happens to anyone,” he said. “But in Mexico I learned that I had to work harder to keep going and to reach what I was looking for, which was to come back (to the majors) and stay here.”

¡Felicidades Yusmeiro Petit y vamos Gigantes!

 

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What can I say?  I guess I have become a true Oaxaqueña — at least when it comes to temperatures below 70ºF.  Doors and windows have been closed all day, I’m wearing wool socks and a sweater, and space heater is on.  (Note to self:  Heater and toaster-oven cannot be turned on at the same time.)  Oaxaca is being visited by Tropical Depression Twenty-e (now, upgraded to Tropical Storm Trudy), the temperatures haven’t risen above 64ºF, and it’s been drizzling ALL day!!!  Trying to channel butterflies, blossoms, and sun flowers… even if they are blue!

Mural on the wall across from the mercado Sanchez Pascuas on Tinoco y Palacios.

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The little Embraer may have touched down in Oaxaca late Saturday night but, in the words of a long ago Buffalo Springfield song, I’m still “flying on the ground.”

Mural on the wall outside Academia de Arte Musical in Oaxaca.

Mural on the wall outside Academia de Arte Musical in Oaxaca.

Moving two days before a California and New York trip…  What was I thinking?

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Last night I walked down to Oaxaca’s Palacio de Gobierno at the south end of the zócalo.  This former government palace is now a museum and I was headed up to the second floor to see two more Oaxaca FilmFest3 films.  I was early, the building was mostly empty, and so I took the opportunity to really study the mural that graces the walls of the main staircase.  Painted in 1980 by Arturo García Bustos, the mural depicts the history of Oaxaca.

Coming up the stairs, to the left, the customs and lifestyle of the Mixtecs, Zapotecs, and Aztecs of pre-Hispanic times unfold.

As you ascend further, on the right wall the Spanish conquest is portrayed.

However, it is the center section of the mural that grabs the attention.  Best seen when one reaches the top, here Bustos, pulls out all the stops in representing the one hundred years from the War of Independence through the Reform Movement to the Mexican Revolution.

Featured in the upper right corner of this panel, wearing his signature red bandanna, is War of Independence hero, José María Morelos y Pavón.  He can also be seen in the lower right with a printing press, in his role as publisher of Oaxaca’s first newspaper, El Correo del Sur.  On the upper left is anarchist and Mexican revolutionary hero, Ricardo Flores Magón.  He is also pictured holding a banner reading, Tierra y Libertad (Land and Liberty).  Flores Magón is the namesake of the street that borders the west side of the Government Palace.

However, front and center is Oaxaca’s favorite son, Zapotec, former governor of Oaxaca, and Mexico’s much beloved five-term president, Benito Juárez.  He and his Oaxaqueña wife, Margarita Maza, hover prominently above his Reform Movement cabinet.  The full text of the ribbon is a quote by Juárez, “El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz” (Respect for the rights of others is peace).  It appears on the State of Oaxaca’s coat of arms.

Juárez is also pictured along with the cabinet and third from his right stands another Oaxaqueño, the young, menacing-looking, and far from beloved by the 99%, Porfirio Díaz, trademark epaulettes and all — a portend of things to come.

Following his death in 1872, the city and municipality of Oaxaca honored Benito Juárez by changing its name to Oaxaca de Juárez.

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