Posts Tagged ‘Plaza de la Danza’

…fighting in Oaxaca.

Colorful gigantic papermache bull

Corrida de Toros, as it is known in Mexico, was outlawed by, then governor of Oaxaca, Benito Juárez.  The ban was instituted throughout Mexico in 1867 by Juárez during his presidency.  Some say it was to “civilize” Mexico, but others contend it was for nationalistic reasons, as bullfighting had been a legacy of the Spanish conquest.  I tend to think the latter tipped the scales.

Close-up of the head of a colorful giant papermache bull

However, Porfirio Díaz reinstated it during his presidency, but the ban remained in Oaxaca in honor of her favorite son.  And thus, on the Plaza de la Danza, we have only a paper mache bull ready to charge at his shadow…

Design of fish heads, Mitla frets, triangular mountains, etc.

and serve as a canvas for imagery, ancient and contemporary.

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The tapetes de arena are finished and cover the stone flooring of the Plaza de la Danza.  Always difficult to photograph, the following are an experiment in cropping.

Centro de Educación Artística Miguel Cabrera

Casa de Cultura de Tlacolula de Matamoros

Escuela de Bellas Artes de la Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca

Several other organizations participated and among the unsigned are tapetes de arena from Casa de las Artesanías de Oaxaca, Sociedad Civil de Maestros Oaxaqueños del Arte Popular, and Grupo Colectivo Camaleón.

Walk with us…

And for those in el norte…

A happy and safe Halloween!


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The crescent moon keeps a watchful eye over the sand paintings in the Plaza de la Danza, by day…

Painting handing on wall above the Plaza de la Danza

and by night…

Crescent moon between the bell towers of San Jose church, in Oaxaca


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Work on the Días de Muerto tapetes de arena (sand paintings) began this morning…

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By the way, this year they are in the Plaza de la Danza and, as I write, the music of the Orchestra Infantil Libertad (a children’s orchestra) is serenading the completed tapetes de arena, the audience gathered at the Plaza de la Danza, and yours truly, sitting comfortably at her desk.

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In Mexico, from small pueblos (villages) to large ciudades (cities), most all have calles (streets) named Morelos and Hidalgo — some, like Oaxaca, have more than one, which can be very confusing when trying to find an address, to say the least!  The names Vicario and Ortiz de Domínguez aren’t nearly so commonplace.

However, two of the women (among countless unsung heroines) who played a major role in the struggle for independence from Spain were Leona Vicario and Josefa Ortiz Domínguez.  In a fitting tribute to their importance to the Independence movement, their giant portraits currently hang on the outside wall of the Municipal Building overlooking the Plaza de la Danza, along with those of Miguel Hidalgo de Costilla and José María Morelos y Pavón.

Portrait of Leona Vicario

Leona Vicario, 1789-1842

Leona Vicario provided money and medical support, helped fugitives, and served as a messenger.  After escaping from prison, she helped her husband, Andrés Quintana Roo, plan strategies on the battle field.

Portrait of Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez

Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, 1773-1829

Confined to house arrest after a co-conspirator betrayed the upcoming plans for revolt by the Independence movement, Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez was able to smuggle a message out, warning of the betrayal.

Portrait of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla

Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, 1753-1811

As a result, in the early morning of September 16, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang the church bells in Dolores, rallying the rebels, and issuing, what has come to be known as Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores), the signal to begin the War of Independence from Spain.  It is an event that is recreated all over Mexico at 11 PM on September 15.  (See the link re why it isn’t done in the early morning of September 16.)

Portrait of José María Morelos y Pavón

José María Morelos y Pavón, 1765-1815

The last portrait on the wall is that of José María Morelos y Pavón, of Afro-mestizo heritage, and, like Hidalgo, also a priest.  He was a capable military commander who assumed leadership of the independence movement after Hidalgo was executed.  For a local connection, on November 25, 1812, in what is thought of as a brilliant victory, Morelos, along with the support of Mariano Matamoros and Miguel Bravo, took the city of Oaxaca.  Fittingly, the streets Morelos and Matamoros run parallel and M. Bravo intersects them just a few blocks from the Municipal Building and the Plaza de la Danza.

(ps)  These portraits are painted directly on fine mesh screen… thus, the window bars showing through.

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