Posts Tagged ‘public art’

Rufino Tamayo’s iconic sandía paintings and the thirtieth anniversary of the Oaxaca painter’s death, provided the inspiration for a tribute to the artist commissioned by promoter and curator, Nancy Mayagoitia. In an homage, thirty artists, all with connections to Oaxaca, interpreted large sculptural watermelon slices. The free public exhibition opened at the end of October 2021 in the Plaza de la Danza and then moved outside Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán adjacent to Oaxaca’s walking street, Macedonio Alcalá — where, as of a few of days ago, it continues to reside.

“Nuevo amanecer y eclipse” by Felipe Morales
“Tamayo coleccionista” by Guillermo Olguín
“Reunión de cinco reinos” by Román Llaguno
“Tierra del sol” by Eddie Martínez
“Sonata para Tamayo” by Ixrael Montes
“Gallos y mujer sin mandolina” by Saúl Castro
“El rockanrolero y sus fans” by Hugo Vélez

After working on this blog post, I can’t get “Watermelon Man” by Mongo Santamaria out of my head. The link is from their performance at the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. If you want to watch something singularly special and significant, I highly recommend that you to check out Summer of Soul, a 2021 documentary that beautifully chronicles the festival.

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Sometime last night, the recently inaugurated mural by the Tlacolulokos was defaced. And we are left asking, why?

The message, purportedly by anarchists (given the presence of their symbol) is calling the artists “Oaxaca indigenous traitors.” Due to their collaboration on the mural with the Canadian government??? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I am sad and angry at this attack on the right of artists to create without censorship or intimidation.

Update: The mural has been repaired. However, click HERE for a communiqué regarding why it was defaced.

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Today’s Google Doodle solves a little mystery leftover from my brief March visit to Mexico City.  Staying in Colonia Cuauhtemoc, making my way to Insurgentes metro stop took me across Paseo de la Reforma and past this beguiling sculpture.


I circumnavigated the sculpture on several occasions in an unsuccessful attempt at finding a plaque identifying the artist.  Thanks to today’s Google Doodle, now I know.  Titled, How Doth the Little Crocodile (also known simply as, Crocodile), it is by the late surrealist artist, writer, expat, and women’s liberation activist, Leonora Carrington, whose 98th birthday is being honored today.  The sculpture’s title comes from the Lewis Carroll poem by the same name.

Carrington led an extraordinary and fascinating life that was touched by many of the most important events and influential people of the twentieth century.  In 2000, she donated the sculpture to Mexico City, her adopted home for the latter part of her life, and it was moved to its current location in 2006.  How lucky for all whose paths cross this whimsical creation with its smiling jaws!

How Doth the Little Crocodile
by Lewis Carroll

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!

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“When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope.”  — Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  From the poster for the inauguration of the Árbol de la Diversidad (Tree of Diversity) on Macedonio Alcalá celebrating May 17, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

The Ombudsman for Human Rights of the People of Oaxaca said the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is an opportunity to become aware as a society of respect and acceptance that we owe to the other, a day that encourages us to live and work in building a more just, more humane, more egalitarian and fraternal society.  (Noticias, 17 mayo 2014)

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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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Today is International Women’s Day

Mural on the wall outside the Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas, Delegación Oaxaca, on Heroico Colegio Militar in Col. Reforma.

¡Feliz el Día Internacional de la Mujer!

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I’m moving in a few weeks… not far… just across the driveway… so much to do… so many details to deal with.  And, how in the world did I accumulate SO much “stuff” in such a small apartment in only 3-1/2 years??!!!




My sentiments, exactly!

*** Photos are of an art installation on the sidewalk of M. Bravo during the Ma(yo) en Oaxaca 2012.

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…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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Yesterday, having just posted Celebrating the Women of Oaxaca, I set off for my cataloging shift at the Oaxaca Lending Library.  As I turned up the Alcalá, I was greeted by bevy of beautiful and colorful women in all shapes, sizes, and lifestyles — Oaxaca’s tribute to women on International Women’s Day.  By the way, you can see in the distance in one of the photos, the Migrantes are still here.

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Meanwhile, down at the Government Palace, the City Council recognized the history and contribution of 10 women conferring upon each a Distinguished Citizen award; Zapotec women demanded justice for the disappeared and prisoners; and several city workers dismissed over a year ago (according to them, without cause) held a protest demanding reinstatement.

Thus was International Women’s Day in Oaxaca!

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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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As you may have gathered, one of the things I love about living down here is the pervasiveness of public art.  So, on a recent trip up to Mexico City, it should have come as no surprise to see the city is filled with heroic sculptures and abstract modern pieces, both serious and whimsical, for all to see, contemplate, and enjoy.

Even benches are an excuse to let the creativity flow.  (S)he is ready and willing to talk or just listen…

Vertigris ostrich bench

He will provide shelter from the storm OR scorching sun, as the case may be!

Aluminum bench topped with a whimsical red chair with lounging figure.

When it’s been an upside down kind of day, have a seat here.

Green metal bench with bottom of torso with legs "seated" on top.

Or, on a Sunday, when the Paseo de la Reforma is closed to traffic, you can park your bike and put a song in your heart!

Smiling young woman sitting on a black iron bench with musical notations; her lavender bike in front.

¡Buen día!

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… equals public art on Calzada Niños Héroes de Chapultepec, a section of the legendary Pan-American Highway in Oaxaca’s capital city.

On October 27, 2011, representatives from the groups Espantapájaros, Asaro, Bouler, Viyegax, Arte Jaguar, Lapiztola, and Uriel Marín set to work transforming a long drab wall into a work of art representing the social, cultural, and political life of Oaxaca and Mexico.  The wall of graffiti was part of the Puntos de Encuentro, Primer Festival de Artes Visuales Oaxaca 2011, previously mentioned in my mid-October blog post, Meeting Points….

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As of a few days ago, the artwork remains to catch the eye of drivers (yikes!), passengers, and pedestrians.

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