Posts Tagged ‘sand paintings’

Tapetes de arena (rugs of sand) are a traditional feature of the celebration in Oaxaca of Día de Muertos.  When I first arrived to live here, they were drawn in front of the Cathedral.  Next, they moved for a year or two to the Government Palace and for the last several years they have graced the Plaza de la Danza.  This year’s offerings were the work of twelve artisans and feature the most beloved and revered of the Jesús and María señores y señoras in Oaxaca.  This post will highlight the ladies…


Virgen Dolorosa — Our Lady of Sorrows


Virgen del Carmen — Our Lady of Mount Carmel


Sra. Virgen del Rosario — Our Lady of the Rosary

Interestingly, in previous years the themes of the sand paintings in these public spaces have been Día de Muertos related.  I’m not sure of why the change this year to religious imagery.  Indigenous Day of the Dead celebrations pre-date the arrival of the Spanish and the All Saints Day of the Catholic church.  And in Oaxaca, one of the most indigenous states in Mexico, as Shawn D. Haley points out in his book, Day of the Dead: When Two Worlds Meet in Oaxaca, “there is little of the Spanish influence to be found in the Oaxacan Day of the Dead.  The Spanish version… is bleak and dismal…. For the Oaxaqueñans, these days are… joyous and exuberant.  It is not a mourning of lost loved ones, but a celebration, a reunion with the dead.”


Santa María de Guadalupe — Our Lady of Guadalupe


Nuestra Señora de la Solidad — Our Lady of Solitude


Inmaculada Concepción de Juquila — Virgin of Juquila

For more of these sand paintings, check out the recent post by blogger buddy Chris.  By the way, the feast days for these last three señoras are coming up in December.  First on the calendar is Juquila on December 8, then comes Guadalupe on December 12,  and, finally, Oaxaca’s patron saint, Soledad on December 18.  There will be special masses, processions, and rockets. December is a noisy month!

But first, we must welcome the difuntos (departed) who begin arriving tonight.


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On the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour, I attended a press conference for the official unveiling of the website for a new play.  The play, La [medio] diezmada (the half-decimated), will have its world premiere on December 22 at the Teatro Juárez in Oaxaca.

4 cast members and writer/director/producer standing in front of a projection of the home page of the website.

Cast members:  Hugo Alberto Díaz Reyes, Mariela Blanco López, Esmeralda Aragón Zárate, and Fortunato Chávez, with Kurt Hackbarth (middle)

One of the inspirations for writer/director/producer, Kurt Hackbarth, was a photo he had seen of a half-alive/half-dead face in a sand painting.  In one of those amazing coincidences, I’d actually photographed the very same tapete de arena laid out on the Alameda in Oaxaca during Los días de muertos in 2009.

Sand painting with skulls on left and arm and leg of skeleton in middle.

Here is my close-up of the half living/half-dead face from the tapete above; the same face that triggered Kurt’s imagination…

Sand painting close-up of half and half face.

… and I cropped and used for the website banner.

Three half alive/half skull faces

If you find yourself in Oaxaca on December 22, I encourage you to attend this world premiere!  By the way, it’s a comedy!

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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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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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