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Posts Tagged ‘urban art’

One of the joys of living in Oaxaca de Juárez is being able to walk most everywhere I need to go. On this particular day, I headed 2 km. south to Veana Oaxaca Mayoreo in search of more plastic chairs for my terrace. Though the route, which took me down Calle de Xicoténcatl, wasn’t one I normally followed, nor along the most scenic and/or quaint of streets, it still had scenes to surprise and delight.

Given that my mission was successful, the young male sales clerk hoisted the six chairs I’d purchased and carried them half a block, where he set them down on the sidewalk at the next intersection, telling me this was the best location to hail a taxi. An empty taxi appeared within three minutes. More reasons why I love Oaxaca!

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It has now been almost a month of wind, rain, and fifty shades of grey skies and I am more than ready to return to the land of light and color. In the meantime, I’m channeling the murals of Oaxaca’s Barrio de Xochimilco — where even greys come with rainbows of color.

¡Hasta pronto Oaxaca!

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The Día de Muertos murals in my Barrio de Jalatlaco neighborhood continue to go forth and multiply…

As do the crowds. Love the former. No comment about the latter.

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One day there was a blank wall. By the next day, the wall had turned into a canvas for a gigantic mural. The story soon unfolded…

The piece was commissioned to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of INFONAVIT (the federal government’s home loan institution). Ricardo Ángeles designed the mural and the work was carried out with the collaboration of the acclaimed, Taller Jacobo y María Ángeles.

That first day, after chatting with María, she scrambled up on the scaffolding to continue working along with the team of painters.

A couple of days later, there was Jacobo, in his signature white shirt, on his knees painting details on the image of the dog.

Despite late season rains, the work went quickly and I couldn’t believe my eyes at the progress by day five.

The team (listed above) did an amazing job. With pots of plants replacing caution cones and scaffolding, the finished mural was inaugurated yesterday. It is located on 5 de mayo, between Calle de la Noche Triste and Calle de la Alianza in Barrio de Jalatlaco.

By the way, the people in the mural sure look a lot like a young Jacobo, Ricardo, Sabina, and María — la familia Ángeles.

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Over the past several years, one can’t help but notice that Oaxaca has become much more pet friendly.

In place of the formerly ubiquitous roof dogs menacingly peering down and barking at pedestrians, images of silent dogs and cats look out from walls along the sidewalks.

Veterinary offices have sprung up all over the city, dog walkers have become a “thing,” many businesses are placing water bowls outside their entrances, and restaurants are welcoming pets — cat photos that follow are from the mural outside La Selva de los Gatos Cat Cafe vegetarian restaurant.

Thanks to the efforts of various sterilization clinics in the valley, one doesn’t encounter nearly as many street dogs and feral cats.

If you are so inclined, Huellas de Ayuda Oaxaca and Teo Tails are a couple of clinics that could use financial and volunteer assistance.

Just look at these faces. What’s not to love?

Of course there is the occasional big cat.

And, not to be overlooked, armadillos are known to appear.

No matter the species of animal, on August 31, in celebration of the feast day of San Ramón Nonato, they can accompany their humans to be blessed at Templo de Nuestra Señora de la Merced at 4:00 PM. If years past are any indication, it should be a colorful and lively event.

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Returning home from the trip to el norte, I discovered an animal crossing in the works near my local Pitico.

Thanks to the artist, Waffloide, it’s a jungle out there!

Now I can’t get The Lion Sleeps Tonight out of my head.

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The walls of Oaxaca always have a lot to say. Now you can learn the abecedario a señas (sign language alphabet) from a wall on 5 de mayo in Barrio de Jalatlaco.

In mid April, this new mural was unveiled. Organized by Maestro Rolando Sigüenza, deaf artists Jonatan Martínez, Juan Antonio García, Moisés Antonio Orozco, María Soledad Aguilar, Blanca Flor Pineda, Miguel Eduardo Mancera, Jesús Ariel Castellanos, Mitzi Scheherazada, Rebeca Casas, Susana Hernánez, Marcial Pérez, Emmanuel Ignacio, Cristhian Yépez, and Ángel Iván Torres painted a mural of the alphabet in sign language and braille.

Benito Juárez signing.

The text below Benito Juárez explains, “On November 28, 1867, Benito Juárez founded the first school for deaf people in Mexico, which at that time was called the National School for the Deaf, despite the fact that the School was closed, the deaf continue to fight for our rights.”

Danza de la Pluma danzante signing.

The owner of the property, la señora Rosario Martínez, said she provided the space so these artists could show their work and to beautify the neighborhood.

China Oaxaqueña with canasta spelling AMOR (LOVE).

Does anyone know what Benito Juárez and the danzante are signing?

My plan is to learn a new letter each time I walk by.

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Breaking news up here in el norte, relayed to me via email from friends in San Francisco and in a phone conversation with my BFF in Alaska: The most recent episode of House Hunters International took place in Oaxaca AND one of the houses featured was in my neighborhood, Barrio de Jalatlaco. My SF friends described the very distinctive building facade and I knew exactly where it was — and had taken several photographs of it.

According to the episode’s description, “A young couple decides to leave their home in Memphis and move sight unseen to Oaxaca, Mexico. They’re both fitness junkies who want a taste of the mountains and nature, and he wants a place on the outskirts, but she prefers to be near the city center.”

Sight unseen? In any case (spoiler alert), my friends informed me the young fitness junkies turned it down as it was too small and dark.

I haven’t seen the episode, but I have seen the show and it never ceases to amaze and dismay me that most of the time, the buyers and renters come to developing countries with highly developed expectations AND wanting it all for a fraction of the cost in their home countries.

The rent was $1100 (US) per month — low in most US cities but extremely high for most Oaxaqueños. Such is rental inflation wrought by, among other things, digital nomads willing to pay whatever their bank balances will bear, never mind the impact on the local economy, and the proliferation of apartments being turned into Airbnb rentals.

Something to think about from, The End of Tourism Podcast interview with Daniel Pinchbeck:

And many of the people that I know have become, you know, quote unquote “digital nomads.” So if they’re doing like lifestyle coaching or marketing or tech or whatever, they can basically do that from anywhere in the planet. And obviously because they’re wealthy and come with money to restaurants and buy goods, there’s desirability for them to make a second home someplace or whatever.

… I think that often we see in the world over the last decades kind of like homogenization, cultural homogenization.

… And so the tourism which ends up taking Western first world values and spreading them everywhere acts as kind of a larger imperialist, colonialist kind of project that can lead to the deterioration of the integrity of local cultures and very few countries and cultures have had the capacity to kind of build the defense structure, recognizing the danger of this.

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Is it just my imagination or is there a face hidden in this entry?

Now I can’t get The Beatles, I’ve Just Seen a Face out of my head. Oh, and now Traffic with Steve Winwood singing Smiling Phases. Yes, I know I’m dating myself, but we had some pretty unforgettable music back in the day!

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On the walls of Barrio de Jalatlaco, there is always dancing on the cobblestone streets.

And, it’s not just during La Guelaguetza that the sights and sounds of real life dancers can be heard and seen in the neighborhoods of Oaxaca, calendas (parades) celebrating festivals, weddings, graduations, and more are part of the life and soundtrack of Oaxaca.

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Spring has sprung in the valley of Oaxaca and that means the hottest and driest months are upon us. Despite conventional wisdom, the temperatures actually cool down a little in the summer, when the afternoon/evening rains come. I confess, this time of year, when the thermometer hovers around 90º (Fahrenheit), by early afternoon my energy is sapped and motivation melts away. Hence, blog posts are few and far between. However, today is a little cooler and my blog’s namesake inspired me to let my fingers not just hover over keyboard, but actually type!

Colibríes in murals seen on walls around the city…

Artist: Marcos Lucero
Artist unknown

A few of the colibríes seen in the art and artesanía in my Casita Colibrí home…

Watercolor by Estefani Hernández
Hand-painted pillow by Pilar Miranda
Tin hummingbird purchased at MARO

Speaking of hovering, a little information from the book, Colibríes de México y Norteamérica/ Hummingbirds of México and North America to go along with the pretty pictures:

Hummingbirds are noted for their incredible ability to fly. They can hover suspended in the air and can fly in any direction, even sideways and backwards, allowing them to reach their food anywhere. Their powerful chest muscles are extremely developed (they can account for around 30% of their body mass) and this allows them to beat their wings very rapidly, from an incredible 80 wing beats per second, up to a staggering 200 wing beats per second when performing certain maneuvers during courtship. Their muscles also allow them to reach amazing speeds, ranging from 50 to 95 km/hr when diving in flight during courtship.

A .pdf of the book is free to download from the above link.

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On International Women’s Day, a mural in Barrio de Jalatlaco…

Girls have the power

Mural by the Mad In crew celebrating the life of María Antonieta Chagoya Méndez, a lawyer who, among many other notable activities, shared her legal knowledge with civil associations and founded the Rotary Center for Autism Intervention, which served children with special needs.

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Three days ago, as I was walking up Calle 5 de mayo in Barrio de Jalatlaco to pay my cable TV bill, I came upon an artist at work.

This afternoon, I retraced my steps to see if the artist known as HAZHE IS had completed this newest mural in the neighborhood.

I don’t know if it’s finished, but I do know (IMHO) it is a welcome (and welcoming) addition to the view when departing the ADO bus station across the street. ¡Salud!

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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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In Mexico, Valentine’s Day is known as Día del Amor y la Amistad (Day of Love and Friendship) — a sentiment that honors and celebrates more than just romantic love.

Recyclying heart by Noel Gómez Lorenzo — in front of Oaxaca’s Cathedral during the summer of 2021.

From my heart and home to yours, I wish all my blog readers, ¡Feliz Día del Amor y la Amistad!

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