Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Roses and Revelations: Homage to the Virgin by Mexican textile artists

by Joyce Wycoff
Artist: Pascuala Vásquez Hernández
Zinacantán, Chiapas.

A unique, textile exhibit honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe and representing the work of textile artists from 52 Mexican communities will open at the State Museum of Oaxacan Folk Art (MEAPO) in San Bartolo Coyotepec, Oaxaca in December. The inauguration will be at 1:00 pm on Sunday, December 9. The show will be up until March 15, 2019.

The Virgin of Guadalupe is an omnipresent theme in the work of Mexican artisans and began to fascinate Linda Hanna, conceptualizer of this exhibit, at an early age on her first trip to Mexico.

Artist: Faustina Sumana García
San Juan Chilateca, Oaxaca.

Linda explains, "I first became aware of the Virgin of Guadalupe during a trip to Mexico that my family took in 1959. I watched as the devout approached the Basilica on their bandaged and sometimes bloody knees. This made a big impression on me at the age of thirteen, even though I was not Catholic."
Artist: Margarita Avendaño Luis
Pinotepa de Don Luis, Oaxaca.

The reverence for Guadalupe, fascinated Linda and she began to study the Virgins history starting with the miracle of her revelation on the cloak of Juan Diego, a local indigenous man, to the banner made in 1810 by the priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, featuring the Virgin in an effort to unite the people of Mexico in a struggle for independence, to her ever-present image throughout Mexico. 
After living in Oaxaca for a few years, Linda organized the first “Virgin Playday,” a festive gathering on December 12th (the Virgins saint day) in which women come together in her folk-art filled home to make their own sculptures of the Virgin. In 2017 there were almost forty participants and it triggered an idea.
Artist: Hever Martínez Velasco
San Pedro Cajonos, Oaxaca.

Seeing women coming together to make art honoring the Virgin gave Linda the idea for creating a Virgin of Guadalupe exhibit featuring clothing made by individual, textile artists from various regions of Mexico and representing many different techniques. Because Linda knows so many textile artists she was able to pull together work from ten states of Mexico: Oaxaca, Chiapas, Colima, Guerrero, Jalisco, Mexico (State), Michoacán, Puebla, Tlaxcala and Yucatán. The exhibit includes not only clothing, but also accessories, such as bags, shawls and jewelry, items worn close to the heart.
Artist: Gildardo Hernández Quero
San Pablo Villa de Mitla, Oaxaca.

Linda describes how the artists have responded to being included in this project:
"In many conversations I had with the artists, I was moved by their sincere enthusiasm and the honor they felt at being given the opportunity to depict the Virgin. One artist even went to his church to have his thread blessed and to pray for guidance in capturing the beauty of his muse. 
For most, this commission meant coming to terms with the limitations of an ancestral process and innovating in order to accomplish the desired result. For these reasons, there is a certain transcendent quality about these pieces that distinguishes this collection.
In addition to recruiting the artists and planning the details of the show, she plans to make it a traveling exhibition and will talk more about that and the show at the Oaxaca Lending Library at 5pm on January 4 and February 1.
Artist: Enriqueta Cenobio Calixto
San Felipe Santiago, Estado de México.

-- Linda Hanna has been an avid supporter of local folk art since she first moved to Oaxaca in 1997. Prior to that, she spent fifteen years working as a fiber artist and therefore has profound appreciation for the textile traditions and talent found in many Oaxacan communities. For the past 14 years she has acted as coordinator for the Oaxacan artists who participate in the annual craft show Feria Maestros del Arte. She operates a Bed & Breakfast out of her home:

Monday, November 19, 2018

Huichol Beaded-Art Surfboard

by Joyce Wycoff

It was a surprise to see a surfboard at the Feria Maestros del Arte and it pulled me into a conversation with Cilau Valadéz Navarro, the Huichol artist who began to tell me the story about the symbolism on the surfboard.

The next day, he agreed to tell the story on video. It's an incredible piece of art: a full-sized surfboard covered with thousands of tiny beads, each one embedded by hand into a base of beeswax.

Here's the link of Cilau telling the story: Huichol Beaded-art surfboard.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

"The clay is also shaping us." Guadalupe García Rios.

A wonderful thing about the Feria is that there are always surprises.

Guadalupe García Rios
Guadalupe García Rios opened her "Story behind the Art" presentation about high-fired ceramics with a short video which made us laugh, cry and fall in love with her art and with her.

Guadalupe loves clay. At one point in the video she proves her passion by flinging herself face first into a pile of clay.

Don't miss this beautiful and inspiring video done by two incredibly talented young people: Alma Silva and  Helios Nieto, who spent a month with Guadalupe and captured her heart and the brilliance of this folk art. Thank you Alma and Helios for permission to share this touching video.

Click here to watch video