Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

not about my trip to Oaxaca, but true, nonetheless!

Swedish Vodka maker Absolut is stirring up a little nationalistic pride in Mexico with their new ad depicting what Mexico would look like in an "Absolute World". But it is stirring a few feathers in El Norte, that’s for sure:(I would imagine the usual political idiots are now furiously pouring their Absolut vodka down the sink)

The U.S.-Mexico border lies where it was before the Mexican-American war of 1848 when California, as we now know it, was Mexican territory and known as Alta California.

Following the war, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo saw the Mexican territories of Alta California and Santa Fé de Nuevo México ceded to the United States to become modern-day California, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. (Texas actually split from Mexico several years earlier to form a breakaway republic, and was voluntarily annexed by the United States in 1846.)

The campaign taps into the national pride of Mexicans, according to Favio Ucedo, creative director of leading Latino advertising agency Grupo Gallegos in the U.S. Ucedo, who is from Argentina, said: “Mexicans talk about how the Americans stole their land, so this is their way of reclaiming it. It’s very relevant and the Mexicans will love the idea.”

But he said that were the campaign to run in the United States, it might fall flat. “Many people aren’t going to understand it here. Americans in the East and the North or in the center of the county — I don’t know if they know much about the history. “Probably Americans in Texas and California understand perfectly and I don’t know how they’d take it.”

Saturday, April 5, 2008

More on Textiles





and at the beginning the wool yarn

some examples of the rugs that are made on these looms, I have some in my home that I have purchases over several trips.

Besides the back strap loom, the other major type of weaving is by the hand and foot operated wooden loom. You can peek in shops and homes and see this type of loom. The ladies are using this type of loom to make a rug. (photo taken in Santa Ana de Valle)

Textiles an ancient art



The Zapotecs were weaving in the valleys of Oaxaca as long ago as 500 B.C. The Aztecs conquered them and made their textiles into a tribute item for the Aztec empire. After the Spanish Conquest the Zapotec weavers were put to work by the Dominicans which were the dominant sect of the Catholic church in this part, indeed in most parts of Mexico.

Many weavers still use the natural dyes to make the rugs. See my post on cochinilla here.
Many of the textiles for the table or shawls (rebozos) and other types of weaving are still made on back strap looms that those pictured here, you can still see the Triquis in the market using these.

Friday, April 4, 2008

works of Rudolfo Morales

My theory of this painting of the women with guns and the surrounding dogs, is his sympathy with women who are abused by their "dogs" of men, but who knows?

In the museum next to the restored church you can see his last painting of his home town, Ocotlan as well as some of his other work. In this painting he shows the living and the dead, the flowers and fruits of the place he loved.

Rodolfo Morales


All over Oaxaca you see the evidence of this remarkable artist who died in 2001.You can wander around in his house just as if he were waiting around the corner.

the following is excerpted from this article written by Stan Gotlieb:

Morales was a Zapotec, born of working class parents, in a small town near Ocotlan de Morelos, a regional market town about 30 miles from Oaxaca city, Maestro Rodolfo rose to be a very wealthy man, with paintings being displayed in major galleries throughout the world. Many who have had his talent and good fortune turned their back on their roots, but not Rodolfo.

The Zapotec traditions include a committment to sharing good fortune with others. The Zapotec word for this social service, transliterated into Spanish, is "Tequio". It is similar to tithing, where labor may substitute for money. In the poorest villages, it is how the roads and the schools get built: everyone gives some labor (or money) to a common project to benefit the community

His contributions, mostly through a foundation he set up in later years, includes the renovation of fifteen churches and cultural spaces throughout the municipio of Ocotlan.

There is a permanent staff of architects and other experts overseeing all the projects, but each and every project hires local young people, mostly women, to do the work of restoration.

Morales gave his house in Ocotlan, a colonial house, to the Casa de Cultura (state culture ministry) of Oaxaca. Aside from the beautiful garden, and the Maestro's studio, it contains a computer classroom. The Maestro noted, a few years ago, that computers were the future, and immediately bought a roomful so the local youth could learn.

La dolorosa





On Holy Thursday visits are made to “the seven houses” or churches, with altars set up for “La Dolorosa”, (Our Lady of Sorrows) with "chía" seeds sprouting green out of clay animals (symbolizing the Resurrection) and flowers and leaves of the maguey plant.

Pictures of this day before Good Friday. I think perhaps the chia seeds to symbolize the resurrection are unique to Mexico.
These photos were taken in the house of Rudolf Morales in Octolan, expect for the first photo which was taken in Oaxaca city, cannot remember where exactly.

can we just go staight to the ice cream?




a first confirmation "princess" outside the church, adoring family trying very hard to get a smile.

falling blossums


the African Tulip Tree Native to West Kenya and Uganda was still brilliant.


by the time I left Oaxaca in the last week of March, the jacaranda flowers were falling and the yellow mesquite flowers made a carpet underneath the trees.

San Bartolo Coyotepec museum and town


"the heritage of an ancient culture shows the treasures of the world"
(translation of the Spanish at the top of the photo) There is a small but very interesting museum in the town square, this photo as well as the pieces in my photos were there)the sincerity and pride of the family in this picture is profoundly evident. Not sure how long ago this photo was taken, my guess is in the last 20 years, but only a guess. The type of black pottery that San Bartolo Coyotepec is famous for is still made in this area in the way, without using a wheel methods for 2000 years. Part of the craftsmanship was lost for several centuries although the local people still made hand worked pieces but of a dull clay color. Then one day Dona Rosa Valente Nieto Real rediscovered the secret of her Zapotec ancestors by smoking and then polishing the pots with an agate rock until they shone with an almost hematite looking metallic finish. Today the village of San Bartolo Coyotepec is still making the shiny black pottery, completely hand formed and smoked in wood fired kilns dug directly into the earth.
















































(the clay Catrina (well dressed skeleton) is interesting because on her skirt are costumes representing the regions of Oaxaca, which are all different in terms of custom and sometimes language.

There are sixteen groups and the number of speakers of their language according to the 2005 census are:

However, the regions are usually divided into 7 or 8 distinct cultural divisions as represented by the smaller skeletons on the skirt.