Friday, April 4, 2008

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.

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