Friday, November 19, 2010

Mexican Art in Oaxaca

In Oaxaca, Mexico, we were lucky enough to have our own 'tour guide' in the form of our American friend, William. He now lives in Mexico City, speaks "perfecto" Spanish, and has a love of Mexican art. In particular Oaxacan art, where they specialise in psychadellic wood carvings, known as Alebrijes.

You can find out more about this colourful and unique artform here.

As a result of this introduction, Nick and I have started our own Mexican art collection, albeit a small one.

You would probably not be surprised to hear that Alebrijes is the word for Hallucination when you see this awesome guy. I am so happy I picked him up- I look at him and laugh!

Every piece was damaged in some way (badly packed in a bag that must have lost it's "fragile" sticker immediately after checkin. His hand broke off, but we were able to glue it back on.

The colours of this owl are just stunning.

We were lucky enough to hit the Oaxacan rural villages.
Thinking about a village conjures up a vision of a quaint little town.
In Oaxaca villages look like -

..very atmospheric! I truly felt like I was in Mexico.

A surprising visit was a craft market on a highway, where the artists themselves were sitting there carving and painting away.

As you can see one piece made it's way from middle-of-nowhere Mexico

...back to our home in Melbourne

I really love him, and the second LPs and I get our own house he's taking pride of place.

We visited an artist at home across the road - his name escapes me but the others (ie, the spanish speakers in our posse) talked to him for a long, long time.
I wish we could have understood the conversation, as they all came away affected by his perspective on life, his art and the local village.

His house was like a gallery of Alibrijes. There were also chickens running around.

Here's his adorable kid playing with a Mexican Hairless Dog. Quite possibly one of the most disturbingly unattractive dogs I've ever seen!

I took a video of him playing here

Garden details

William took us to visit a famous Oaxacan artist, Jacobo, in his home.
He gave us a demonstration, and we checked out his studio.

His specialty is these large scale, super detailed pieces.
They cost thousands.

Look at the detail - it's incredible!

We bought two of Jacabo's pieces.

This skeleton bowl is to celebrate our visit to Day of the Dead.
Where else in the world would they depict the dead so joyously?

This bird platter caught my attention from accross the room.

I had to have it. The hand painted detail is so intricate and time consuming.

The other Oaxacan specialty is Black Clay.

I'm very much a colour gal over anything black, but we picked up these two ladies.

Both broke coming home, damnit!

Karen and Miguel invested (really invested- read, very expensive!)
in this stunning Black Clay owl.

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