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Art Opening “Ceramic Sculptures”

Work of José Juan Aguilar

Galeria Atotonilco

Sat–Sun, Sep 30–Oct 1, Noon–5pm

That’s by my son, José Juan,” we were told. We were astonished at both the subject matter (“Life and Death in the Sea”) and the brilliant craftsmanship, and we bought the piece.

At that time, Jose Juan was 28, somewhat shy and very sweet. We have been buying his work ever since and find it to be the most innovative and beautifully crafted work in the entire family. On our trip this past May, we selected a wide variety of his work, from his larger intricate scenes and figures to smaller figures and his highly complex insects that always sell quickly. He makes mojigangas, the large puppet with a dancer inside, peering out a peek hole in the puppet’s abdomen. His work ranges from clever and funny ideas to beautiful country scenes, to depictions of his distinctive culture, to deeply spiritual themes. We were delighted to buy another version of the scene that first captivated us fifteen years ago: “Life and Death in the Sea.” The work is captivating, innovative, exquisitely crafted, and painted with beautiful, soft colors. Jose Juan is now 40 and has three young children. He is still shy and very lovable.

You will be interested to know that the lady covered from head to foot with books that is helping to publicize the Writers’ Conference this year was created by José Juan.

José Juan Aguilar’s work is a good example that it is possible to own a masterpiece of art for several hundred dollars or less. If the work were a painting, it would be thousands of dollars. Folk art is highly undervalued, but the upside is that it is easy to own and easy for craftspeople to sell so that they can support their families.


The Gallery

Galeria Atotonilco is located in a beautiful country setting, five miles north of town, with 6,000 square feet of exhibition space. The collection includes a huge variety of folk art and textiles from all over Mexico, historic photographs, and a large selection of country antique tables, bateas (deep wooden trays or bowls), trasteros (wooden cabinets), trunks, and other county antiques. A gallery annex displays decorative blown glass, where a spectacular large vase looks like it could be US $1,000 but in fact is only $1,000 pesos, about US$80! Welcome to Mexico!

Enjoy refreshments and take your time to view Trip Advisor’s #1 shopping destination in San Miguel. The open house takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 30 and October 1, noon to 5pm each day. Tel: 415 185 2225. Directions to the gallery are on our website: and in our ad in this issue.



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