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Folk Art Open House Sure to Dazzle



By Susan Page

If you love Mexico, you will not want to miss Galería Atotonilco’s Open House, where you will see, “without doubt, the finest exhibition and sale of Mexican folk art in the entire country”, according to the editor of the magazine Artes de México, Alberto Ruy Sanchez.

The finest exhibition of folk art just became finer because we recently returned from a month-long buying trip to villages and cities in Veracruz, Chiapas, Guatemala, and Oaxaca. We returned with a van full of breathtaking items, including the work of several artists new to the gallery.

We will be featuring the work of the talented and innovative wood carver, Franco Ramirez, from Arrazola, Oaxaca. Both his carving and his highly detailed painting are among the finest of all of the Oaxacan wood carvers. We are also thrilled to introduce the work of José Garcia Antonio and his family. José has been making clay figures all his life, but now, in his later years, he is blind. This has not stopped him. He can sculpt by feel. Other family members also create works in his large studio and compound, located near Ocotlan, Oaxaca. His mostly unpainted clay figures and scenes are a superb example of folk art, somewhat naive and totally charming.

Guatemalan Textiles

While Guatemala is flooded with gorgeous textiles in great abundance, we sort through it all to find the most unusual. We have zeroed in on the lush scarves and shawls of Juana Maria del Rosario and the women’s collective she’s part of in the Lake Atitlan town of San Juan de la Laguna. The women use beautiful color combinations in cotton or in cotton and silk woven together.

We also found more vintage huipiles (native dresses) from many villages in Guatemala. Thousands of women still weave, embroider, and wear these works of art. They will not wear vintage clothing, because they don’t know what kind of spirit might reside in a piece from a previous wearer. We are not as wary of this concern and are happy to buy them, which is another way of supporting the women and the villages.

The Future of Folk Art

We are often asked if younger generations are carrying forward the artistic traditions in a village. When they began at a young age and can see that their parents are making a living, they do keep creating the art. Even when the children become educators, lawyers, engineers, or medical professionals, they still assist the family when they can and create special works for the town or for regional competitions.

However, if they see their parents struggling to make ends meet, never selling enough of their work, the children will turn away from that route to poverty, leave the village, and work in the cities or go off to college or into a more lucrative business. That is why it is so important to purchase—and to collect—Mexican folk art.


Art Opening

Galería Atotonilco presents many new items from our recent buying trip

Sat and Sun, Jun 22 and 24, 12–5pm

044 415 153 5365

Directions in the gallery’s ad in this issue


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