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SPANISH HEARTS March 15 2019, 0 Comments

I've just returned from Mexico to Canada. In Mexico City I moved through history every day, on the streets and in the museums and the galleries. There are extraordinary works of art in Mexico, ancient and modern. Strangers smiled and warmly greeted me. Food invited me. There were earthquakes somewhere, but they were far away.

In Mexico, colour expresses itself everywhere. And it made me feel happy.

Colour is in the streets, in mercados, the food and in love potions, the clothing (ask Frida), fine art, and folk art,  ceramics in dance, and in Day of the Dead celebrations. The  Museo de Arte Polular is an especially joyous colour riot.

I brought some of Mexico's colour back with me. I've arranged many colourful hand-painted mirrored tin hearts on my wall. I see them first thing in the morning, then I look out my window, and look back to the colourful wall.

 

 I leave you with this song about the Spanish Heart by Chick Corea.

Hasta luego amigos.

Val

 


TIN HEARTS FROM A WARM CLIMATE February 21 2019, 0 Comments

I’m going down to Mexico City soon, with side trips to Zacatecas and Puebla. I’m looking forward to seeing again the fabulous art and architecture, ancient and modern, the food of course, and the music.

One of Mexico’s most appealing expressions of its culture is its folk art.

         

Although I love all Mexican folk art, my favourite is the hojalata (in English tin), the colourful charming tin art. Mexico celebrates Day of the Dead  and  Christmas with tin folk art.

In Mexico, the hojalata goes back to the 16th century to Spanish colonial times. Today, in Mexico, many people have tin folk art displayed in their homes, while other places such as cathedrals have symbolic religious tin art displayed.

Sheets of tin are cut, shaped and embossed with a pattern, then bright lacquer and enamel paint is applied. All tin folk art is handmade by Mexican artisans and craftsmen and craftswomen, who create with a sense of humour and imagination.

 

The mirrored tin heart is my favourite. Here are some hearts I brought back when I last visited Mexico.

I'll be wandering through mercados looking for more tin hearts. They'll soon be available on my website for your enjoyment and purchase. They are joyful things.

 

Hasta luego,

Val

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


LA CATRINA FINDS YOU August 15 2018, 0 Comments

La Catrina is an icon of the Day of the Dead in Mexico. Even though she is a skeleton, La Catrina is a tradition full of life wearing her elaborate somberero and elegant dress.

     

Death is not feared in Mexico: offerings, songs, respect and humor are common Mexican expressions towards death, and Catrina, the Grande Dame of Death, is admired and respected. Her beginnings as Mictēcacihuātl go back to the Aztec era. During the twentieth century, in the creative hands of artist Jose Guadalupe Posada, Catrina's image was transformed. She gained political importance and became a cultural icon.

 

In Diego Rivera's satirical political mural Sueño de una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda Central, Catrina dominates the centre.

 

                                                    

Catrina's image is seen all over Mexico:  on the streets, in the parks, and in the tiendas/shops.  El Museo de Arte Popular has a fantastical collection of Catrinas. A search on the web shows the many forms Catrina takes: tatoos, makeup, chocolates, candy. Clothing such as dresses, hats, headbands, shoes, baby and children's clothes, dog clothes, display her image. She appears on the top of cakes, as a bride, and as a pregnant woman.

In Mexico you don't have to look for Catrina. She finds you. She is an extraordinary example of how the Mexican people embrace the reality of death and bring it into their every day life. La Catrina is educating me.

For now, and only now,

Hasta leugo amigos

Val

 

 


AM I SEEING THINGS? August 07 2018, 0 Comments

 Earthquakes and Other Surprises in Mexico City

  

Mexico City aftermath                                                             Second Tower of Arcos Bosques Mexico City

The Mexican people live with the reality of earthquakes, too often. And they are brave. My explorations have shown me that although this catastrophic and destabilizing event destroys edifices, a surprising number of buildings in Mexico City seem designed to echo some of the effects of earthquakes. These bold and daring architectural creations exist in many cities in Mexico.

      

Cineteca Nacional  Mexico City                                                     Roberto Cantoral Cultural Center  Mexico City

A common feature of urban Mexico is a circle called punto de reunión - meeting point - which appears on sidewalks in the city. Each circle marks a predesignated evacuation point for a nearby building.

   

 

Their usefulness is debatable. I wonder if this symbol is an attempt to give people a sense of safety and control in the middle of a crisis. They need it.

 

       

       

I like serendipity, and it finds me sometimes just walking down the street. An afternoon's meander has taken me past rooftop guardians, through the grounds of a modern art museum with its giant ant installation, past an auto parts store with velvet sofa, and delivered me to a tranquil garden with a sculpture shouldering its tiny burden.

 

When you visit Mexico, you must stroll through these parks. You'll be delighted with what will find you.

Bosque de Chapultepec
This sprawling city park is nearly 1,700 acres and features many attractions.

Parque Hundito

Low-key city park set below street level featuring walking paths & an off-leash dog area.

Alameda Central
Alameda Central is a public urban park in downtown Mexico City. Created in 1592, the Alameda Central is the oldest public park in the Americas.

Parque México 
The Parque México, also known as the Parque San Martín, is a large urban park located in Colonia Hipódromo in the Condesa area of Mexico City.

Desierto de los Leones
Desierto de los Leones National Park is located entirely within the limits of the Federal District; it stretches between Cuajimalpa and Álvaro Obregón boroughs.

Until next time

Hasta luego

Val


  


 


Amo México - Inspired by Mexican Tin Hearts June 28 2018, 0 Comments

Something that has always been personal to me is the symbol of the heart. It represents, love, life, and faith. It's the symbol for February 14th, Valentine's Day, which is my birthday. Whenever I see the heart symbol, it reminds me of love lost and found, and of trips to the hospital with heart complications. On my many visits to Mexico City, I'm overjoyed when I see the beautiful tin hearts in the mercados.

For these reason, I want to share some joy with you. I've been collecting original tin hearts for some time, and I've created some designs based on them.  They are now available online, in different materials and objects for you to enjoy in your home.

 

Head over to my profile on  Society6.com to see my tin heart designs. For now, here are a few things you can buy.

 

Hope you enjoy these. More to come.

Hasta luego,

Val

 

 


Amo México - Folk Art and Modern Art June 01 2018, 0 Comments

I travel to Mexico City to be inspired. This city is rich in artistic styles from the Mayan, Olmec and Aztec civilizations, which can be viewed at the National Museum of Antropology (Mexico).

Popular art, and Modern art, Architecture and Design are important inclusions to the visual feast Mexico has to offer.

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

Museo de Arte   
Museo Soumaya

Popular art is everywhere in Mexico city. The Museo de Arte has many extraordinary images  to delight and impress the art lover. In Mercados such as Ciudadela Market folk art and hand crafts from all over Mexico are on offer. Many buildings and  restaurants display the talents of local artists.


 

Mexico City is also a city full of modern art and architecture which can be seen by

just walking down the street or by spending an afternoon in a gallery or a museum.
  
 
               

 

A  few of my favourite museums are the Museum of Modern Art (Museo de Arte Modern)Museo Rufino Tamayo.

More about my by Mexico trip and inspiring images and symbols in my next blog.

Hasta leugo,

Val


Amo México May 28 2018, 0 Comments

Just back from Mexico. I love Mexico: Mexican art, Mexican colours, Mexican customs and celebrations, Mexican food. I've visited the country many times and each time I get to see something new, and see some of the same things in a different way. Mexico always surprises and delights me.

 

    

During my visit to Mexico City in May this year, two unique events were taking place at the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts)the exhibition: HYBRIDS the Body as Imaginary and a performance by the American composer Phillip Glass.

The Palacio de Bellas Artes is a prominent cultural center in Mexico City. It has hosted some of the most notable events in music, dance, theatre, opera and literature and has held important exhibitions of painting, sculpture and photography. The palace is a mixture of two architectural styles: an Art Nouveau exterior, and an Art Deco interior. And I was pleased to find out that there many Art Deco buildings and Art Nouveau buildings in Mexico City.

HYBRIDS The Body as Imaginary

This exhibition included incredible images across time from ancient Egypt to contemporary artistic works. Some of the artists included were Victor Brauner, Prune Nourry, Pieter Brueghel, and Mathew Barney.

The hybrid beings created by the diverse cultures that have inhabited the planet throughout history and their role within the western imaginary of the 19th and 20th centuries are some of the topics that the temporary exhibition Hybrids addresses: the body as imaginary.


 

Victor Brauner (1903-1966)Estereofigura (Steréofigure), 1959 
Prune Nourry (b. 1985) Squatting Holy Daughter, 2010.
Pieter Brueghel, el Joven (1564-1637) La tentación de San Antonio, ca.1625

 

On May 12th I saw Philip Glass perform with Mexican musicians Daniel Medina de la Rosa Raweri (Violin Wixarika), and  Erasmo Medina Medina ,  Kanari (Guitarra Wixárika), the work Hikuri (The Sacred Cactus).

Phillip Glass loves to experiment with many types of musicians. My Mexican friend Luis was very proud to be experiencing this moment. This inspiring performance was followed by the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional.

 And this was just the beginning of my ongoing explorations in Mexico City....

Hasta luego,

Val