Memories of Time

IMG_7016French Canadian artist Manon Côte has an exhibition of some very unique visual art pieces on display right now in the Galería Carlos Bueno at the art museum. I very much enjoyed meeting her and viewing both her artwork and that of her students.

She has made rubbings of some of the walls of antique homes and buildings here in town using a technique called “frottage,” which transfers the print to Japanese paper, and then adds watercolor or colored pencil to the prints. Manon is fascinated by the textures of the walls of Old Mazatlán. While she has been in town she also conducted a couple of workshops to teach others her techniques. I’m afraid I was so busy with my own show I missed those, but the results the students generated are quite fascinating. The exhibit opened Friday night during ArtWalk, and continues through April 30th. Manon will hold a conference on International Women’s Day, March 8.

Cecilia Sanchez Duarte (China) has really reinvigorated our beloved Museo de Arte, and has a full calendar planned for the spring. Be sure to visit if you haven’t lately!

Bless You All!

8C_Exposici_n_2_1-203732Many thanks to all of you, the opening of my photo exhibition in the Galería Peralta on Thursday night broke the record for most people attending. It also signaled the opening of the Temporada Primavera, or Cultura Mazatlán’s Spring Season; my exhibit was the first event, a very nice honor!

I was completely overwhelmed with emotion at the outpouring of love and enthusiasm from such a huge crowd. I found it pretty difficult to get a sentence out, I must admit. With nearly 400 people there—a beautiful mix of foreign and local residents—the room got hot and we ran out of both wine and ceviche, and they closed the doors at 8 pm instead of 9 due to the crowd, but I believe most everyone enjoyed themselves. I joked with Greg that had I remembered to ask Padre Juan Jorge to give us a blessing, we would not have run out of wine!

The exhibition runs through 12 April, so please if you get a chance stop by the Angela Peralta theater and visit it on the second floor. Be sure to leave me a story or memory in the guest book if you would! The show is based on José Alfredo Jimenez’ “Corrido de Mazatlán,” our iconic Mazatlecan anthem.

I so appreciate Licenciado Raúl Rico and his staff at Cultura Mazatlán. From the moment Raúl first invited me to do an exhibit right through to the opening, they were nothing but supportive and wonderful, doing their best to realize my vision for the show. Raúl’s words of introduction were very encouraging. He told those in attendance that he felt my photos express a unique view of Mazatlán, capturing the soul of the place and its people, but from a perspective quite different from the normal.

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Most of all I appreciate my beloved partner in life, Greg. I am so incredibly blessed to be married to someone so loving and supportive! He usually is with me when I take photos, and has saved me from many buses, a crocodile, and thieves. On opening night he made a marvelous palm tree to dress up the refreshments table.

I did a lot of media interviews pre-opening, including my first live TV interview in Spanish (yikes!), and there were loads of media present during the opening as well. I really like the article that Héctor Guardado did in the Noroeste newspaper, because they took photos of many of my subjects standing in front of their photos. Noroeste also interviewed those subjects, which I urged everyone attending the opening to do. Please check it out. I post some of the photos from Noroeste and Cultura below; click on any pic to enlarge or view a slideshow.

Mario Martini over at Paralelo23 also wrote a very nice article. I sadly don’t have copies of the television interviews, but here is one from Cultura. Skip that opening thumbnail, please, lol!

Modern Dance This Weekend

DSC_6607You like to help talented young people succeed, just like I do. Many of you know Isa Medina, our local stellar interpreter and translator, and her husband, Jorge, who does the magnificent wrought iron. Elisa, their daughter, is one incredibly talented young woman. She has studied dance for years, and has traveled the world quite extensively while performing her craft. Bless her soul, she also organizes events here in town that bring all of us the benefit of her connections and the talents of her and her colleagues.

This week she has helped bring us two choreographers from Costa Rica and Romania, plus twelve contemporary dancers from Guatemala and throughout Mexico, for three different performances. The shows are:

  1. Saturday January 20, 8pm in the Art Museum
    This performance is entitled “Componiendo el Plural.” The team of dancers will exhibit their creative projects and individual work. Cost is 80 pesos that will pay for the lighting and help defray travel costs for group members. The Art Museum is at Sixto Osuna 71 in Centro Histórico.
  2. Sunday January 21, 1pm in Casa Haas
    This function, titled “Entre Quijotes,” is for children. Be sure to let all the kids in your life know about it! Directed by Andrea Catania, from Proyecto LasAfueras in Costa Rica and Romania, and Adrián Arriaga from Colectivo Clá in Costa Rica, entrance is 100 pesos. Casa Haas is on Heriberto Frías 1506B downtown.
  3. Tuesday January 22, 6pm in the Teatro Universitario
    UPDATE: Please spread the word! Today’s modern dance performance in the UAS (Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa) has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.
    The third event is the most informal and it’s free! It will be an open house/demonstration of the residence project, “Bitácora en Común.” It will be held in the theater at Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa, on Leonísmo street facing city park/Bosque de la Ciudad, just beyond north of the roundabout with the deer statue.

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Today I visited the group in the theater at UAS to watch them rehearse. They were having so much fun, enjoying themselves so completely and joyfully, that it reminded me of watching the manta rays have their party. The dancers include:

  1. Andibii Gallardo (Mazatlán, Sinaloa)
  2. Rodrigo de la Cruz Abúndez (Cuautla, Morelos)
  3. Cristina Zamora (Guanajuato, Guanajuato)
  4. Yunuén Mejía (Morelia, Michoacán)
  5. Noemi Sánchez (Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes)
  6. Elisa Medina (Mazatlán, Sinaloa)
  7. Fernando Leija (Tampico, Tamaulipas)
  8. Alejandro Chávez (Tijuana, Baja California)
  9. Mayra Barragán (San Diego, California)
  10. Kenia Navarro (Cuernavaca, Morelos)
  11. Yutzil Pablo (Guatemala, Guatemala)
  12. Brayan Córdova (Guatemala, Guatemala)
Below I’ll share a few of the photos I took during rehearsal today. Click on any picture to enlarge it or view a slideshow. Let me know what you think of the performance!

Body Painting at Baupres

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Fatima models Adrian’s art

First, let me tell you that my photos (Thru Di’s Eyes) are now on exhibit at both Baupres Gallery and Galería Libertad #312. Prints of digital photographs are available on acrylic, trovisel, paper mounted on foam core and matted, or in postcard format. I trust you’ll check them out. I am so very excited! Below are a few photos of the opening during ArtWalk last night. Click on any photo to enlarge or view a slideshow.

You may remember that I’ve studied photography with Salvador Herrera (1, 2). He’s a consummate professional and a terrific instructor. He teaches and exhibits at the gorgeously renovated historic building that houses Baupres Gallery, owned by the incredibly talented artist, Dory Perdomo.

Last night for ArtWalk, two of Salvador’s friends from Mexico City, Alexander ojodelince (ranked third nationally) and Adrián Art (national champion), who are in Mazatlán for a national body painting competition that takes place today and tomorrow at the Hotel Playa, demonstrated their art for us as part of Art Walk.

Have you ever watched body painters at work? It’s amazing! These two gentleman are true artists in every sense of the term! They have to paint on a three-dimensional, moving surface, attend to the human moods and needs of the “canvas,” and paint so the finished product looks good in both normal and black light.

Last night at Baupres, those attending ArtWalk were able to watch the artists and their models in action. The artists had actually started painting at 11 am, but when we got there about 4:30 they still had a couple hours to go. One of the models, Fatima, is a dancer, and the other, Kiana, is a model. Once they were finished, the models demonstrated the finished product to us, and the artists fielded questions. I so admired the models’ patience! I could never sit for eight hours while someone painted on me, and then another hour or more while other people photographed the result! Fatima, the one I talked to the most, seemed thrilled with the whole process. She is such a delight. She joked about not washing it off and walking around Mazatlán like that to see how people reacted. I wish she would!

After the presentation, the two models proceeded upstairs, where by now it was dark, and we could light up the gorgeous body painting with black lights and take photographs. Salvador placed all the lights, so those of us with cameras were incredibly blessed. Even with a cell phone, the models and artistry were so well lit that the photos turned out incredibly well! Thank you, Salvador! What do you think of the results?

This is the second time Baupres has hosted body painting. They’ve also conducted classes in both body painting and photographic lighting. Be sure to get on their mailing list (via their Facebook page) so you don’t miss future such events. And most definitely visit the upstairs photo gallery there and at 312 Libertad! Thanks!

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National Recognition for Local Handicrafts

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Beautifully handcrafted barcinas, which traditionally hold dried shrimp

I am very excited that reporters from eight respected national publications will tour Mazatlán and southern Sinaloa from May 7-10, to learn about, report on, and photograph our regional artesanía and artesanos. The tour is coordinated by Turismo Mazatlán and Turismo Sinaloa, as well as by the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of Mazatlán.

If you are regular readers of VidaMaz.com, you know that we are big proponents of culture, particularly the preservation of local, regional and indigenous traditions. We also support sustainable tourism, ecotourism, religious and cultural tourism. Thus, we are extremely happy to know that tourism officials are taking action to help promote “the little guy,” those who add so much to our communities by producing the gorgeous handiwork we enjoy.

Most traditional handicraft is beautiful and also utilitarian. It reflects the culture, the environment, the people, and the daily life of the place where it is made. Preserving it, helping it thrive and develop, creates pathways out of poverty, builds healthy communities, and prevents delinquency and violence. Just look at the increased success, popularity and value of Native American handicrafts and music over our lifetimes, and the improvement in the quality of what is produced! We can create such a success story here in Mexico as well. Sinaloa is smart to diversify beyond heavy eco-footprint industries like cruise ships. Cultural tourism can help preserve our heritage and the gorgeous natural environment with which we are blessed, and it can help build strong, vital, resilient communities. It attracts a more savvy brand of tourist, one that is increasingly wealthier and more committed to the welfare of local communities. Kudos to all involved!

Publications participating in the upcoming tour include my personal favorite, México Desconocido; the Reforma newspaper’s De Viaje supplement; the Destinos section of El UniversalConceptos Turísticos magazine; Travelers Guide to MéxicoViaja Bonito magazine; Reportour 98.5 FM; and the magazine, Tiempo Libre.

Here in Mazatlán the group will visit:

  • The museum at Seashell City, to view handcrafted items such as lamps, boxes, crosses, Christmas ornaments, and picture frames made of shells.
  • Onilikan in the Golden Zone, to savor their fruit-flavored liqueurs and aguardiente, distilled in that gorgeous copper kiln.
  • Suaves downtown, makers of the world’s best marshmallows, to meet María Clara and experience the process of creating our much-loved local pride, coconut-flavored marshmallows.

I would like to politely suggest that the group visit a few of our terrific local seamstresses such as Sodelva Rios de Garcia, to showcase our long local tradition of sewing Carnavál costumes and royal dresses. They should also tour some of the terrific art and artisan galleries around town. And even though they won’t be active this time of year, I would recommend the official visit include the talleres/workshops for the carrozas or floats of Carnavál, or at least a slideshow presentation showcasing how important, inclusive and wonderful Carnavál is for our local community, and how many terrific artisans contribute to making it a success. Maybe another trip, so they can see monigotes or giant statues being created as well.

Outside Mazatlán, reporters will visit our neighboring communities including:

  • La Noria, where they’ll tour the gorgeous, award-winning Los Osuna distillery as well as visit the leather makers.
  • El Tablón Viejo in El Rosario, where they’ll learn about handicrafts made from gourds by the Larreta Medrano family.
  • Escuinapa, where they’ll watch barcinas, as in the photo at the top of this post, being made. I would also suggest they visit Ernesto at Productos Rivera, so they can watch the wonders the crafty ladies there do with fresh and dried mango.
  • Malpica, Concordia, where they’ll witness mosaic-making.
  • El Rodeo, Cosalá, and the traditional method of making conserva de Papaya. The last time we visited El Rodeo, Saboreando Ando was visiting there as well. Click through to see photos and video of the making of the conserva.

If you have not already visited the places above, or if it has been a while, now is a good time to go! The weather is perfect, national tourists have not yet arrived en masse, and local handicrafts-men and -women are eager to earn your patronage!