Published: July 24th 2010July 23rd 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The Arts in the Schools:
Arts for the most part are absent in public schools. And private schools are much better. They are not part of the regular school program, unless it’s a “special” school. Otherwise, it’s usually an extracurricular activity that costs a lot of money.
Tonight's presentation was on women in the arts. The first one wove cloth, the second painted, and the third played a small guitar and acts in local theater. They came to talk about their art. Mostly they said how much artists struggle to survive. The situation sounds similar to the one in the U.S., but, of course, things are always much more difficult here. The economy, like elsewhere, is suffering, too.
One came to Mexico from Guatemala. She and her husband weave to make clothes, bags, belts, and other things. It’s a traditional art that’s handed down from generation to generation. Children learn by watching. Around 6 to 8 years of age they begin practicing weaving, making small objects like belts. In the first phase they are allowed to make mistakes, but in phase two they are expected to become proficient.
She and her husband came
Demonstration of weaving
It's traditional the way this apparatus is designed that one end is attached to a pole and the other is wrapped around her waist and pulled tight.
to Mexico in 1983. This was a time of turmoil in Latin American. She talked about the war in Guatemala and how unsafe it had become. Some people were abducted by the government or paramilitaries because of their views against the conditions in the country. They were called the “Disappeared Ones.”
It’s as difficult to immigrate to Mexico as it is in the U.S., perhaps worse. The Mexican government only allowed them to enter if they would not take jobs away from Mexican workers. They sell mostly at language schools like the Spanish Language Institute.
The second artist began to paint after her children left home. She had no experience in painting. It wasn’t until she started taking lessons that she learned that all the colors are made from three basic colors. She loves to paint nature. Often when she notices a tree or leave, she wonders how to paint it. Painting has been a transcending experience for her. When she sells a painting, she feels like she is selling one of her children.
The third plays a jarana (?). The arts are sisters, she says, all related to each other. She talked about the different music played
in different areas of Mexico. I tried to download the video I made of her singing, but I think the file was too big.
There are more photos below