Now that I've got your attention via my trip to the emergency room (remember how good care is here, please, and how cheap...people here regard health care as a right as stated in the Mexican Constitution and it makes them angry when it isn't always as available as it should be, definitely a problem for some. The notion that it is a business and for profit and filled with bureaucracy and limited access and too many machines and not enough primary care physicians, etc etc a la the US is alien here) ... but I digress....
I wanted to tell you about the wonderful artista veracruzano Teodoro Cano.
If you remember, we took a long walk down Calle Revolución a week or so ago. Our walk didn't end at the bottom of the street, but continued on across Parque Benito Juarez, down the stairs and into La Pinacoteca Diego Rivera.
You can click on the pictures for a larger version.
Here is the entrance to the Parque Benito Juarez:
The Pinocateca is under the far end of the park.
The head dress reads Papantla, and Cano is from Papantla. It's in northern Veracruz, near The Gulf of Mexico, and it is a Totonac region, as is much of our area, including the rural areas around us. Papantla is the home of the Voladores, the dancers you see swirling on ropes high above the ground in tourist pictures of the region.
Teodoro Cano is Totonac and the region is called Totonocapan.
There are majestic Totonac ruins at El Tajín, near Papantla, and a bit further south you can find the smaller Cempoala, the city where Cortés was welcomed on his trip up to Tenochtitlán to meet Moctezuma. But that's just a tiny part of Totanaco history and heritage. More to follow in a later post, since we visited Cempoala yesterday and I have a whole hoard of new photos.
Cano is a muralist, and like most muralists, he developed a stylized approach. In his paintings, he brings tremendous warmth and love and empathy. Below you will see a sampling of what we found at La Pinocateca. Imagine them, for the most part, large and richly colored. I took some at an angle to avoid reflection, which distorts them somewhat. And the photos do not reflect the color and depth at all.
We start with a procession of La Virgen de Guadalupe who is a constant undercurrent in the life of all Mexico.
Below is a painting called City of the Gods. And of course prehispanic, indigenous religion is as much a current as is Christianity. If not more, I'm beginning to think. You know La Virgen herself is syncretic. In the picture below, you see the vivid old spirits tumbling among the temples and walls of the Totonac city of Tajín. Notice the reliefs on the walls, too.
This is a picture of a velaria, a wake. In our colonia, velarias are not much different. The original people who settled here in Ursulo Galván were Totonac, though not everyone is even part Totonaco (obviously).
As you see in the picture, in the back people are gathered inside around the coffin. Outside, they are eating and talking. When someone dies, people go among the neighbors for offerings of food, beans particularly, and money for the velario. Recently in our colonia, a woman in her early 60s died walking with her daughter near the soccer field. Tere says she had been sick with cancer, and finally just gave out. That night, a group of young men came to our house and everyone else's for the offerings for the velaria. You see in the picture what looks like a floating piece of cloth towards the top. Here, and I imagine in most places today, a plastic tarp is put out over part of the street for people to sit under. I'm always startled to see that the poles holding it up are just balanced on the concrete.
And now a wedding.
As you can see, there are awnings here, too. In our colonia, every celebration takes place in the street outside the houses of the people throwing the party. The street is roofed with tarps especially if there's any chance of rain, the entrances blocked with rocks.
The next two pictures show aspects of Día de los Muertos....or as we've learned here, Días de los Muertos since there are several days involved. See how comfortably death is mingled with life in the imagery. And look at the ofrendas, the offerings for the dead.
A Posada, the procession through the community looking for (and finally finding) a place for Mary and Joseph and Jesus. In our community, these happen for maybe ten days before Navidad.
Here, Christmas is celebrated late on Christmas Eve into very early morning Christmas Day, after the Mass celebrating the birth of Jesus.
Below are some smaller paintings, mostly.
This one is called Felicidad.
María descansando (María resting)
Mujer en la playa (Woman on the beach)
And here again is one filled with people, called La Feria (The Fair). You can see people riding on the carousel.
A photo of Teodoro Cano repairing a mural:
And, to finish up, a portrait of the artist.
The two photos above are from an article in El Sol de San Luis which also appeared in El Diario de Xalapa, written by María Elena Ferral. I'm in the midst of translating the article and will try to finish it. Unfortunately, I have misplaced the link. I will look for it.