Monday, July 21, 2014

The Capitol Collection

One of the interesting things about Santa Fe is it's obsession devotion to art. It makes for some interesting situations:  art galleries and art for sale just about everywhere.  You can buy a painting off a wall in a restaurant, or you can view some of New Mexico's best artists in the capitol building.

Recently my abstract art class went to view abstracts in the Roundhouse.  I've previously posted about some of the art collection there, but focused more on the things I liked, like the buffalo head made entirely out of found/trash materials.  During this last visit, I noticed something I hadn't before, that the newspaper pieces in the sculpture are all from the Buffalo News, or are about Buffalo, NY:

Of course, I was supposed to be focusing on the abstract art in the collection (it took about 2 hours just to see the smattering of paintings our instructor wanted us to view. I imagine you could take all day viewing the entire portion of the collection that is currently on display!)

(the photo of this doesn't do it justice.  It looks like it's all beaded.  Close up, you can see it's all tiny dots of paint.)

(one of our instructor's pieces) 

(detail of one of the paintings) 

Photographing the art in the collection is difficult, because most of the art is protected by clear plastic shielding, because the buildings are open to the public, and people love to touch. The aforementioned buffalo sculpture is not in a case, and people tend to pull off bits and pieces as "souvenirs".

Regardless, I hope these photos can at least show the diversity of style in the abstracts on display.

I think I'd like to go back at some point, and take several photos, dividing them into posts for sculpture, landscape,  surrealism, realism, photography, and weaving.  I noticed that the collection was completely devoid of colcha, while other New Mexico arts are represented... hopefully that will be remedied.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Los Voladores de Papantla.

Today there were a lot of questions about los voladores (the flyers).  I thought I'd share some of the information here on my blog.

1. Is the Caporal's flute and drum one, connected instrument (he holds them in one hand)?

This was the subject of a lot of debate in the Placita today, with people offering various opinions.  When he puts the instruments away to climb or change position, I noted he reached down twice, which made me certain they were separate.  This afternoon I blew up some photos to look, and this is what I found:

in this photo (blown up WAY to far to be clear) you can make out a band around the hand holding the flute.  The band apparently is connected to the drum, allowing the Caporal to hold the flute and drum at the same time with one hand, while the other hand strikes the drum.

2.  What is the origin of this ritual?

I lifted the answer to this directly from the Los Voladores de Papantla's website:
A Totonaca myth tells of a time when there was a great drought, and food and water grew scarce throughout the land. Five young men decided that they must send a message to Xipe Totec, God of fertility so that the rains would return and nurture the soil, and their crops would again flourish. So they went into the forest and searched for the tallest, straightest tree they could find.

When they came upon the perfect tree, they stayed with it overnight, fasting and praying for the tree's spirit to help them in their quest. The next day they blessed the tree, then felled it and carried it back to their village, never allowing it to touch the ground. Only when they decided upon the perfect location for their ritual, did they set the tree down.

The men stripped the tree of its leaves and branches, dug a hole to stand it upright, then blessed the site with ritual offerings. The men adorned their bodies with feathers so that they would appear like birds to Xipe Totec, in hope of attracting the god's attention to their important request. With vines wrapped around their waists, they secured themselves to the pole and made their plea through their flight and the haunting sound of the flute and drum.

I did manage to take a few more photos today than I did yesterday, however, even after charging both batteries, I was unable to get more than a few shots and a brief video, with a horrendous sound and loss of focus when I changed my zoom:

Most of the rest of the photos were comparable to the ones I took yesterday.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Voladores de Papantla, Viva Mexico!

I've been a bit remiss in posting lately,  my health hasn't been the greatest.  While I've been keeping up with the things going on around me, my home time has pretty much consisted of crashing on the couch and a few rounds of Candy Crush Saga (a sure sign that I've sunk to new lows).

Today, however, the girls and I went out to Viva Mexico at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, and although I don't have the energy for an extended blog (maybe tomorrow?)  I do want to get up a few photos.