Pedro López Orozco lives in Alvaro Obregon,Juchitán with his wife Matilde, and granddaughter Ana Luz. Pedro is in charge of the salt fields (salinas) and is a community leader. He took us to visit the salt fields and explained the extremely complex relationships that exist in this indigenous community concerning the ownership of the salt fields (public vs private) and the leasing of land for the construction of wind turbines to produce energy, which has seriously split the community.I want to return in April when they will be harvesting the salt again from the ocean and take time to interview him properly.
|Martín Valdéz: Tin Tangú Yú|
This visit he recounted the fire that destroyed the central market in Juchitán in the 1920's and the rebuilding of the market that exists today. According to Luis, only women were allowed to sell in the market. Men had other important roles to play such as hunting, fishing, farming and trading, but it was the women who were in charge of the market. And to this day, the market is the women's domain and the men continue to play the roles that continue to make Juchitán de Zaragoza a prosperous and respectable community.
Cándido Carrasco is a painter of estandartes, colorful banners, that are an essential part of any vela, the traditional social and religious celebrations that are unique to the Istmo region of Oaxaca. Cándido is one of two people who still do this work. He has been doing his art form for over fifty years. I interviewed and photographed him last spring also. I stopped by this trip to visit him and found him working on an estandarte for the feast of La Virgen de Guadalupe. He also repairs broken or damaged niño Jesus statues, a very common element of most Catholic homes. His art and his life are inseparable. At eighty three, he has no intention of retiring from the work he so loves.
Don Mariano is a typesetter and printer. He owns a small shop where he specializes in making announcements,invitation and brochures. He also prints many engravings done by local artists.I did not have time to interview him this trip, but I will return. My father was a printer, as was my grandfather and nearly all of my uncles. I feel a connection to Mariano that needs to be explored further. And I want to hear him play his guitar more!
Nelson Lara is a maker of fine shoes. What he likes best is to design shoes that are original and high quality. He learned the trade from his father and grandfather as a child in El Salvador. I photographed Nelson two years ago and came back this trip to do an interview. He started out by sharing his heartbreaking story of the war in El Salvador and his forced migration. He still suffers much from the separation from his family and his homeland. Besides designing
and making shoes, he is also a fine painter.
Pili is an embroiderer from the pueblo of Santa Rosa de Lima, near Alvaro Obregon. The majority of the inhabitants of this pueblo are embroiderers, women and men. Pili was embroidering in front of his house with his mother and sister. His younger brother came out to watch. These pueblos are so inclusive; it is a joy to meet such accepting and open people.
Yolanda López Gómez is my main contact at Lidxi Guendabiaani Casa de la Cultura de Juchitán. She personifies all of the good qualities of Las Bellas Juchitecas. Along with el Contador Vidal Ramírez Pineda, they have opened doors and established trust with the people of Juchitán that I never could have done alone. The work that they do to promote art and culture at Lidxi Guendabiaani is admirable. And on top of all that, Yolanda knows everyone in the mercado and is a fantastic cook!
There is indeed a delicious magic in Juchitán, one that I cannot resist. The magic is in its people and their culture, and in their strength and determination to hold on to it at all costs. It takes magic to do that in this day and age.