|A window in the restaurant of Casa Maria|
This morning someone posted a marvelous article about 33 Artists in 3 Acts, a book by Sarah Thornton. The article included some terrific quotes by artists who are also activists. Like these two.
"Artists should be the oxygen of society. The function of the artist in a disturbed society is to give awareness of the universe, to ask the right questions, to open consciousness and elevate the mind."
"Loneliness is a valuable feeling. Artists need to know how to walk alone."
I was musing all morning about creativity and the role of the artist. I naturally thought about Francisco Toledo. As soon I arrived in Oaxaca 6 weeks ago, I became quite aware of Francisco Toledo, a Zapotec artist around my age whose contributions to art and social change here are impressive and very inspiring.
Some days things just naturally come together and today was like that. I went up the hill to have comida at Casa Maria, a restaurant that is part of an old hotel. It's a beautiful place, and on the walls there are 6 small drawings by Francisco Toledo.
|At the Centro de las Artes de San Agustin|
Francisco Toledo has done some amazing things here in Oaxaca. Through his leadership, a big trash-filled field was transformed into the marvelous Ethnobotanical Garden. He spearheaded development of Centro de las Artes de San Agustin, a spacious museum whose corn exhibit I wrote about here in an earlier essay. He was instrumental in the establishment of an art library at the Instituto de Artes Graficas de Oaxaca (IAGO), and was involved in the founding of the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Oaxaca (MACO), among other projects.
|Sunset in San Agustin Etla|
Artists can have significant effects on society, catalyzing profound changes in awareness, presenting the gift of beauty, opening up individuals, cities and cultures to their deeper music. Toledo is such an artist. Bravo.
I will be leaving this beautiful little village in two days. It is not always easy to leave beautiful places. Perhaps I will return here. Perhaps I will live here someday. It is not clear yet. But it feels good to think that I can return. I am happy that I have had 2 weeks to relax in the midst of its beauty, to walk the dirt roads, seeing many beautiful birds and enjoying the river that runs nearby. I needed to take some time to refresh after two months in the ancient, busy cities of Guanajuato and Oaxaca. And I did. Now I am headed for La Paz, the capital of Baja. Que to vaya bien. May it go well with you.