Strange Tales of Magic and Miracles: Michael deMeng in San Cristobal, Mexico, October, 2016
It is time again for another adventure with Michael deMeng in Mexico for Dia de Los Muertos. I have been with Michael twice in Oaxaca but this time we are headed to the Chiapas state of southern Mexico and the town of San Cristóbal de las Casas.
In 1994, there was a Zapatista uprising against the federal government in this area. Now, the city benefits from tourism based on people coming to see what the city it like. Tourism around the leftists is so successful that in 2003, the city was named a “Pueblo Mágico” by the Mexican federal government.
Our project for this trip is Strange Tales of Magic and Miracles: Contemporary Ex Votos. An ex voto is a small painting, typically on tin. They are small and eventually are hung on the wall. The ex voto is created by an artist on behalf of the buyer and it is to recount the moment of a tragedy that was thwarted by divine intervention. On the bottom of the ex voto is a tribute to the saint who is responsible for the miracle.
I have learned from taking a number of long distance workshops that it works best for me if I plan my projects at home including doing so preliminary assembling. From taking an Andrea Matus deMeng I have learned to called this auditioning.
The frame closed
The frame will open
Auditioning the central image
...and the winner: Denice!
At home I did step one on all projects: figure out how this thing will hang on the wall.
Day One, Friday, October 23, 2015
Unfortunately, trips like this from Milwaukee mean a late night flight. In this case I hop on a bus in Milwaukee that carts me down to O'Hare airport in Chicago in order to catch a flight to Mexico City that leaves at 12:25 a.m.
Day Two, Saturday, October 24, 2015
This gets me to Mexico City and who do I run into waiting for the same flight to Oaxaca: Dianne Bywaters and her sister. It is always a good thing to have travel companions in a foreign country.
Dianne, her sister and our tour arranger, Colleen Darling, in San Cristobal
The next flight gets us to Tuxtla where we have to catch transportation to San Cristobal. This turns out to be an adventure as we have been under the impression a van would be waiting for us as if we were royalty. Some language barriers later, the three of us rented a taxi for the long drive. The best part was when the little tiny taxi driver took one look at my huge suitcase and said, "Mas grande!"
The drive proved to be an adventure as the distance is traveled on a two lane highway. Vehicles straddle the inside line on both sides leaving a channel open right down the middle. Yes, indeedy--that is the passing lane and it can be used by anyone daring enough to play chicken on a Mexican highway.
The courtyard outside my room
Our hotel in San Cristobal de la Casas is the Holiday Inn. It is located off of one of two pedestrian malls that run through the city. This proves very convenient for reaching shopping, restaurants, bars and other tourist attractions.
So, it is time for San Cristobal Walkabout #1
The pedestrian mall
Casa de Oracion Cathedral
The zocalo was the location of an outdoor book fair
No democracy without justice
A number of churches in this town are...uphill...
including Iglesia de Gudalupe.
...and down again.
Templo de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe
Our first Dia alter sighting
Music at the Festival International Cervantino Barroco in the zocalo