FOFA Brings Three Artists from Oaxaca for
Museum of Natural History "Day of the Dead" Celebration
Jesús, Eros and Fran at the AMNH evening gala for museum's first-ever Day of the Dead event.
FOFA was invited to take part in the American Museum of Natural History's fabulous
Día de los Muertos
celebration, November 2-3. We sponsored and hosted three Oaxacan young
to demonstrate and
sell their work: Jesús Canseco Zarate,
master from Oaxaca Centro; 18-year-old woodcarver
Eros René Fuentes Gómez from San Martín Tilcajete; and Fran García Vásquez, ceramicist and member
of the famed Aguilar family of Ocotlán. All three have been FOFA winners or honorable mentions in our
art competitions in Oaxaca.
Larger-than-life papel maché Catrina, by Jesus; Museum altars honored extinct species.
Linking the cultural traditions of Oaxaca to the museum's mission, the weekend events were planned to
"immerse visitors in art, culture and science to inspire and re-energize conversation and action to protect
and sustain our planet's diversity." It was a wonderful opportunity for FOFA to promote Oaxacan folk art
to thousands of New Yorkers who might be unfamiliar with it.
Almost 9,400 people attended the November 3 spectacular in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, which was
transformed into a festive carnival. The FOFA artists were part of a group of over thirty invited Oaxacan
folk artists and fashion designers in tribute to the richness of the state's folk art and design traditions. The
day included regional and pre-Hispanic dances;
pan de muerto
offerings; and workshops for kids.
Participants included the Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Nueva York;
Philadelphia; and an assortment of musicians and poets.
The November 2nd Gala featured a welcoming speech by the Governor of Oaxaca, Alejandro
Murat Hinojosa, pictured here with the artists and FOFA Board Member Joyce Grossbard; music by Geo
Meneses; and traditional food and drinks.
FOFA had an information table with exhibition catalogs, and tables for Fran, Eros and Jesús, who sold
their creations to large and enthusiastic group of buyers and onlookers.
Jesús sold his hand-made skeletons (calacas), the iconic symbol of Mexico's Day of the Dead.
Fran, assisted by FOFA volunteer Annie O'Neill, sold scores ceramic pieces, flanked by posters
from FOFA's past competitions, and a slideshow of Oaxacan photos by Board Member Joyce Grossbard.
FOFA President/Founder Arden Rothstein staffed an information table.
Dia de los Muertos events were presented in collaboration with the State of Oaxaca-an
invited cultural partner. FOFA hopes to participate in the next
celebration. We heard that this
was AMNH's best-ever-attended event, and we are proud to have played a part in its success.
Our three folk artists stayed in Brooklyn for 10 days and returned home after the recent FOFA folk art holiday sale and fundraiser. During the week they gave popular workshops and demonstrations at local schools, including Brooklyn Friends, St. Ann's, and PS 89.
FOFA volunteers took the artists to museums and studios, and by the time they left for Oaxaca they were old
city hands, travelling by subway on their own, setting out for Central Park, the Lower East Side, and flea
markets as they absorbed "big city life." It was a wonderful first visit to New York City for each of them,
and a terrific opportunity to share their talents with New Yorkers.
Coming up soon: FOFA's new folk art catalogue featuring 66 winners and honorable mentions from our
2018 young folk artist competition in Oaxaca, "Showing the Strength of my People." The exhibition
opens on Saturday December 8 in San Bartolo de Coyotepc, Oaxaca, at MEAPO (Museo Estatal de
Arte Popular de Oaxaca) and will run through March 8, 2019. A copy of the catalogue has been mailed to
all catalogue donors, and will be available for sale in December.
FOFA welcomes your tax-deductible donations, which make possible our work promoting the folk art
traditions of Oaxaca, Mexico.
tax ID is 26-0516749.
Your gift to FOFA, minus the fair market value of goods and services received, is fully tax-deductible.
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