Blessings and Benedictions: Art Makes a Home

Four years ago in anticipation of moving into the little casita in Teotitlan del Valle, I bought a painting by Oaxaca artist Pantaleon Ruiz Martinez, titled Sombras de Mi Ayer (Shadows of My Yesterday).

Pantaleon Ruiz Martinez-6  Pantaleon Ruiz Martinez-7

He had just finished an exhibition in Mexico City and luckily the painting I loved had not sold.  I arranged to make periodic PayPal payments over several months to make the purchase seem more affordable.   Here are some photos from Pantaleon’s 2008 exhibition catalog Mis Memorias–Mis Sueños (My Memories–My Dreams).

Pantaleon Ruiz Martinez-4-2 Pantaleon Ruiz Martinez-3-2Pantaleon Ruiz Martinez-2-2

Then, when the construction took longer than expected, Pantaleon agreed to keep it in storage for me.  He had to hide it because people who came into his studio over the years wanted to buy it!

Pantaleon Ruiz Martinez-8 Pantaleon Ruiz Martinez-2-3 Pantaleon Ruiz Martinez-3-3

When I got settled into the casita this last week, I asked Pantaleon if he would bring the painting and help me choose a place to hang it.  I had in mind a house blessing with a bit of mezcal to go along.  Without ART this is not really a HOME!  We picked the center of the wall over the sofa.  

Fortunately, I bought a drill and a concrete drill bit when I first moved in.  It comes in handy and I know how to use it.  With the help of his friend Venustiano, we got the painting hung in ten minutes.  The before and after shot of mezcal helped. 

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Then, there was cause the celebrate!  Las bendiciones por mi casa!  Pantaleon’s style of painting has changed and evolved over the last four years.  He is a multi-talented artist who is working in the Oaxaca graphics arts studio of Fernando Sandoval to make etchings, making collaborative metal sculpture in Mexico D.F., and has his hands in clay making pottery.

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I told someone recently that I would rather buy art than food.  Fortunately, with 20 handmade mole amarillo tamales in the refrigerator that costs $5 USD, I don’t need to make that choice.  Maybe, I should say art and fresh flowers are what it takes to make a house a home.  As we say in Zapotec, Chichi Bayo, salud, to good health, blessings.

When you come to Oaxaca, send Pantaleon an email to arrange a visit to his Teotitlan del Valle studio.  You will love meeting him .

Pantaleon Ruiz Martinez-5 Pantaleon Ruiz Martinez-4 Pantaleon Ruiz Martinez-3 Pantaleon Ruiz Martinez-2

8 responses to “Blessings and Benedictions: Art Makes a Home

  1. Saludos Panteleon,
    Mi hija visito su taller en Teotitlan del Valle en Julio con otros maestros de los estados unidos – de Fay School en Southborough, Massachusetts. Yo quisiera arreglar una exposition y residencia en New Jersey donde enseno en este ano academico, antes de los fines de ano si hay bastante tiempo para esto. Me gustaria hacer planes para Noviembre tarde o Diciembre temprano. Si tiene Usted interes, contactare una galleria en Easton, PA o Jersey City, NJ. Tengo experiencia como curador de exposiciones (hizo 4-5 “shows” de otros y posiblemente 10 de mi fotografia – soy fotografo y escritor) y quisiera colaborar con Usted en una exposicion de sus cuadras y un texto acompaniando en ingles sobre su biografia, una historia breva de su pueblo Zapateco y unas impresiones de su arte en poesia y prosia. He escrito texto para otros exposiciones y escribo y publico poesia y ensayos.

    Por favor, dime sus pensamientos y ideas sobre este proposito. Si le gusta procedir, platicare con mis contactos. La residencia, por supuesto, estara en nuestra escuela en Gladstone, NJ ( con estudiantes secundarias de arte, cultura y historia.

    Espero su repuesta.

    John Ripton (Se puede “google” mi nombre para ver articulos y ensayos mios y articulos periodicos sobre algunos espociones.)

  2. Norma, glad to hear that you are in your casita. That is a beautiful painting. Enjoy the flowers and the tamales! And no, you don’t have to choose between art and food in Oaxaca. It’s not either/or, but both/and. That’s what I like about Mexico. Salud!

    • Thank you, Akilah. Indeed, Mexico is a land of wonders. I am so happy to be living here! And, I know you love it here, too. Remember Giovanna Balarezo from our weaving workshop. She has now started a textile business in Lima, Peru. I’ll be seeing here next September when Stephen and I go to Peru. The trip was a retirement gift from UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing Foundation Board. Life is full of abundance!

  3. Love the painting!! and the flores, por supuesto
    If you’ll be in the city 7 MAR – 10 APR maybe we can meet for lunch again. I’m hoping to get out to Teotitlan del Valle this trip. Will let you know if it works out but may be last minute.
    espero todo esta bien, Mary

    • Mary, our Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat starts this Friday and goes through March 16. After thank quien sabe. A trip to the city to have lunch with you might be just perfect. I’ll have to wait and see. My family is coming for several weeks beginning the end of March, so after that, I’m not available. Let me know when you come out to Teotitlan. We can get together in the village. Let me know what works for you after March 16. Abrazos.

  4. Norma, i am so happy for you in your new casita with a chicken on the stove, beautiful art on the wall and fresh flowers on the table. I want to return to Teotitlan to visit. Our three-day stay in a bed and breakfast there a couple of years ago just barely scratched the surface.
    A Salud!

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