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).
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).
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!
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.
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.
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 .
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