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Carved Copal Art By The Cruz Family of Oaxaca

December 7, 2016 , , , , ,

I had the pleasure of meeting Agustín Cruz Prudencia and his nephew Jesus at the Tucson Botanical Gardens yesterday.  The copal wood carvings they brought to Tucson for sale are lively and brightly colored. I fell in love with the figures instantly. I am officially on restriction from buying any art, but I could not pass up the chance to own a piece of their stunning work.  I was in a pinch for time, but made a choice to buy the frog that is happily decorating my living room now.  It goes with all the art in my house, and yet has a unique quality that makes it stand out.  It will be a prized momento from my encounter with these incredible craftsmen.

They are Zapotec from a tribe that lived, and still lives in a remote part of the state of Oaxaca.  Agustín’s father moved his family to the capitol city of Oaxaca in order to make a living by selling his art.  They now have a workshop that employs about 15 family members carving and painting the folkloric figures.  The super fine painting is done without stencil or straight edge.  They develop the ability to create super intricate geometric patterns by eye, by hand.  The apprenticeship to learn this craft takes a long time.  It is easy to appreciate all the fine work that goes into each piece.  With both delicate carving and intricate paint designs these little characters pop with personal style.

They are going home for Christmas to be with their family.  They will be celebrating with banana leaf tamales and other special seasonal dishes.  They are very proud of their culture and cuisine, and rightly so.  Both of my new young friends had spoken their native mother tongue as children, but have lost the ability to speak it after years in the city.  They suffer from heavy discrimination against indigenous tribes in the city, so speaking it is dangerous.  They still understand their mother tongue when they hear it.  Their elders dressed in traditional clothing, and those members of the tribe in remote mountains still do.  Modern Zapotec life as an artist is complicated, and includes borders and customs.  I am glad they made the effort to bring this unique folk art to Tucson.  I hope the sale works out very well for them so they will return.  If you are in Tucson this weekend you can make a purchase at the United Nations Association of Southern AZ on 10 and 11 December.  They have gifts in all price ranges for all art lovers.

Copal carvings

Copal carvings

Oaxacan folk art

Oaxacan folk art

Oaxacan folk art

Oaxacan folk art

Oaxacan folk art

Oaxacan folk art

Copal carvings

Copal carvings

Copal carvings

Copal carvings

img_1949

Copal carvings

Copal carvings

Copal carvings

Copal carvings

Copal carvings

Copal carvings

Copal carvings

Copal carvings

Cruz family carvers

Cruz family carvers

folk art from Oaxaca

folk art from Oaxaca

Copal carvings

Copal carvings

my new frog

my new frog

my new frog

my new frog

 

 

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comments

I love the artwork. It’s colorful, engaging and interesting.

Like

Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

December 19, 2016

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