For ages Mexicans have been the butt of jokes for their purported “Mañana -- I’ll get to it tomorrow” attitude. Synonymous with slow service, drawn out lunches and siestas, they’re said to live their lives at a snail’s pace. For a Manhattanite like myself, our move to Mexico was a potential threat – might I be forced to reduce my usual comet-like speed to the point of lethargy?
What I’ve found during our two years in Oaxaca is a world of simultaneity. People stroll past architecture that dates from the 1500’s while talking on cell phones, and the ruins of magnificent vanished civilizations are just a short drive away. Perhaps this proximity to history is why Mexicans take more time to celebrate life as well as death with extended fiestas
Diego Rivera mural
This simultaneity is reflected in their art as well. “The Big Three” as they were known – Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco – painted complex murals seamlessly marrying modern and ancient history with social and political themes. Their enormous frescoes brought social realist art into public spaces throughout the world in their heyday, from the 1920’s through the 1950’s.
A day in Oaxaca part one...
Being surrounded by so much history has made me slow down to take stock of my relationship to this world as well. My sketchbook drawings, which at first I randomly jotted down as separate unconnected images, have melded together into unified visual narratives.
A day in Oaxaca part 2
Good ol' NYC!
When we get back to Manhattan next month, I’m looking forward to a return to the energy of the greatest city in the world, but hope to retain the influence of Mexico. Along with an appreciation for simultaneity, I’m hoping to continue my practice of longer lunches and siestas.
That is, if I can find the time.