In recent years there has been a small, yet growing, group of young people of indigenous and folk origins who are expressing themselves through art forms closer to "formal art" than "folk art." In some cases they develop within the traditions of their families' artisan world, and in other cases they find their "calling." Some have received formal art training, while others are self-taught.
Is this is a natural development or a transformation? Marta Turok, a Mexican applied anthropologist, will document transformations in the process of creation, based on her lifetime study of trends, public policy, and consumer interests. These have been conveyed in her paper on market-driven innovation in folk art during the second half of the 20th century. Now in the 21st century the patterns seem to be changing. Artisans report that sales have been falling in both Mexico and the US. Is there a change of perception in process, as "folk" falls out of favor with a segment of consumers? Turok has noticed that some Mexican NGO's, museums and foundations encourage conceptual art, facilitating "collaborations" between folk artists, artists and/or designers.
|Carlomagno Pedro Martínez|
Some consider it desirable for folk artists to exhibit their work in galleries and become well-known in mainstream art. Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art (FOFA) awards its contest winners scholarships to a fine arts school where they are exposed to contemporary techniques, materials, and work of contemporary artists practicing in modalities previously unfamiliar to them. This often results in unique blends of their local traditions with contemporary perspectives.
Marta Turok will consider examples and testimonies of a sampling of artists whose origins and life experience provide insight into their transformations, concerns, and satisfactions. Her observations will be supplemented by Carlomagno Pedro Martínez, who is uniquely positioned to reflect on this subject -- both as a ceramicist from an indigenous pueblo who has had formal art school training and as mentor to the region's folk artists in his role as Director of the Oaxaca State Museum of Popular Art since its founding in 2004. He will draw on his interactions with the more than 100 young artists who have participated in FOFA's folk art competitions, and in particular the young artists to whom FOFA has awarded scholarships.
|Carlomagno Pedro Martínez|
Carlomagno Pedro Martínez is an internationally renowned ceramicist from the Oaxacan pueblo of San Bartolo Coyotepec in which works in black clay ("barro negro") are traditionally created. Raised in what has come to be an important ceramics family, he has worked in clay since the age of four, developing his own unique style, as have each of his parents and siblings. Carlomagno has also had formal art school training at the Taller de Artes Plásticas Rufino Tamayo. He is especially known for the intense emotional expressiveness of his figures that convey themes of Day of the Dead, myths and history.
He has also generously contributed to the development of a great number of folk artists working in a wide variety of modalities, always maintaining a strong tie to his fellow artists and to his community.