Mexico Redux 3 – A Yarn of Magic…

For explanation of this series please see Mexico Redux 1.

I wrote this post just before leaving for an extended painting trip to Mexico in January 2012. I have edited the original for this redux.   I talk about Huichol art because the high desert surrounding San Miguel De Allende (the town I paint in) is home to the ancient peoples and rituals that give birth to this art form. Huichol art has always been cloaked in a veil of mysticism — probably one of the reasons serious collectors seek out this form of artesanía. Colourful, symbolic ‘yarn paintings,’ inspired by visions experienced during spiritual ceremonies, characterize Huichol art. In the ceremonies, shaman artists ingest peyote, a hallucinogenic, which induces brightly coloured visions; these are considered messages from their ancestors. The symbolic and mythological imagery of these visions influences the art, which encompasses not only yarn paintings but also fascinating masks and bowls decorated with tiny colored beads. ‘Yarn paintings’ are created by patiently and sensitively adhering hundreds of strips of brightly coloured yarn to a solid background to form images such as are seen in the artwork above.

I purchased this ‘yarn painting’ from Antonio, a Huichol shaman artist in San Miguel De Allende. Despite our difficulty in conversing – his English and my Spanish being poor – I understood that certain symbolic images appear in this work. I wrote down what I could understand of what Antonio told me about those images and have made a tentative translation of his words into a poem of sorts:

Wearing the mask of the sacred deer the Healer dances until dawn around the ceremonial fire. We all dance until dawn around the ceremonial fire.

Taking the meat of the sacred deer the Healer feeds the people and the gods around the ceremonial fire. We all feed each other around the ceremonial fire.

Before the dawn the Healer must perform the cleansing. The Moon offers the Healer her secret power of wisdom and dreams to perform the cleansing and we are cleansed.

After the dawn the Healer must perform the healing. The Sun offers the Healer his secret power of heat and light and with eagle feathers the Healer performs the healing and we are healed.

At noon the Water God sends the Hummingbird. The Hummingbird is the third blessing of the dance. The Hummingbird brings laughter and children and blesses the Healer and we are all blessed.

At sunset the Healer blesses the corn. The blessing of the corn offers hope for a full harvest, offers hope for our health and for our children’s health, offers full bellies for us all.

In this way we honour our gods. In this way we honour our ancestors. In this way we honour the earth. In this way we honour ourselves.

 Huichol Yarn Painting by Antonio / Poem by Clinock.

HASTA LUEGO

Hola – In a few days I will be leaving for Mexico and will be traveling and painting there for two months or so. If the Agave gods grant me some clarity I will try to blog occasionally – float some images and thoughts into the ether for you angels. I won’t be sitting in front of computer screens much so therefore will rarely be able to follow individual blogs or make comments. To all my new cyber-friends I say thank you for visiting me at art rat café, for looking at my art and reading my words. Thank you also for all of your supportive comments, as a Leo I positively glow and purr from all that attention!              Keep on truckin’ …

Huichol art has always been cloaked in a veil of mysticism — probably one of the reasons serious collectors seek out this form of artesanía. Colourful, symbolic yarn ‘paintings,’ inspired by visions experienced during spiritual ceremonies, characterize Huichol art. In the ceremonies, shaman artists ingest peyote, a hallucinogenic, which induces brightly coloured visions; these are considered messages from their ancestors. The symbolic and mythological imagery of these visions influences the art, which encompasses not only yarn paintings but also fascinating masks and bowls decorated with tiny colored beads. Yarn ‘paintings’ are created by patiently and sensitively adhering hundreds of strips of brightly coloured yarn to a solid background to form images such as are seen in this artwork. I purchased this yarn ‘painting’ from Antonio, a Huichol artist in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico. Despite our difficulty in conversing – his English and my Spanish being poor – I understood that certain symbolic images appear in this work. I wrote down what I could understand of what Antonio told me about those images and have made my tentative translation of his words into a poem:

Wearing the mask of the sacred deer

The Healer dances ‘til dawn

Around the ceremonial fire.

We all dance ’til dawn

Around the fire.

 

Taking the meat of the sacred deer

The Healer feeds the people

And the gods

Around the ceremonial fire.

We all feed around the fire.

 

Before the dawn the Healer must

Perform the healing.

The Moon offers the Healer

The secret power of wisdom and dreams

To perform the healing,

And we are healed.

 

After the dawn the Healer must

Perform the cleansing.

The Sun offers the Healer

The secret power of heat and light.

And with eagle feathers

The Healer performs the cleansing,

And we are cleansed.

 

At noon the water god sends the Hummingbird.

The Hummingbird is the third blessing of the dance.

The Hummingbird brings laughter and children

And blesses the Healer,

And we are all blessed.

 

At sunset the Healer blesses the corn.

The blessing of the corn

Offers hope for a full harvest,

Offers hope for our health

And for our children’s health,

Offers full bellies for us all.

 

In this way we honour our gods,

In this way we honour our ancestors,

In this way we honour the earth,

In this way we honour ourselves.

 (Huichol yarn ‘painting’ by Antonio / poem by Clinock)