Oaxacan Art Scene

Evenings in Oaxaca abound with cultural events. Dancing in the plazas, fiestas seemingly everywhere and art shows and performances to keep one’s calendar full. In addition to the happenings on the streets our group was part of the scene at two opening art receptions and took in a contemporary dance performance.

The Instituto de Artes Gráficas de Oaxaca hosted our first opening featuring pen and charcoal works of human and tree forms. The ambiance was enhanced by music that included a bell, champagne glass players and a wood instrument. A truly ethereal experience only to be improved upon by mezcal and horchata. Those in attendance did not reflect the Oaxacan residents experienced elsewhere in our visit. Definitely the art scene crowd of the upper middle class.

The next evening featured Frida, Frida, Frida. Yes, three Fridas. Apparently Frida Kahlo never visited Oaxaca (which is a shame, surely she would have loved it). Tonight’s artist photographed Frida stand-ins at locations throughout Oaxaca and has published the collection in a book. This event was the release party at Cafe Olla. Decor included Frida look-alikes, Frida dolls and art, a seemingly Diego Rivera shrine. Truly a fun party that was followed by a wonderful dinner on the rooftop patio.

Finally, my Spanish class and the PCC group attended a contemporary dance performance at the Casa de Cultura Oaxaqueña. Our Spanish instructor, Argelia, who is both lovely and very patient with our daily struggles with language learning, is also a dancer and invited us to her performance with her company.

The evening started with flavored water and chocolate cake at Lobo Azul Cafe. The rain then washed us to the Casa de Cultura Oaxaqueña. Upon entering the building you are struck by the beauty of the front courtyard. Inside, the walls merrily present art of all mediums that makes for a pleasant environment to learn and share cultural arts.

The rear courtyard was home to tonight’s dance performance of Fractales Amordazados. Five dancers performed a lovely piece that — knowing little of dance — I can not truly describe. We enjoyed the performance and Argelia, our Spanish instructor, is to be thanked for sharing her world outside the classroom with us.