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Mexico Cultural Theme Unit
Transcript of Mexico Cultural Theme Unit
by Pam Hill
Mexico is just across the border from the United States. At one time, California and Florida were a part of Mexico. Guatemala borders the south of Mexico. For thousands of years, Mexico's Indians, the Aztec and Mayan, were the only people who lived in Mexico. In 1519 people from Spain began to settle Mexico. The Spanish and Mexican cultures blended and formed their own unique culture called Mexican. Mexico has many different types of people living in different regions including the desert region in the north and the rainforest in the south. There are secluded mountains and other areas with big cities. The people have different languages and customs. All of these regions effect the art of Mexico (Lewis, 2004).
The Sun Symbol
When men became aware of the light from the sun and the relationship between light and day, darkness and night, and the Sun and Moon they assigned them each a value. The sun received the positive value-life and flourishing nature. The moon's value was negative-the world of death and decline.
The sun's positive energy is associated with many spring festivals. It signals a time of life that is reborn and flourishes. The figure of the sun can be seen in the roundness of Mexican tortillas, which nourish and provides energy for our body. The form of the tortilla-round, and the corn-yellow like the sun, bring together symbolic elements of the positive value.
The force of the sun cannot be diminished by anyone, not even the moon. The sun is luminous life that gives heat and is represented in all sorts of clay forms, copper, murals, bracelets, and necklaces.
Frida Kahlo (1907 - 1954) She did not want to become a painter, but rather a doctor. She had a tragic accident at the age of 18 that left her mentally and physically scarred for life. Frida had no formal art training . Her unique style is influenced from other artists, people, cultures, and life itself. Frida is best known for her self-portraits. She married Diego Rivera on Aug. 21, 1929. Diego influenced Frida to paint in the "folkloric" style. This style has vivid and varied colors. Frida associated different meanings with different colors. Green - good warm light; Magenta - Aztec, the brightest and oldest; Yellow - madness, sickness, fear, part of the sun and joy; Cobalt Blue - electricity and purity love; Black - nothing is black - really nothing; Leaf Green - leaves, sadness, science; Dark Green - good business; Navy Blue - distance (fridakahlofans.com)
Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird,
1940, Oil on canvas. http://www.artchive.com/artchive/K/kahlo/kahlo_self40.jpg.html
The Two Fridas
, 1939, oil on canvas
Still Life with Parrot and Fruit
, 1951, oil on canvas.
Diego Rivera (1886-1957) Painter and muralist. He sought to make art that reflected the lives of the working class and native people of Mexico. He traveled to Europe in 1907 to further his studies. He became friends with Pablo Picasso amongst others that influenced his work. In Italy, the Renaissance frescos inspired him to create a series of murals about Mexico's people on the walls of public buildings (biography.com)
Describe the similarities in Kahlo's and Rivera's work.
Explain why you think there is monkey and a jaguar in Frida's self portrait.
Do you see a difference in the two Frida's? Explain what they are.
What do the feet under the basket represent in Diego's work?
Describe the clothing the little girl is wearing. Do you have clothes similar to them?
Diego Rivera, Palacio Nacional Mural Mexico City
Portrait of the child Delfina, little girl with coral necklace,
1927, oil on canvas.
El Vendedor De Alcatraces
, 1941, oil on canvas.
la Molendera (The Grinder),
oil on canvas,192
Have you ever been to Mexico? Do you know anyone who is from Mexico? Can you speak Spanish?
Describe what the sun means to you?
Explain the patterns that you see in the images. What color is used the most?
Using the principles of design, describe the images you see. (hint - balance, emphasis/contrast, unity, rhythm/movement, variety, proportion, and pattern)
The Day of the Dead Celebration
On November 1st and 2nd Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead. This is a very special ritual in which the living happily and lovingly remember their departed relatives. They celebrate with food - fruit, sugar skulls, and bread decorated with bones and a small round piece which symbolizes a tear are popular; flowers - orange marigold their color represents earth tones and guides the souls to their homes and alters; and skulls - all types and sizes (Herz, 2012).
Jose Guadalupe Posada was a lithographer and print maker. He created the iconic skeleton lady used during the Day of the Dead celebrations (mexicanfolkart).
Jose Guadalupe Posada, La Calavera Catrina (Dapper Skeleton, Elegant Skull), zinc etching, 1910-1913
Bone Bread with sugar skulls
Describe the shapes and patterns you see in the images.
Do you think we should celebrate the Day of the Dead? Why or why not?
Can you explain what iconic means?
Explain why flowers are used to decorate the skulls?
Decorated clay skulls
Skeletons on display in the market
Aguilar, E. B., (2014).
Punched hojalata (tin) work
. Retrieved from http://www.mexicoartshow.com/badillo.html
Agur, D. (2014).
Jose Guadalupe Posada.
In Folk Art Guide. Retrieved from http://www.mexican-folk-art-guide.com/jose-guadalupe-posada.html#.VGjtVUtf3rY
Agur, D. (2014).
Amate paper paintings.
Retrieved from http://www.mexican-folk-art-guide.com/amate-paper.html#.VG-RuUtf3rY
(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alebrije
Ancient Aztec art.
(2013). Retrieved from http://www.aztec-history.com/ancient-aztec-art.html
Brooks, M. (2005).
Frida Kahlo fans.
Retrieved from http://www.fridakahlofans.com/index.html
(n.d). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartoner%C3%ADa
Chichen Itza, Yucatan region.
(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mysteriousplaces.com/mayan/TourEntrance.html
Diego Rivera biography.
In bio. Retrieved from http://www.biography.com/people/diego-rivera-9459446
Guzman, O. (2012).
The culture of the sun.
Retrieved from http://www.inside-mexico.com/sun.htm
Herz, M. (2012).
Day of the dead: Celebration, history, & origins.
Retrieved from http://www.inside-mexico.com/featuredead.htm
Herz, M. (2012).
Mexican folk art: The art of creating Trees of Life
. Retrieved from http://www.inside-mexico.com/folk/treesoflife.htm
Lewis, E. (2004).
Mexican art & culture.
Chicago, IL: Raintree.
Rademacher, L. (2014).
Mexican pottery and decor.
Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/about_6715111_mexican-pottery-decor.html
Mayan' s Influence on Art
Ancient Mayan Indians developed astronomy, the calendar system, and hieroglyphic writing. They also created elaborate ceremonial architecture - pyramids, temples, palaces, and observatories all built without metal tools. They were skilled weavers and potters. The Mayans also liked to play sports and built huge ball courts to play their games. (mysteriousplaces.com)
Weaving with a backstrap loom is still done today. They use cotton, wool, and other fibers to weave clothes called huipils, which are like long shirts with or without sleeves. They are heavily decorated with embroidery, lace, ribbons, and more. Some of the designs have meanings associated with them.
The Great Ball Court of Chichen Itza
Mayan pottery: What images do you see ?
What do you think they represent?
Do you notice any patterns? If so, describe them.
Describe what you notice about the design.
What elements dominate the weaving?
Explain where you think the other end of the loom is?
How long do you think weaving a huipil takes?
What shapes do you see in the calendar?
What type of sports do you think they played?
Explain how they built the pyramids without metal tools?
The Aztec's Influence on Art
Identify some shapes in the hieroglyphics.
The Aztec's had a variety of art including richly colored clothing, ear pieces, bracelets, and necklaces, ceremonial knives, head dresses, and architecture. Many things were decorated with jewels and feathers. Stories were written in pictures called pictographs. They showed conquests, sacrifices, and daily life. They made statues from stone as well as carved pillars. They produced masks, pottery, shields, and painted walls. Art could be made with gold, silver, copper, jewels, feathers, coral, clay, and stone. Ancient Aztec's used the black-on-orange pottery style. Designs often used a white background with black and white, or red and orange colors on top. They were known for using geometric shapes and repeating patterns. In time, they used more naturalistic patterns such as animals and fish. Mosaics were very common. Masks were covered in turquoise or shells and had no eye-holes. They were used for decorations and were not to be worn. Their art was realistic showing age and expression. Aztec's used symbols for writing, keeping time and dates, names and titles on buildings, in artwork, and in clothing. They used all forms of nature as well. For example, jaguars, snakes (rattlesnakes were a favorite), dogs, birds, and insects were common. The frog represented joy, butterflies symbolized transformation, monkeys represented dance and celebration. Using the symbols could create a rich story (aztec-history.com).
Is there a dominant color used? What is it?
What type of shapes and patterns are used?
Decide if the pottery useful or not? Explain.
Have you participated in any ceremonies? What kind?
Are pictographs used today? How are they used today?
Pottery is popular all around Mexico. The region and customs of the local people determine the material and style of the pieces. The coastal regions use shades of dark blue, bright greens, and white like those colors in the ocean. Inland areas use red, burnt orange, yellow, and white more often. The colors come from nature and are used to create bold contrast. Mata Ortiz pottery is a traditional coil pot. Casa Grandes pottery uses patterns with birds and leaves. Talavera pottery is the oldest glazed pottery found in Mexico and the most popular. It has a milky-white glaze. Talavera pottery is made the same way today as it was in the 16th century. They hand-throw pots on a wheel and used a glaze of tin and lead. Only six colors made from natural pigments - mauve, green, orange, black, blue, and yellow are used. Oaxaca is black due to the black clay found in the city of Oaxaca. It is called Barro Negro or "black mud" (ehow.com)
Mata Ortiz and Casa Grandes pottery
Oaxaca Barro Negro pottery
Describe how the different pottery can be used.
What patterns do you see repeating?
Identify the contrasting colors you see in the pottery.
Do you see animals shapes? If so, what type.
Why do you think they portrayed animals on their pottery?
Compare and contrast the different types of pottery shown. How are they alike and different?
Alebrijes are brightly colored Oaxacan folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures. In the 1930's, Pedro Linares fell ill and while he was in bed he dreamt of a strange place resembling a forest. He saw trees, animals, rocks, and clouds that turned into strange animals that he never saw before. He saw a donkey with butterfly wings, a rooster with bull horns, a lion with an eagle head, and they were all shouting one word, "Alebrijes". He recovered and started recreating the creatures out of papier mache (en.wikipedia.org).
Arboles de la Vida or Trees of Life are clay sculptures covered with flowers, leaves, and biblical figures. Stories are recounted through the splendid candelabra sculptures.
Pinatas are found at parties year round, they are most traditionally used at Christmas. The pinata came to Mexico from Europe during the colonial period, and breaking a container to get treats came from Asia. Originally old pots were filled with seasonal fruits, candy, and other prizes for children who would take turns trying to break the pinata while blindfolded. Today, most pinatas are made from papier mache and decorated with crepe paper and other items. The most traditional shape is a star with five to nine points. (en.wikipedia.org)
Describe the animals that make up these images.
Analyze the colors used in the creatures? Are they bold, soft, complementary, natural?
Have you ever tried to break a pinata? When and why?
Predict the story for each of the Trees of Life images.
Have you seen anything similar to a Tree of Life sculpture?
Tin art is one of the least known and most beautiful expressions of Mexican folk art. It is shaped, stamped, punched and cut into a wide variety of artwork. It is still very popular today and it dates back to the 1500's in Mexico's history. Candle holders, plates, frames, and other household objects are made from this popular metal and are often hand painted in bright colors (mexicanartshow.com).
Amate Paper is created from the bark of the wild fig tree, the nettle tree, and the mulberry tree, each with a different tone of color, ranging from coffee browns to silvery whites. The bark is washed and boiled with ashes or calcium hydroxide until soft. Then they rinse the pulp and lay it on a wooden board to beat it with a stone until the fibers fuse into a paste. They let the paste dry in the sun. They paint the paper with colorful acrylic paint depicting animals and birds. The paper is used also to make symmetrical cutouts. The designs are supposed to ward of disease, protect crops, or guard homes. They use fancy designs or symbols with the human form and elements of nature. A typical design might contain the head of a man, with the wings of a bird, and maybe the feet of a chicken.
Music by Mariachi Garibaldi
Title: La Cucaracha