Indigenous artisans from Mexico on Saturday demonstrated some of the centuries-old processes they use to create a variety of items, then sold those items at a Del Rio art gallery.
The event, held at the Falcon Art Gallery, 301 E. Garfield Ave., was part of an ongoing series of projects called “32 Estados Indígenas de México, 32 Murales,” (“32 Indigenous States of Mexico, 32 Murals”), initiated by Del Rio artist and gallery owner Adrian Falcon.
“The first mural I did was in Tasquillo, in the Mexico state of Hidalgo, and the mural contains the symbols of the municipality,” Falcon said.
He noted the mural’s name, “Overcoming,” is contained in the work in three languages – English, Spanish and Hñähñú, the language of the Otomi people of the Hidalgo region.
Falcon noted the second phase of the project is bringing indigenous artists and artisans to Ciudad Acuña and to Del Rio to teach people about the Otomi people, language and culture.
“Tasquillo artisans are creative people and workers who seek to raise the name of Hidalgo, in addition to promoting and disseminating the mother tongue to children and young people with the aim of promoting and preserving,” Falcon said.
Eight Otomi artisans crossed the Rio Grande and demonstrated a number of different hand crafts, including how fibers are taken from the fleshy leaves of the maguey plant, a type of agave native to Mexico. They then used those fibers to create a variety of useful and beautiful items, from table runners to clothing.
Falcon said 12 of the Otomi artisans stayed in Ciudad Acuña for a similar show there.
“The event gives the Otomi a chance to market their items and show the people of Del Rio and Acuña the Otomi and their native language,” Falcon said.
“I hope this event teaches us all to be a little more open-minded to the world,” he added.
A Tasquillo city official who joined the artisans on their trip to Del Rio said she was impressed by the welcome accorded the Otomi.
“It’s important because the artisans come to show and exhibit, show how they make the items, and they come to show the importance of their trade and exhibit their experience, and it is unique because they have never gone out of the country before, and coming to the north, to Acuña and Del Rio is a big experience for them. They’ve never seen anything north of Mexico,” Martha Alicia Cruz Ramírez, Tasquillo city representative, said.
“They are very grateful for the opportunity,” she added.
The event also played a personal role for one Otomi family.
Two young U.S. residents, who live in Abilene, Texas, and who had never met their Otomi grandmother, heard that she would be in Del Rio for the event and made the trip here to meet her for the first time.
As part of the exhibition, Falcon and members of his family created paintings of their experience with the Otomi. Those paintings were on display in the gallery during the event.
Falcon said the next event in the ongoing educational series will be in February 2020.
“We will be bringing out a lecturer from the Mayan civilization. One professor will be talking about the Maya language and their writing and the experience he had with us over there, and there will be another professor coming in to talk about the music and how that relates to their civilization,” Falcon said.