Oaxaca Tales: Printmaking Collectives & Museums

Printmaking Workshop Passport

One of the unexpected surprises of the International Shibori Symposium in Oaxaca was the exciting proliferation of small printmaking collectives. Most of them are focused on large scale wood- and lino- cuts, often in political themes. I visited many of the ones located in Oaxaca centro. For this, I used a “Pasaporte Grafico” walking tour guide containing a map, something about each of the ten venues, plus an opportunity to receive a “stamp” at each venue visited. Passports are available at each venue.  The entire walking tour was easy to accomplish and inspiring in its discoveries.

The Instituto de Artes Graficas was founded by famed Mexican artist Francisco Toledo, who also played a hand in many other Oaxaca cultural institutions, like the Ethnobotanical Garden. The Instituto has an exhibition space, gathering spot, library, shop and more. Taller Oaxaca Grafico is located near the Instituto de Artes Graficas and focuses on showcasing prints by founding members Edith Chavez, Dario Castillejos, MK Kabrito, Alberto Cruz and Ivan Bautista.

Insitituto Grafica, Oaxaca
at the Instituto Graficas
Courtyard connecting exhibition space, gallery, work space and libraries at the Instito de Artes Graficas

 Espacio Zapata “arte popular” is awesome and exciting for those of us who have done printmaking and screen printing. It has mutiple rooms and includes a small restaurant. On the walls are wood or linocuts used for printing, some nearly 2 meters long. It seems more a working space; the “sales” area is smaller by comparison and has a T-shirt shop feel. Its mission is “a political graphics production workshop for artists who consider and utilize art as a tool to support the struggle of our people.”

Espacio Zapata

 

restaurant at Espacio Zapata “arte popular”
Large scale woodcut substrate mounted on the wall at Espacio Zapata “arte popular”
silkscreens ready to use at Espacio Zapata “arte popular”
The scale of these woodcuts is awesome, at Espacio Zapata “arte popular”

At Estampa, I spoke with with H.L. Santiago Martinez, a painter. Estampa was once home to multiple artists, now just two and is evolving into more of a community arts space where conversations about graphic and visual arts promote national and international artists. It has a coffee shop. Later this month, it will host a book arts event.

At Estampa, painter H. L. Santiago Martinez

Gabinete Grafico has a wide range of work displayed in a way that is easily accessible for viewing and sold.  A very small space with one press and one work table, it makes excellent use of walls and loft to display an exciting array of work. When I was there, one of the artists, Celi Irving Herrera, was working on cutting a woodcut. Visit them on Facebook.

At Gabinete Grafico
At Gabinete Grafico

I also visited Oaxaca Subsuelo, which exhibits and sells local Oaxaca art work, and Taller Siqueiros Gallery, mentioned as a space “dedicated to spreading Oaxaca and international street art.”

Not on the passport, but noteworthy is the current exhibition at Oaxaca’s cultural museum, the  Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca, located in the converted Dominican Abbey next to Santa Domingo and the Ethnobotanical Garden. It featured a huge show of graphic art by Leopoldo Mendez.

In addition to hundreds of prints, we also got to see Leopold Mendez’ original linocuts, tools and letters.