Meet the Winners

CERAMICS: Fernando Félix Peguero García is a 20-year-old ceramicist from Santa María Atzompa, a pueblo with a rich ceramics tradition. He created a magnificent 31- piece assemblage of terra cotta decorated with a palette of natural colors. Fernando explains, “If they couldn’t marry in life, in death they can find love and happiness for eternity“ in a place where social class does not exist and marriage between rich and poor can be a reality.


WOODCARVING: Raymundo Fabián Melchor, 19-years-old, comes from San Martín Tilcajete, a well-known woodcarving pueblo. He masterfully carved “Zapotec Warrior” to honor the past when animals lived in harmony with nature. Through his dramatic, unpainted figure he calls for greater protection for animals in danger of extinction, such as the eagle and jaguar which signify vision and power in his Zapotec culture.


PAINTING OF WOODCARVING: Justina Xuana Fabián, age 20, designed and decoratively painted “Devil’s Mask,” and carved it with the assistance of her father and teacher, Justo, himself a second-generation artist. It commemorates the celebration of Carnival which takes place in January and February in her pueblo, San Martín Tilcajete, and embodies mysterious and occult elements of her culture: horns represented by birds, a mouth formed by the beak of an eagle, and cheeks incorporating a cat and a panther.


TEXTILES: 15-year-old Isaac Armando Martínez Laso, a third-generation weaver from Teotitlán del Valle, created “Greca Frets of Mitla” a magnificently executed shuttle-loom weaving combining mysticism, science, and tradition. Each fret, or step, of the intricate design has a Zapotecan significance: the beginning from conception to birth; childhood, youth, and maturity in all its aspects. The line pointing downward represents old age and death, while horizontal lines reference life in another world. While deeply respecting tradition, Armando also loves to invent and to continue to learn.


VARIOS (OTHER MODALITIES): Jesús Canseco Zárate, a 19-year-old resident of Oaxaca City, is the creator of “La Catrina,” a papier mâché figure that “has a lot of life…a strong presence.” For many years Jesús filled every space in his home with drawings until he discovered his love of this medium two years ago. His Day of the Dead figures playfully poke fun at the after-life, while simultaneously paying homage to the dead, rendering them with different gestures, shapes and colors and preserving their culture and tradition. Jesús carefully studies anatomy and incorporates this knowledge with great precision in his works.

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The PBS Peabody award winning documentary series "Craft in America" filmed portions of two excellent upcoming programs in Oaxaca, one -- "Neighbors" -- partially in collaboration with FOFA. These programs explore connections through craft between Mexico and the United States.

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Oaxacan Popular Arts in the New Millennium, Nurturing Young Artists

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