A special thrill awaits the visitor who enters this family’s large courtyard, the home of Jacobo Ángeles Ojeda and his wife, María del Carmen Mendoza. They are a dynamic couple with a reputation for their distinctive Zapotec painting style, reminiscent of the fine brushwork of Native Americans. They collaborate in creating pieces, primarily animals that are remarkable both in dimension and in their finely detailed decoration. Jacobo’s work reflects his belief that every person resembles an animal in some respects. This is a variant of the “nahual,” the belief in his pueblo that humans transform into animal spirits at night.
According to Jacobo, a woodcarver’s work is limited only by his imagination, as exemplified by his armadillo with a human face. He and María host a large workshop of young family members who carve and decoratively pieces that are more affordable (although still of excellent quality) than those carved by Jacobo and painted by María themselves. They are pleased to receive visitors to see them working, and to convey their way of life in a broader sense. Jacobo especially enjoys opportunities to teach children through his work.