MEET THE ARTISTS / CERAMICS
 

PAINTED RED

The ArtisTS

The Aguilar Family  

  • Concepción Aguilar Alcántara
  • Guillermina Aguilar Alcántara
  • Irene Aguilar Alcántara
  • Josefina Aguilar Alcántara
  • Demetrio García Aguilar
  • Fernando Garcia Aguilar
  • José Juan García Aguilar
  • Leticia García Aguilar
  • Rodrigo Eriverto García Aguilar
  • Sergio García Aguilar
  • Alba Noemí López Zárate
  • Jenifer Teresa García López
  • Margarita Noemí García López
  • Fran García Vásquez
  • Josefina García Vásquez

The Valencia Family

  • Luis Valencia Mendoza 
  • Jorge Valencia García

The Aguilar Family

 

(The late) Isaura Alcántara Diaz and (the late) Jesús Aguilar  Revilla

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Painted red #1.jpeg

During her lamentably short life, Isaura Alcántara Díaz was the innovator of an important and delightful genre of ceramics, a legacy she left when she died in 1969 at age 44. Her artistic collaboration with her husband, Jesús Aguilar Revilla, had a profound influence on the creative lives of four of their daughters, Guillermina, Josefina, Irene and Concepción, who have in turn inspired their own children and grandchildren. Departing from the utilitarian objects produced by their contemporaries in Ocotlán de Morelos, they introduced decorative human figures painted with great detail, imaginatively capturing the daily activities, emotional expressiveness and cultural richness of pueblo life.  Women in indigenous garb are portrayed transporting their wares and possessions, displaying and selling produce in the market, nursing babies, arranging flowers, attending funerals and weddings, praying, sitting on park benches with their enamorados (romantic loved ones), and celebrating fiestas. 


Concepción Aguilar Alcántara (daughter of Isaura and Jesús)

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Pueblo of Ocotlán de Morelos
Carretera de Oaxaca a Puerto Ángel Kilómetro #29

(From US) Cell: 011-52-1-951-181-3542
(In Oaxaca) Landline to Cell: 044-951-181-3542
Cell to Cell: 951-181-3542

Concepción takes special pride in the great detail of her pieces, finding inspiration for her work in nature.  She filters images and pictures through her vivid imagination, often applying a brilliant paint palette to them.   She creates a wide variety of beautifully decorated insects, and also vibrant cacti with painted butterflies and delicately textured rocks suspended from them. Concepción is also recognized for her Noah’s arks; elegant and expressive “Fridas” (figures based on Frida Kahlo); and many other types of female figures.


Guillermina Aguilar Alcántara (daughter of Isaura and Jesús)

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Pueblo of Ocotlán de Morelos
Prolongación de Morelos #430

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-571-1109
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 571-1109
 

The fertile family imagination is evident in the ceramic repertoire of Guillermina Aguilar Alcántara, which includes female figures (large, medium and small) in highly detailed costumes, right down to their dangling earrings. They are portrayed in every facet of daily life, such as selling and carrying their wares and nursing babies.  She also creates Trees of Life standing nearly a meter high; whimsical water jugs; and bells with animal heads. Guillermina considers the faces of her pieces, which are remarkably expressive, as her special contribution.


Irene Aguilar Alcántara (daughter of Isaura and Jesús)

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Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Painted red #7.jpg

Pueblo of Ocotlán de Morelos
Prolongación de Morelos #432
artesanairenea@yahoo.com.mx

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-571-0334
Cell: 011-52-1-951-134-2586
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 571-0334
Landline to Cell: 044-951-134-2586
Cell to Cell: 951-134-2586
 

As one steps into Irene’s home and studio, the broad range of her work isimmediately evident. She is known for her individual pieces such as musicians, devils, monks, ”women of the night,” catrinas (elegantly dressed female figures for Day of the Dead); and for fruteros (fruit bowls) on whose rims sit an array of reclining figures, including lovers, or the Three Kings, or muertos (skeletal figures engaged in human activities). In addition, she creates spectacular sculptural works, such as complex market scenes or an earth mother melded with foliage.


Josefina Aguilar Alcántara (daughter of Isaura and Jesús)

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Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Painted red #9.jpeg

Pueblo of Ocotlán de Morelos
Prolongación de Morelos #428
josefinam2@yahoo.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-571-0214
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 571-0214

Working in her mother and father’s tradition, Josefina has been deeply involved in her internationally recognized work as a ceramist. She created muñecas, male or female human figures, in a vast array of activities, venues and costumes.  She considered her specialties to include headdresses, mermaids, crosses, “women of the night,” the Last Supper and zocalo scenes (people seated on benches in the town square, including male lovers). These can be collected as individual figures or as elements to create scenes, such as a wedding, a funeral procession or a park bench. Josefina regards the faces of her figures, especially the noses, as her trademark. Since she has lost her vision in recent years, she presides over the work of her many children, who are excellent artists in their own right.


Demetrio García Aguilar (son of Josefina and grandson of Isaura and Jesús)

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Pueblo of Ocotlán de Morelos
Prolongación de Morelos #428
demetrio0@yahoo.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-571-0214
Cell 011-52-1-951-130-9115
(In Oaxaca) Landline 571-0214
Landline to Cell: 044-951-130-9115
Cell to Cell: 951-130-9115
 

With extraordinary painting and sculpting talent, Demetrio blends his mother’s traditions with his own unique style.  His sensitive, quiet manner masks his artistic power.  Demetrio’s pieces, both muñecas (female figures) and tableaux wall plaques, are deeply personal interpretations of religious, cultural and family themes. These include the expulsion from the Garden of Eden; the angelic and diabolical sides of human nature; scenes of the Day of the Dead festivities; and a portrait of his mother in her creative, maternal and farming roles.  Demetrio considers his Frida Kahlo and individual skeleton pieces bearing diverse emotions to be his special designs. He also loves to paint, an art form he regards as complementary to his ceramic creations.


Fernando Garcia Aguilar (son of Josefina and grandson of Isaura and Jesús)
[Honorable mention, FOFA’s 2013 contest]

Pueblo of Ocotlán de Morelos
Prolongación de Morelos #428

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-571-0214
Cell: 011-52-1-951-182-6035
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 571-0214
Landline to Cell: 044-951-182-6035
Cell to Cell 951-182-6035

Fernando is a 3rd generation member of the Aguilar family, the second youngest son of Josefina Aguilar Alcántara. The ceramic sculpture for which he was awarded honorable mention in FOFA’s 2013 young artists’ competition encompasses underwater and land scenes intended to convey the circle of life that begins with birth (the newborn baby) and ends with death. A tree, with its human heart and face, holds the moon but also blends into the sea. Butterfly children, who tend the natural environment to preserve it for the future, punctuate the scene. Flowers, a deer, fish, corn, and richly textured rock formations augment this effusive celebration of Mother Earth’s bounty. 


José Juan García Aguilar (son of Josefina and grandson of Isaura and Jesús)

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Pueblo of Ocotlán de Morelos
Prolongacion de Industria s/n
j.j.garciamix@hotmail.com

(From US) Cell 011-52-1-951-222-0050
(In Oaxaca) Landline to Cell 044-951-222-0050
Cell to Cell: 951-222-0050

The only one of Josefina Aguilar’s children who has a workshop outside of the family compound, José Juan specializes in highly detailed interpretation of ordinary people engaged in everyday activities, e.g., making tortillas, selling in the market. Proud of being Oaxacan, he also portrays the culture of his state, e.g., masks found in the ancient ruins of Monte Albán and dancers in the annual Guelaguetza celebration. José Juan likes to mix his own colors to achieve special effects, such as to achieve a baroque appearance, for example painting what is typically a white dress as off-white. His palette consists of extremely warm colors, sometimes accented with metallic tones of gold and copper.
 


Leticia García Aguilar (Josefina’s daughter and granddaughter of Isaura and Jesús)

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Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Painted red #17.JPG

Pueblo of Ocotlán de Morelos
Prolongación de Morelos #428
lety_84@yahoo.com

(From US) Cell: 011-52-1-951-216-2421
(In Oaxaca) Landline to Cell: 044-951-216-2421
Cell to Cell: 951-216-2421

Leticia, the only daughter and fifth of nine children of Josefina Aguilar, learned to work in clay and to paint from her mother. Her figures, most of which are women, are notable for their emotionally expressive faces. Leticia finds inspiration in nature and her indigenous culture. She captures aspects of daily life, the flora and fauna of her village, and myths as seen in details of women selling in the market and fishing some of whom are pregnant, mermaids, and birds. The colors she selects for decorating her pieces contribute significantly to their effect; happy subjects must be conveyed in light rather than dark colors, she comments. 


Rodrigo Eriverto García Aguilar (son of Josefina and grandson of Isaura and Jesús)

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Pueblo of Ocotlán de Morelos
Prolongación de Morelos #428

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-571-0214
Cell: 011-52-1-951-223-8364
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 571-0214
Landline to Cell: 044-951-223-8364
Cell to Cell: 951-223-8364

Also taught by his renowned ceramicist mother, Josefina Aguilar, Rodrigo began to produce figures at eight years of age. Inspired by the many living things he observes when he works in the fields in his pueblo, he often gives human faces to the animals he sculpts.  Rodrigo explains that many animals are as intelligent as humans, demonstrating remarkable sensibility for nature for which humans do not always show respect. He expresses this in the background of his piece that has a deserted quality. Rodrigo paints his pieces, and is also helped by his wife.


Sergio García Aguilar (son of Josefina and grandson of Isaura and Jesús)

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Pueblo of Ocotlán de Morelos
Prolongación de Morelos #428
albanoemilopez_34@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-571-0214
Cell: 011-52-1-951-570-3932
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 571-0214
Landline to Cell: 044-951-570-3932
Cell to Cell: 951-570-3932

Sergio, the third of Josefina Aguilar’s nine children, is inspired by typical scenes of people carrying out their daily work. For example, he captures the activities of a mezcalero who tends cactus in preparation for mezcal production and a man who sells pottery used for domestic purposes. He grew up playing with clay in his well-known ceramic family, producing his first piece when he was five. Sergio would like the public to grasp the complex process involved in creating the ceramic figures for which his family is known, beginning with collecting the clay from designated mines near his home, from which he had just come; he believes this would add to their appreciation of the value of this art.


Alba Noemí López Zárate (daughter-in-law of Josefina and wife of Sergio)
[Honorable mention, FOFA’s 2013 contest]  

Pueblo of Ocotlán de Morelos
Prolongación de Morelos #428
albanoemilopez_34@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline 011-52-951-571-0214
(In Oaxaca) Landline 571-021

Alba began to work in clay at 16 years of age, learning from her mother-in-law, Josefina Aguilar, who has motivated her to persist, allowing shape to emerge from clay in her hands.  The piece for which Alba received honorable mention in FOFA’s 2013 young artists’ contest features a woman, water and earth. Alba explained that the plant being born in the woman’s stomach symbolizes life. There are three surrounding trees, each one forming the shape of a face, sculpted as butterflies, symbolizing life in nature. Alba worries that, “the earth that we have is in decay; in the past we were able to see another kind of countryside that our children will not be able to enjoy.” 


Jenifer Teresa García López (granddaughter of Josefina and daughter of Sergio and Alba Noemí)  
[Winner of Youth prize, FOFA’s 2016 contest]
 

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Pueblo of Ocotlán de Morelos
Prolongación de Morelos #428
albanoemilopez_34@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-1-951-571-0214
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 571-0214

Jenifer, granddaughter of Josefina Aguilar, feels a strong connection with her ancestors because her people continue to follow their ancient traditions.  She learned her craft from her father Sergio, Josefina’s son, and from her extended family.  At the center of her piece stands a large leafy tree.  At its top, growing out of the trunk, is a divided head - half skeleton, half living being - which represents life and death. On the trunk is a fetus whose umbilical cord becomes the roots of life that extend beneath the tree. Draping down the tree trunk is a rebozo that shelters the people along its path. 


Margarita Noemí García López (granddaughter of Josefina and daughter of Sergio and Alba Noemí) 
[FOFA’s 2016 contest]

Pueblo of Ocotlán de Morelos
Prolongación de Morelos #428
albanoemilopez_34@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-571-0214
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 571-0214 

Margarita learned to work in clay from her parents and her grandmother, Josefina Aguilar. As she matures, she would like to learn more about the larger world and to illustrate the pain of the Conquest, as well as the strength and support provided by members of her community towards one another. The tree painted on the skirt of her figure is being felled by two silhouettes, representing the Spanish conquerors, while the roots of this tree reach up to form helping hands. Margarita conveys the indomitable spirit of her people, despite the hardships they have suffered. 


Fran García Vásquez (granddaughter of Josefina and daughter of Demetrio)
[Honorable mention, FOFA’s 2008, 2011, 2013, 2016 contests]
 

Pueblo of Ocotlán de Morelos
Prolongación de Morelos #428
garciafran0687@yahoo.es

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-571-0214
Cell: 011-52-1-951-571-0214
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 571-0214
Landline to Cell: 044-951-277-6419
Cell to Cell: 951-277-6419

Fran proudly continues the artistic tradition of her grandmother and father, master ceramicists. In many of her pieces, she communicates a message of alarm about the problems that the world must confront. Fran’s celebration of Mother Earth features a tree with human elements replete with symbolism. This pregnant female figure has the power to give life, and her heart, visible within the trunk, is essential for vigorous and courageous survival. Its roots, like an umbilical cord, give us vital sustenance, here portrayed as fruit and corn. The major branches represent man and woman who together create life. Deep greens and browns reinforce its theme, accented by bright pastels of Mother Earth’s produce. In addition to supporting her in her artistic endeavors, Josefina and other members of her family have given Fran the strength to embrace her transgender life, something that is extremely difficult in her pueblo culture.  
 


Josefina García Vásquez (granddaughter of Josefina and daughter of Demetrio)

Pueblo of Ocotlán de Morelos
2a Privada de Industria #39

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-539-6582
Cell: 011-52-1-951-107-4377
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 539-6582
Landline to Cell: 044-951-107-4377
Cell to Cell: 951-107-4377
 

Young Josefina learned this craft at the feet of her father and grandmother, ceramists Demetrio García and Josefina Aguilar. “Soy Oaxaca” represents women throughout the Central Valleys of Oaxaca. On her head rests a basket holding La Soledad, the patron saint of Oaxaca state, in a place of honor. Scattered on her skirt are examples of the folk arts of the region: textiles, ceramics, cornhusk work, and a Day of the Dead skull. She explains, “I started by making little balls and sticks, and gradually added other more complicated forms.“ Josefina hopes to continue to develop her ceramic work, and perhaps to become famous one day. 


San Antonino del Castillo Velasco

The Valencia Family

 

Luis Valencia Mendoza

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Pueblo of San Antonino del Castillo Velasco
Macedonio Alcalá #6 

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-571-1631
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 571-1631

With his fertile imagination, Luis Valencia creates prominent, boldly painted ceramic pieces that blend tradition and modernity. His work is intended to share the legends, traditions and customs of his Zapotec pueblo, as well as the desires and hopes of his people. In his words, “the oral tradition of Oaxaca travels in the ceramic works and painting of Luis Valencia!” Luis also paints voluminous canvases in both oil and watercolor.


Jorge Valencia García (son of Luis)

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Pueblo of San Antonino del Castillo Velasco
Macedonio Alcalá #6
valenciaarte@outlook.com 

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-571-1631
Cell: 011-52-1-951-509-1911
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 571-1631
Landline to Cell: 044-951-509-1911
Cell to Cell: 951-509-1911

Jorge is a talented ceramicist-painter who ceaselessly seeks additional ideas as he observes the environment surrounding him. His ceramic works include extremely tall sculptural, larger than life-size figures, such as an abstract, pregnant muerto (Day of the Dead figure); women who play saxophone; and a dog decorated with four-legged winged animals. The muted, pastel shades in which Jorge paints his pieces lend great subtlety to this work.