The ArtisTS

Miguel Ángel Martínez Reyes
Álvaro Sánchez Ramos
Gerardo Santiago Santos

Carving animal bones is a Oaxacan art form that goes back millennia but is practiced today by few artisans.

Miguel Ángel Martínez Reyes
[Honorable mention, FOFA 2013 contest]

Bone carving #1.jpg
Bone carving #2.jpg

Pueblo of Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz
(two hours outside of Oaxaca City)
Barrio San Isidro
Primera Privada de Reforma s/n
Facebook: artistaescultormiguelangelmartinezreyes

(From US) Cell: 011-52-1-951-198-9696
(In Oaxaca) Cell: 044-951-198-9696     

Miguel Ángel carves cattle bones he obtains from the butcher, and works primarily with tools he fashions himself from a file, a razor and, most recently, a dental pick. It took him two weeks to carve these miniature elements, including Mother Earth, represented by a woman who nurtures life, corn, wheat and grapes. The corners of the base shows two faces, one Mayan, one Olmec, representing his ethnic roots. The only artist in his family, Miguel Ángel is entirely self-taught. He specializes in carving miniatures in bone and wood.

Álvaro Sánchez Ramos
[Honorable mention, FOFA 2016 contest]

Bone carving #3.jpg
Bone carving #4.jpg

Pueblo of Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz
(two hours outside of Oaxaca City)
Reforma #113 Colonia Centro

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-572-0026
Cell: 011-52-1-951-185-4459
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 572-0026
Landline to Cell: 044-951-1854459
Cell to Cell: 951-1854459

Álvaro carves bone by using techniques learned from woodcarving. His first art teacher was 2011 and 2013 FOFA first place-winning woodcarver Víctor Bustamante, who gave classes at Álvaro’s primary school. In this piece, which he calls his dream, he works with pig bone affixed to mesquite root. The right side portrays progressive phases of pre-Hispanic life, including carved characters in a funeral procession, constructing a pyramid, and then woodworking. A church forms a bridge to the left side, where Álvaro portrays the daily life of contemporary Oaxaca, including examples of folk art. The mother figure at the top represents “all of Oaxaca.”

Gerardo Santiago Santos
[1st prize in “Other Modalities,” FOFA’s 2018 contest]

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#31 piece.jpeg

Pueblo of Santo Tomás Tamazulapan (near Miahuatlán)
Lucia s/n

(From US) Landline: 011-52-595-112-7529
Cell: 011-52-1-595-2422654
(In Oaxaca) Landline to Landline: 112-7529
Landline to Cell: 044-595-242-2654
Cell to Cell: 595-242-2654

Many artifacts of ancient Zapotec culture have been found around Gerardo’s community of Santo Tomás Tamazulapan. Gerardo thought about these as he reflected on the numerous stories he learned from his recently deceased grandfather. “Who will remember these great teachers, the ancient artisans?” As a tribute to them, Gerardo reproduced the artifacts in carved bone, including a lance, a needle, a ritual ear lobe stretcher, a stamping stone, and a small knife, on which he carved the mythological water snake, the corn god Cozobi, sun/water god Cocijo and other stories. “I realized that our carving workshops were continuing an ancient tradition.”