SANTA FE, N.M. — Many Santa Fe collectors of folk art are familiar with Oaxaca, Mexico, because of its brightly colored wood carvings of animals, reptiles and fantastical creatures known as alebrijes, as well as for its black pottery and Zapotec rugs. But if Frank Rose gets his way, Oaxaca will gain more recognition in New Mexico for its printmaking.
Rose, who opened the Hecho a Mano gallery in March at 830 Canyon Rd., is mounting a show featuring the works of six printmakers from Oaxaca City. “Grabados Oaxaqueños” opens Friday, Oct. 25.
Rose traces the recent flowering of Oaxacan printmaking to a 2006 teachers strike, which escalated into protests that used prints as a symbol of resistance. The uprising was quashed by the Mexican military during a seven-month occupation of Oaxaca City that saw at least 17 deaths. The civil unrest scared away many of the North American tourists who typically flock to the state in southern Mexico and its colonial capital to shop for handicrafts and to sample the local cuisine.
But while the tourists stayed home, a new generation of artists embraced printmaking. Their efforts were aided by education from the Taller de Artes Plásticas Rufino Tamayo school, founded in 1974, and the Instituto de Artes Gráficas (IAGO), founded in 1988 by Francisco Toledo, who died in September.