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Under an online hammer: International Folk Art Market Auction is Dec. 2-5

A painting by Carlos Caceres. (Courtesy of the International Folk Art Market)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Sun-splashed portraits, cars humming with carburettors to scale and sequin-splashed voodoo flags await bidders at the International Folk Art Virtual Holiday Market Auction this week.

Visitors can peek at the preview on Saturday, Nov. 28. The auction runs from Wednesday, Dec. 2 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

Cuba’s Carlos Caceres always sits his figures in the cane chairs found inside nearly every Cuban home.

“He puts these images of women and men using some of the symbols of Santeria – symbols of the Afro-Cuban religion,” IFAM CEO Stuart Ashman said. “Every house in Cuba has a cane chair. It’s left over from the Spanish colonial times.”

The beads draping the sitter’s neck shine with symbols of the religion. Red and black represent Elguá, the deity of roads.

“He is the opener of the way,” Ashman said, “and he’s also a trickster. He opens your path for you.”

The blue and white orbs symbolize the goddess of the waters.

Leandro Gomez Quintero’s motored path opened as he was trying to capture the attention of his history students.

“He was a history professor trying to get his students interested in World

A model truck by Cuban artist Leandro Gomez Quintero. (Courtesy of the International Folk Art Market)

War II,” Ashman said. “He started making jeeps and trucks from that era.”

The carrot soon turned into a business when he began making more modern-day cars. “My wife and I found him in a little gallery in one of the most remote towns in Cuba,” Ashman said.

“These things are made out of poster board and paper, all recycled,” he continued. “Everything is as it’s supposed to be – the muffler, the differential. He really is a scholar on vehicles.”

A voodoo flag by Mireille Delismé. (Courtesy of the International Folk Art Market)

Mireille Delisme’s voodoo flags come emblazoned with the mermaids often associated with the religion. Her designs represent traditional Voodoo deities used to explain what is divine, and give clarity to life’s expressions and meanings. Her flags are for guidance, wisdom and healing. The bright color combinations of sequins and beads add to the mood and spirit of each piece. Delisme’s dreams fuel her artistic inspiration.

Rwanda’s Janet Nkubana weaves baskets of hope and reconciliation.

Janet Nkubana of the Gahaya Links basket cooperative in Rwanda. (Courtesy of the International Folk Art Market)

“Rwanda had a major ethnic cleansing,” Ashman said. “She lost her husband. She was Tutsi and the Hutus were killing all the Tutsis.

“She remembered her grandmother used to weave baskets,” Ashman continued. “She got together with women in the village and learned to weave the baskets. Another woman was the widow of the man who killed her husband, so there was a reconciliation.”

Nkubana used the group’s first $2,200 from the International Folk Art Market to dig a well so the women would no longer be forced to walk three miles for water. After the next market, she rebuilt a school.

“Now Macy’s carries her work,” Ashman said.

Ceramics by Hilarion Alejos Madrigal. (Courtesy of the International Folk Art Market)

Hilario Alejos Madrigal is a Mexican potter from a small town in the state of Michoacán, known for his “pineapple” ceramic wares. The name comes from the original form created by his mother, potter Elisa Madrigal Martinez, who created punch bowls in the shape of the fruit. He decorates his work with intricate details of incision, appliqué and open work. Long associated with hospitality, the pineapples’ genesis begins with clay extracted from San Jose de Gracia. After sculpting and firing, Madrigal mixes the glazes with copper sulfate and other minerals to induce a brilliant shine. One of his signature pieces can be found in the book “The Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art.”

All the artists are anxiously waiting to learn whether the market will return to its usual live form in Santa Fe next summer. This year, the pandemic forced its cancellation.

“We’re hoping New Mexico will be in a position of stage four, which is gatherings of groups of 100 or less,” Ashman said, “and we would do the market in several locations for two weeks.”

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