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[Notice: All images in this section are (c) Copyright Saundra Sturdevant, 2006]


Day of the Dead, Santo Domingo Inglesia, Oaxaca

Saundra Sturdevant---Images & Text

Oaxaca is a culture rich in the artifacts of life and death. Artists and community are interwoven in an intimate, cultural, and highly political manner.

Artists were one source of moral and community witness during the Levantamiento (Uprising) of 2006 that began with a teacher’s strike. This strike became a movement in the early morning hours of June 14, when 30,000 citizens of Oaxaca rushed to the zocolo to aid the several hundred teachers fighting off 3000 assault police in full gear, teargas, helicopters. The name of the movement is APPO (Assembly of the People of Oaxaca).

Not One More Drop-Hugo Tovar, Artist

He sits in the chair
Blood drawn from arm
Into fruit jar
Mix with water
Brown rectangular paper flat on paving stones
In the zocolo
Draws the five faces
Kneels down brush in fruit jar
Like their blood at their death
The five killed by paramilitary
The day before

As always with APPO encampment
There are lots of people
Reading, planning, dozing
Women embroidering as they talk
With each other
About everything
Young children chasing each other
Babies nursing
Teens hanging

But in this space in the center of
It all
Hundreds come to watch
Young, old, men, women
Children holding the hand
Not a sound is heard in this space
It is the space of reverence
For those killed
For death who comes for all

Fruit jar empty
Brush laid aside
After writing

Not one more drop of blood
No to the Repression





Jorge Valencia Potter

Eyes black seeing
The men in the family are artists
Painters and potters
The women in the family are artists
The caregivers
The creators of origin

Jorge's brother built and fires the kiln
Different sized branches lying around
Kiln dug out back 45-degree angle
Into the ground
Fruit trees of questionable tending nearby
Garden with some onions and flowers

Jorge's studio 20 feet square
Adobe family built
Little light
Crumpled linens and mattress on floor
Reading lamp nearby
Artists live modestly in the pueblos
In Oaxaca's Central Valley

Day of the Dead Calaveras
Pieces are four -five foot tall
Stand on their own
Each playing a musical instrument
One pregnant
Medium brown clay from the land
The color of its people
Finished are pink, blue, black, green
Cheery colors

This year they will not go to a gallery
But take their place among the maguey
Courtyard of Santo Domingo Inglesia
APPO and citizens celebrating
Enjoying time with spirits visiting
The human form no longer necessary

Soft light of late afternoon
White card at foot of each calavera
Bearing name of recently killed
Twenty is the number
Jorge's friend since childhood
Same pueblo
Grown up together
His name on one card

Sand paintings and altars
Photos, candles, food
Strings of bright lights for the night
Images of Brad Will
Photographing as he went down
Assigns three bullets carefully aimed
He is here with Oaxacanos
A can of Modelo Clara
On one alter
His favorite beer
Salute to life and love

Damned are the
Early risers and night owls
Those paramilitary who work in the dark














Javier Martin

Museo de Arte Contemporanea
Block north of zocolo
Huge stones worked by gifted hands
Massive wooden doors
Floor slabs of smoothed rock
Light from above
Open space

Heads of women
Exceedingly large
Sorrow, hope, anguish, despair, strength, longing
Final parting
It's all there
A column 15 feet high in back room
Composed of body parts, common articles
Excavations of disaster

Pedro Miguel's text "Navegaciones"
Accompanies exhibition
Re-working of Martin Niemoller's words form Nazi Era
Become today's words
Opening before PFP into Zocolo
Before Night of November 25






by Pedro Maguel

Cuando la migra deporta a los
Me quedo en silencio
Yo si engo visa

Cuando persiguen a los islamicos
No abro la boca
No soy fiel de Mahoma

Cuando privatizan el agua
No me importa un rabano
No tengo sed

Cuando agravian a los homosexuales
No digo nada
No vaya a ser que me confundan con uno de

Cuando oprimen a los indigenas
No pronuncio palabra
No hablo Mixteco

Cuando despojan a los Palestinos
Me hago el destendido
Belen queda muy Lejos

Cuando masacran a los Iraques
No protesto
No naci en Babilonia

Cuando diezman a los Chechenos
Me quedo Mudo
Adonde esta Chechenia?

Cuando la derecha hace fraude
No salgo a las calles
No soy de izquierda

Cuando matan muchachas juarenses
Miro hacia otro lado
No soy empleada de maquila

Cuando fabrican culpables
No leo la noticia
Yo soy inocente

Cuando los pederastas abusan de las ninas
No me interesa el tema
Yo no soy nina

Cuando los curas violan a los muchachos
No hago ningun escandalo
Yo soy adulto

Cuando me
Me deporten,
Me sataniecen,
Me pateen,
Me despojen,
Me agravien,
Me opriman,
Me violen
Y maten

Nadie va a protestar
Porque no habra quedado nadie.

By Pedro Maguel

When the Migra deports the
I remain silent
I do have a visa

When they persecute the Muslims
I do not open my mouth
I am not a follower of Mohammed

When they privatize the water
I do not give a damn
I am not thirsty

When they offend homosexuals
I do not say anything
I do not want to be confused with one of "Them"

When they oppress the indigenous
I do not say a word
I do not speak the Mixtec language

When they dispossess the Palestinians
I ignore it
Bethlehem is so far from here

When they massacre the Iraquis
I do not protest
I was not born in Babylon

When they decimate the Chechnians
I remain mute
Where is Chechnya?

When the right commits fraud
I do not go out into the streets
I am not a leftist

When they kill the girls from Juarez
I look the other way
I am not a maquila employee

When they invent the guilty ones
I do not read the news
I am an innocent one

When the child molesters abuse little girls
The subject does not interest me
I am not a little girl

When the priests molest little boys
I do not make a scandal of it
I am an adult

When they
Persecute me,
Deport me,
Satanize me,
Kick me,
Dispossess me,
Offend me,
Oppress me,
Molest me,
And kill me

No one is going to protest
Because there will be no one left.


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