Adrian González López Elpidio
Adrian González López Elpidio is from Oaxaca and is 38 years of age. His trade is handicrafting sheets of prepared totomoxtle (corn husks) that his family grows. He has been doing such work for the last ten years, in which time his work has been recognized by the government of the state of Oaxaca six consecutive First Place awards in the Guelaguetza exhibition (the night of radish), an annual celebration in Oaxaca.
The Guelaguetza involves parades complete with walking bands and the marketing of food, statewide artisanal production, and souvenirs, but centers on dancing in costume in groups, often groups of only one sex. Each costume and dance usually has a local historical and cultural meaning. Although the celebration is an important tourist attraction, especially in the capital city of Oaxaca, it also retains significant independent cultural importance for the people of the state. Oaxaca has a large indigenous population, 40 percent, compared to 15 percent for Mexico as a whole. Indigenous culture in the state remains strong in its own right, with over 300,000 people in the state who are monolingual in indigenous languages.The celebration dates back to pre-Columbian times and remains a defining characteristic of Oaxacan culture. Its origins come from celebrations related to the worship of corn. Communities from within the state of Oaxaca gather to present their regional culture in the form of music, costumes, dances, and food. It is the most famous event of its kind in Mexico.
On December 23, gardeners and artisans alike join to participate in 4 categories: Radish, immortal flowers (straw flowers), totomoxtle (corn husks) , both natural and decorated. Adrian participated in this event, entering a natural totomoxtle creation, all parts of which related to the culture and traditions of Oaxaca.
To make each figure takes approximately 8 to 16 hours depending on the size and the details. He also embues his art with personal feeling and the love he has for his country and tradition. He is self-taught and has learned the techniques of working with cornhusks through trial and error.
He also works with other natural materials such as pumpkins, mangos, mamey, melon, avocado, and oranges after they go through as special drying process.
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