Javier Gallardo, Oaxaca

Javier Gallardo, Oaxaca

Javier Gallardo has been weaving miniature objects from palma (palm) since he was a child. Inspired by traditional objects, he adds his special touches of imagination and fine detail to make his wonderfully whimsical creations.

Craftspeople have been weaving palm since before the Spanish Conquest, but over the past forty years that art has become more finely tuned and has won national acceptance in the marketplace as nostalgic recreations of Mexico's indigenous past.

Miniatures are the "little toys" that adults give more thought to than do children. They have always appealed to the child in all of us. Factors such as tourism and the construction of national identity have contributed to an ongoing demand for the tiny creations. The playfulness of the craft is often in sharp contrast to the often harsh economic realities of life in the community where they are made.

Despite words such as "folk" and "Indian" being used to describe this handicraft, there are misperceptions of how complex they are in their creation. And, just as textiles and other indigenous work is in danger of disappearing, all sorts of other customs from over 60 ethnic groups throughout Mexico are endangered also. Pottery, art from woven palm and other grasses, medical healing and shamanistic practices, that have served these communities for thousands of years are rapidly passing into extinction.

Javier, like many other folk artisans, sells her work from his home and local markets. The tourism that Oaxacan artists rely on for their livelihoods has been in jeopardy over the last year and a half due to civil unrest and travel bans that have kept the tourists away. Bringing Javier to Feria Maestros del Arte along with other folk artists from Oaxaca will hopefully open the eyes of Feria-goers to the fact that Oaxaca is once again a safe place to travel and seek out the art that Oaxaca has become famous for.

951 516 2658, 514 2021