The art of pre-Columbus Central America as produced by the Mayan civilization during its Classic period is unrivalled in ancient times in its scope, beauty, and use of colour. Mayan culture produced amazing art and architecture. Mayan art gave almost free reign to the artist, who was not required to produce a work that fit any particular rules or guidelines. Today it inspires Mexican folk art.
The Garcia Sisters discovered "art" after they began carving slate years ago. They came to realize that something moved from within the depth of their souls which expressed itself through an unflagging energy and vision into action.
But the sisters also remember the words of their father who said: "Are you going to eat stone? Who is going to buy stone? People buy food, not stone." And for the first years he would not help his daughters as they pursued their need to carve. Still, the women toiled over the stone for it was their father who taught them: "When I say I'm going to do something I'm going to do it."
So several years later when the daughters found their father carving a large jaguar they were really surprised. It was then that they learned about their father's own carving experience. As a boy he had no money and would carve bowls from limestone to exchange for food in order to survive. And now The Garcia Sisters are able to make their art part of their survival. They exhibit in galleries around the world, teach art classes, and have made it possible to purchase their original Mayan art through Art Center Exports. The Art Center purchases and promotes the preservation of the Tanah Mayan Art Museum and the Mayan culture.
Another legend and source of inspiration for Mexican folk art is Frida Kahlo who wrote in her diary a few days before her death: "I hope the exit is joyful, and I hope never to come back." In a way, Frida did not fulfill her wish. It has been over 40 years since her passing, and she is back. It seems like she never left. She was famous in her lifetime, as wife of the celebrated muralist Diego Rivera and as a respected painter in her own right. Today her fame has become mythological and her intimate self-portraits are disturbing, sensual, and always memorable.
In an interesting turn about, Frida, who was so supportive of indigenous Mexican art and clothing and culture during her lifetime, has had the favor returned by contemporary folk artists who celebrate her work and life in their art. The famous Aguilar sisters of Oaxaca have been among the most significant modern-day folk artists paying homage to Frida. Frida's paintings were a powerful spur to action, but from that starting point they have created distinctive works of great feeling and charm. The ceramic "Frida's of the Aguilar sisters" can be seen in the book "Oaxacan Ceramics" and is featured in the magnificent exhibition sponsored by Banamex of Mexico: Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art.
Today you can buy items of Mexican folk art, thanks to many stores like Artes de Mexico, specializing in the finest in Mexican folk art, Mexican crafts, clothing, dishware, silver and contemporary home decor. With each purchase you will bring the history and flavor of Mexico's people and culture into your home and heart.