Galeria Atotonilco, Open House
Saturday, Sunday, September 14, 15, 12-5pm
Camino Antiguo al Ferrocarril 14 El Cortijo

Galeria Atotonilco, Open House

By Susan Page

Galeria Atotonilco, one of Trip Advisor’s top San Miguel attractions, exhibits the highest quality folk art from all over Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia. The gallery is open daily except Sunday from 11:00 to 3:00, but only by appointment. We ask that you let us know when you plan to visit. 415-185-2225 or 415-153-5365. Call us early in your visit to San Miguel.

Open House This Weekend
However, the gallery will host an Open House this weekend from noon to 5 PM both Saturday and Sunday. No appointment necessary. We welcome you for refreshments and a leisurely viewing of our 6,000 square foot exhibition space, which also includes country and colonial antiques, historic photographs, a large selection of textiles, and more. Directions to the gallery are on our website:

Oaxacan Wood Carvers
While many types of Mexican folk art have their origins in pre-Hispanic art and have evolved over hundreds of years, the much beloved carved and painted wood animals, birds, and alebrijes (fanciful monsters), that have now made three Oaxacan villages famous for their wood carving, go back only as far as the 1950s. Small wooden toys and masks were commonly carved before that time, but in the early 50s, Manuel Jiménez Ramírez, pioneered more elaborate and colorful animals and encouraged other wood carvers to do the same. Jimínez was inspired by paper mache artist Pedro Linares, who coined the term alibrije, which came to him in a dream. It was not until the 1980s that the woodcarvings became enormously popular. The author of a book about Oaxacan crafts says he spent three summers in Oaxaca during the 1960s, and was unaware that any woodcarving was going on at that time.

Franco and Nellie Ramirez
Now, more than 800 families in three villages make their living creating ever more beautiful and innovative woodcarvings. Among the most skilled and creative of these are Franco and Nellie Ramirez, located in San Antonio Arrazola, right at the base of the magnificent mountaintop ruins of Monte Alban. The Ramirez family has distinguished itself by creating large-scale sculptures, and also by developing distinctive painting techniques and surface treatments. Their skill in carving animals that are lively and full of gesture combined with their exquisite, highly skilled painting make these carvings exceptional. Franco Ramirez learned woodcarving from his father, who was one of the early wood carvers in the village of Arrozola.

Colombian Baskets
At this time, the gallery is also featuring the spectacular, sturdy baskets made by the Wounaan indigenous group in the coastal jungle region of Colombia, widely considered to be the most beautiful baskets in the world. These vibrant and intricate baskets are the result of ancient weaving traditions passed through generations of the indigenous peoples of the Darién rainforest. Because of their dazzling designs, vibrant colors, and extraordinary technique, these baskets have gained international fame for their intricacy and beauty, and are highly regarded by collectors. All are invited to the Open House this weekend.


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