GalerĂ­a Atotonilco Open House

Saturday-Sunday, November 24-25, 12pm
See link for location

Galeria Atotonilco

Ceramic Sculptures by José Juan Aguilar

Ceramic Sculptures Highlight Gallery Open House
By Susan Page

Directions to the gallery on our web site


The Aguilar Sisters have been well-known ceramic folk artists for many decades, working in Ocotlan, a village near Oaxaca. We first visited their studio in 2002, before we moved to Mexico. They had work on display, but on his buying trips, gallery owner Mayer Shacter always wants to snoop around the storage shelves in the back rooms. “May I see that piece?” “Oh that’s by my son, José Juan,” we were told. We were astonished at both the subject matter (“Life and Death in the Sea”) and the brilliant craftsmanship, and we bought the piece.

At that time, Jose Juan was 28, somewhat shy, and very sweet. We have been buying his work ever since and find it to be the most innovative and beautifully crafted work in the entire family. On our trip this past May, we selected a wide variety of his work, from his larger intricate scenes and figures to smaller figures and his highly complex insects that always sell quickly. He makes mojigangas, the large puppet with a dancer inside, peering out a peek hole in the puppets abdomen. His work ranges from clever and funny ideas to beautiful country scenes to depictions of his distinctive culture to deeply spiritual themes. We were delighted to buy another version of the scene that first captivated us fifteen years ago: “Life and Death in the Sea.” The work is complex, exquisitely crafted, and painted with beautiful, soft colors. Jose Juan is now 41 and has three teenage daughters. He is less shy and still very lovable.

José Juan Aguilar’s work is a good example that it’s possible to own a masterpiece of art for several hundred dollars or less. If the work were a painting, it would be thousands of dollars. Folk art is highly undervalued, but the up side is that it is easy to own and easy for craftspeople to sell so that they can support their families.

The Gallery
Galeria Atotonilco is located in a beautiful country setting and a much- published, architecturally interesting building five miles north of town, with 6,000 square feet of exhibition space. The collection includes a huge variety of folk art and textiles from all over Mexico, historic photographs, and a large selection of country antique tables, wood bowls and trays, plate racks, trunks, and other county antiques. A gallery annex displays decorative blown glass, where a spectacular large vase looks like it could be $1,000 dollars but in fact is only $1,000 pesos, about $50 dollars! Welcome to Mexico!

Enjoy refreshments and take your time to view Trip Advisor’s #1 shopping destination in San Miguel. The open house takes place Saturday and Sunday, November 24 and 25, noon to 5 PM each day. 185-2225. Directions to the gallery are on our web site:


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