02 October 2008
Homies,Cowboys,and a homage to corn
It has been very busy here in the humble town I live in. I live in constant surprise. It is not uncommon to have strangers come; some with the beautiful Mata Ortiz pots; sometimes raw opals, old mexican antiques that could be anybodies treasure or junk; somedays it's the Tarahumara women, or my neighbors grandson, or the young boy man selling the local harvest: chaliche in the spring, peaches in mid summer and now apples; The other day my friend Roberto's nephew Beto stopped in with his cousins while I was eating lunch and reading HOUSE OF RAIN. I was lost in the Sierras taken back there by Childs words and then I was back answering the door which is a blue curtain blowing between the worlds of inside and outside. I was surprized to see Beto; Last time I saw him here was over a year and a half ago; he stood aback as is the custom here when people come to your door out of respect; two other men were with him, his cousins, Juan and Luis. Juan is a potter from Mata Ortiz and I had heard about his olla, his pot of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the only one Emi MacCallum had ever seen in the Mata Ortiz style. I wish I could have seen it and now the artist who made it was at my door.
Meeting the local Homies took me back to my San Fran Mission days. I recognized the tattoo style they each wore. I have watched worlds interconnect here since my time here and it was happening again; The Vida Loca, the past, the present; Homies who if you changed their hats would look like they had come out of the classic westerns like the TREASURE of the SIERRA MADRES or some Italian spaghetti western shot in the deserts of Spain. I see the faces of warriors, and Toltec and Spanish princes; I see the struggle of being on one of the border or the other; they dream of America and I dream of Mexico.
Before they left I asked if I could take their picture; Just a wall in the empty studio and some window light. Timeless.Classic.
Then there is corn. I learned from HOUSE OF RAIN it is one of the oldest cultivated crops in the Americas over 5,000 years ago. There is a sample of corn on the Colorado Plateau dated over 3700 years ago that travelled from the heartland of Mesoamerica across and over the the backbone of the americas. Perhaps I am drawn to this country and these stories because it speaks to a place inside of me feeling the currents and connections of time.
My young friend Pamela who modeled for me this past summer and I worked on a small series here in la Casa Nopal. I have been inspired over the years and find connections to the poetry of Jimmy Sanitago Baca to all I feel about these threads of the natural world, the barrio, the flowers that bloom in the under shadows of la vida loca; He shared his new novel about a migrant workers at REFORMA, the latino librarian organization a couple weeks ago in El Paso,TX. The main character is a woman named NOPAL. I thought of these pictures I made before I knew about the novel and was inspired to work a few of the images up late into the night last night.
Nina Simone is singing on my itunes; WiLD is the Wind haunting and yearnful. This is how I feel in my deep love for Mexico,the land and her people. I am in love everyday. This melancholic joy. I think of corn and my dead homeboys who blessed me on their corners when I was lost and eighteen. I hear them still and feel this great sentiment for life itself.