Hecho en Mexico Made in Mexico Collage en Tela Fabric Collage
Cover Art: Upon These Rocks We Will Build Our Church, Fabric collage on canvas, gold, silver leaf, 24’ X 24”, 2018 The Virgin of Guadalupe rises out of the Mission Churches, that were built one day’s horseback ride apart throughout Mexico, situated on top of the gold and silver mines that were carved out of this earth and rock by indentured peasants. Slaves to the church and the mine owners. Three hundred years of Mexico’s wealth, amounting to over 170 tons of gold, was shipped to Spain. Fly By Night Press All Rights Reserved © Copyright 2019 Beverly Sky www.beverlysky.com email@example.com Photo Credit and Graphic Design/Consultant: Carol Watson www.cwatsonphoto.com
Viva Frida, Fabric collage on canvas, 12” x 12”, 2018 Frida Khalo, whose father was Jewish, appropriated the look and clothing of Mexican indigenous peasant women. She, in turn, has become appropriated as an international icon representing Mexican women and her image and artwork can be seen on shopping bags and T-shirts all over the world.
Hecho en Mexico | Made in Mexico
Collage en Tela | Fabric Collage 2006 â€“ 2019 Beverly Sky
Solo Show Galeria NUVO Esquela Modelo, Mineral de Pozos, Guanajuato, Mexico
Aguila del Cerra del Aguila, Eagle of Eagle Mountain, Fabric collage on Masonite, 1’ x 6’, 2006
Artist Statement Hecho en Mexico represents twelve years of fabric collage work here in this Pueblo Magico, Magic Village, Mineral de Pozos, Guanjuato, located in the majestic high desert plains in the heart of the Mexican Sierra Madre Mountains. I came reluctantly to Mexico in 2005, after the death of both of my parents. Two weeks after falling in love with the nearby town of San Miguel de Allende, I came to Pozos (as it is affectionately called) to visit the artist colony that thrived here and to tour this former ‘ghost town’. I walked through town and admired the work of resident artists and Pre-Hispanic craftspeople and thought to myself, I could live here. The surrounding desert was dotted with Cacti, Magueys, Mesquite Trees and hundreds of old stone ruins with Moorish arches and a dusty old west atmosphere.
I clambered up one of the ruins, formerly the Arts and Crafts school of the region, called the Escuela Modelo. Overgrown with cacti and pepper trees I looked over the landscape to the surrounding mountains and over my head circled a huge Eagle. A sign from the Gods, I could live here. A few Margaritas later at the local boutique hotel, I was offered a house tour by a local Real Estate broker. One of the houses on the tour was located across the dirt road from the Escuela Modelo. It was the home and studio of an Australian sculptor who had restored on old ruin, incorporating hundred-year-old walls, windows and an inner courtyard. I asked how much (remember I came reluctantly to Mexico) and it was the exact small sum that I had inherited from my parents. I’ll take it, I said. Two weeks in Mexico and I was a homeowner in a ghost town. I could sense my parents, turning over in their Polish graves.
Ventanas Azulejos Mexicanos, Mexican Window Tiles, Fabric collage on canvas, 36â€? x 48â€?, 2017 Within our universe, a window view, framed with traditional Mexican tiles, of the Sierra del Aguila, Eagle Mountain embracing the high desert flowering cacti in Mineral de Pozos.
Mariposas Invierno en Mexico, Butterflies Winter in Mexico, Fabric collage on Masonite, 12â€? x 6â€™, 2007
Much of the beauty that arises in art comes from the struggle an artist wages with his limited medium. _Henri Matisse My work as a fiber artist began with weaving large tapestries and evolved into papermaking / pulp painting and now, fabric collage. I am a narrative artist. I tell a visual story, try to capture a moment in time, or simply create a particular, silent landscape. In fabric collage, I use the intrinsic qualities of fabrics, colors, patterns, textures and images as a painting medium to express philosophical, cultural and spiritual ideas and concerns. All of the work included in this catalog is fabric collage. Fabric that I have purchased, special ordered, or printed on my inkjet printer, cut out and layered and glued onto canvas or Masonite.
Venado Azul, Tecolote y Aguilas, Blue Deer, Owl and Eagles, Fabric collage on canvas, Triptych 11” x 25 ½”, 2011 The following year, I came back to see my adobe house. Adobe houses are alive. Made of thick, large, dried earthen bricks, they are meant to be lived in, moved through, loved. My Casa del Cielo, after being uninhabited for ten months, had returned to its natural cave like state, filled with spider webs, spiders, scorpions, mice, flies and mold. I didn’t know where the where the water came from and not a clue where the sewage went. My limited, ninth grade level Spanish vocabulary did not include the words tearful or remorseful. I stood out on the barren street crying to myself when along came a sturdy, handsome Mexican man, Luis Cruz, who asked me in perfect English “What’s wrong lady, why are you cryin’?” I explained my predicament. He looked around, came into the house and pronounced, “ Oh this is nothing! We can clean this up right away!”
My incredulous response was “ I heard that Mexicans can move into your home and change the locks and claim your home for themselves.” He laughed and said, “ Lets go to my lawyer and I will sign a document saying ‘I, Luis Cruz, will not steal Beverly’s house’”. Ok! That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Luis became my mentor and gateway into Pre-Hispanic and current Mexican culture. A blessing to me as an artist and human being. One day, I happened to mention that I had purchased my house because of the Eagle that flew over my head the previous year. A sign from the Gods. Luis started to laugh and said, “That was my Eagle! I rescued him because he was blind in one eye. I let him out of his cage once a day to exercise his wings. You bought your house because of my stupid Eagle!”
Left: Las Estrellias Estan Brilliant, The Stars Are Always Shining, Fabric collage on Masonite, 6’ x 1’, 2006 Right: Morning Glories at Manreys, Fabric Collage on Masonite, 6’ x 1’, 2006 Living in a house that formerly belonged to either the Principle of the Escuela Modelo or a former Bordello or perhaps both simultaneously, meant living with ghosts. It is a ghost town after all. Thousands of people died mining the rich veins of gold and silver underground. I regularly burn Copal incense as I walk through the house hoping to assuage the ‘fantasmas’ that flit by the corners of my sight.
Otomi Espiritus, Mujer y Hombre, Otomi Spirits, Female and Male, Fabric collage on Masonite, 48” x 24”, 2006 In 2005, I was awarded the Francis J. Kinnicutt Grant
from the Worcester Museum of Art, Worcester, Massachusetts. An artist travel grant to research Papermaking techniques and imagery in central Mexico. I was interested in the indigenous Indian crafts of papermaking and shamanistic uses of paper. In particular the Otomi Indian practice of cutting paper effigies of their many Deities, that they use in sacred ceremonies. For the Otomi, everything has a ‘spirit’ or Diety guiding its way.
Dios del Maiz en la Jardin de Cactus Flores, Corn God in the Flowering Cactus Garden, Fabric collage on Masonite, 48” x 24”, 2008 Luis is a Maestro, Master, in his workshop / studio called El Venado Azul, The Blue Deer. Luis creates Pre-Hispanic magnificently carved drums and musical instruments all made from local trees, plants, rocks, and gourds. He conducts ‘spiritual sound cleansings’ and Temescals, traditional Mexican sweat lodge purifications. His band, also called El Venado Azul, performs in concerts all over Mexico. Don Luis, as he is respectfully called, is known locally as a Shaman, a title he eschews.
Venado Azul y Peyote, Blue Deer and Peyote, Fabric collage on canvas, 10” x 10”, 2018 The Blue Deer is the Huichol symbol of God. Huichol Indians ingest Peyote as a spiritual practice
One day some Gringo hippie tourists came to visit his workshop. They asked to see the Shaman that they had heard about in town. Luis asked them “Why do you need to see a Shaman?” One young woman replied, “ I am feeling very tired and weak and was hoping that the Shaman could help me.” “What do you think the Shaman will do?” he asked. “I don’t know” she replied.
Entre dos Mundos, Between Two Worlds (Indian Juggler), Fabric collage on canvas, 10” x 14”, 2017
Using a large flat Tambourine-type drum he began to beat it with a stick and said “ Well, the Shaman will probably take a drum like this, and beat it while moving it up slowly from your feet, to your head and then down your back, like this…” as he demonstrated the technique. When he was done he asked her “How do you feel now?” “Good” she replied. “Well then, Luis said, “You don’t need a Shaman after all!”
San Miguel de las Flores y Fuego, San Miguel Patron Saint of Flowers and Fire, Fabric collage on Masonite, 36â€? x 36â€?, 2007 The biblical San Miguel, warrior and crusader, steps over the blue mountains carrying red Lilies, symbolizing life, and a fiery torch to light the hearts of the faithful with a passion for God. The layers continue down with the chili pepper fields, the Organo cactus walls surrounding the pueblo and the pueblo itself, filled with life, lovers, babies, potters, people living their lives.
Ojo de Agua, Eye of Water, Fabric collage on Masonite, 36” x 36”, 2008
Ojo de Agua is a small village in the nearby mountains. I loved the sky reflected in the small irrigation pond used by the grazing animals. Lavender fields abound in this area.
Noche de las Flores, Night of the Flowers, Fabric collage on Masonite, 24” x 24”, 2006 On festival nights there are Mariachi bands playing in the town squares and lovers dance in the flower draped gazebos.
Mariposas Invierno en Mexico II Lecciones Españoles, Spanish Lessons, Y Yo Tambien, Fabric collage on canvas, Lotteria card fabric, 24” x 24”, 2016 Butterflies Winter in Mexico II, So do I, Fabric Collage on Masonite, 48” x 24”, 2010
Noche y Dia en el Jardin del Eden, Night and Day in the Garden of Eden, Fabric Collage on Masonite, Diptych, 48â€? x 48â€?, 2008 Inspired by the ghostly beauty of a garden on a full moon night, I used the reverse side of the floral fabric to indicate the muted tones of moonlight. For day, on the right side of the fabric, full color and blue sky.
Sueno de Frida y Georgia, Frida y Georgia, Dos Mujeres Pintoras: Dream of Frida and Georgia, Viejo Mexico y Nuevo Mexico, Fabric Collage on Masonite, 36” x 36”, Frida and Georgia, Two Women Painters: 2014 Old Mexico and New Mexico, Fabric Collage on canvas, 36” x 36”, 2017 I had a dream of Georgia O’Keefe, with her signature white Datura blossoms, coming to visit Frida Khalo waiting in the door of the green barn with the sun setting in the desert behind her…in her hand a small flag… that says “En un sueno, los dos…los dos.”
Mujeres Mexicanas del Pasado, Mexican Women from the Past, Fabric Collage on canvas, 36” x 36”, 2018 Left to right, Top row: Xochiquetzal Aztec Goddess of Love, Virgin de Guadalupe, Woman saved by Aztec Warrior, La Catrina. Center row: La Malinche, the traitor woman on the five peso bill, La Llorona the crying woman, La Lechuza the Owl sorceress, Sor Juana the brilliant Nun on the 1000 peso bill. Bottom row: Mariachi Woman, Frida Khalo’s wedding to Diego Rivera self portrait, Diego Rivera’s portrait of a Woman selling Calla Lilies, Contemporary Catrinas.
La Muerte Celebra La Vida, Death Celebrates Life, Vida, Fabric Collage on Masonite, 48â€? x 24â€?, 2016
La Vida Despues De La Muerte Celebra La Life After Death Celebrates Life,
Without Life, there is no Death. The Aztec God and Goddess of Death are tethered to the calendar and oversee the Aztec burial rituals. Life and death are a continuous circle. Bodies are wrapped in white cloth and buried in the field as fodder for corn, beans and squash to generate new life. Hairless dogs are buried with their masters in order to lead them through the underworld.
Antes y Despues de Cortez: Una Breva Historia de Mexico Before and After Cortez: A Brief History of Mexico Fabric collage on canvas, Triptych, 4’ x 10’ x, 2”, 2014 A tribe of war-like Chichimeca Indians looking for a mythical vision of an Eagle eating a Snake while perched upon a Cactus founded Tenochitlan, or sacred space, on a small swampy island in the middle of Lake Texcoco in 1325. Using reeds to contain the mud and human waste, they created floating gardens called chinampas that filled in the swamp and created enough arable land to produce all the food for the inhabitants. On this artificial island,
laid out in a grid pattern and covering almost five square miles, the great empire of the Mexica, now known as the Aztec civilization, thrived and became the most powerful city in Mesoamerica. Like Venice, it was interlaced with a series of canals and wide causeways so that all sections of the city were accessible by foot or canoe.
Aztec society was highly complex and stratified with a strict division between nobles and free commoners. Education was mandatory for all children, regardless of gender, rank or station. They had a sophisticated astrological calendar, numerical system, built immense buildings (the palace of the ruler was reputed to have over 100 rooms) and magnificently designed temples for ritual worship. Their language, Nahuatl, was referred to as the language of the flower and the song. They called themselves the flower people. Economically the society was dependent on agriculture, trading and, to a large extent, on warfare. The city was filled with markets selling all kinds of flowers, feathers, foods, medicinal plants, spices, precious stones, gold, silver, fabrics, pottery, crafts, birds and animals.The Aztec diet was based primarily on corn (maize) and cornmeal dough (masa) because the ancient Mexicans believed that the Gods made humans out of masa. In the Duran Codex, Diego Duran states that as a result of a great famine and a shortage of protein that occurred during the reign of Montezuma I, it was believed that the Gods could only be assuaged through human sacrifice. Ritual battles, called The Flower Wars, with rival tribes were fought to procure victims for sacrifice and sustenance. Spiritually, Aztec beliefs dictated that human blood must be fed to the Sun God to give it the strength to rise each day. Human sacrifices were conducted on a grand scale; several thousand in a single day was not uncommon. Sacrifices were conducted at the top of tall pyramids to be close to the sun and, it is said, that blood flowed down the steps.
Map of Tenochitlan, Hernan Cortez
In March of 1518, Hernan Cortez, a college dropout from Spain, landed on the Yucatan Peninsula, near Veracruz, with six hundred men and twenty horses. Natives who had never seen horses before described the animals as having two heads and six legs. Marching to the Aztec capital of Tenochitlan, he conquered the town of Tabasco and captured an Aztec princess who had been sold into Mayan slavery. Now called La Malinche or the traitor, she became his mistress, guide and translator. By that time, the city was amongst the largest in the world, as large as Paris and Constantinople. According to records, it dazzled the Spaniards, who remarked that Tenochitlan was as fine as any city they had ever seen.
The arrival of Cortez coincided with the astrologically predicted return of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec God who was credited with creating Man and teaching him how to cultivate the land. Quetzalcoatl, was predicted to be a light skinned, bearded God-King of civilization who was going to return from the east via the water wearing only one shoe and a medallion of the sun around his neck. Legend has it that as Cortez disembarked his ship, coincidentally wearing a sun engraved medallion necklace, he slipped and one of his shoes fell off. The reigning ruler, Montezuma II, hoping to placate the invader with gold and jewels, invited Cortez into the Aztec capital and his palace. Cortez instead took Montezuma II as a hostage and forced him to swear allegiance to King Charles V of Spain. In the following year, the Aztec nation rebelled against Cortez, and in an attempt to placate the crowd he released Montezuma II. The angry crowd stoned Montezuma II to death and Cortez was forced to flee. Returning in August of 1521 with only1000 soldiers, and the plague, the city was quickly conquered. Estimates put the population at the time of the conquest at approximately 350 thousand people. Within a two year period up to ninety percent of the population died from smallpox, typhus or were killed. Tenochitan was renamed Mexico City. Cortez’s victory was the beginning of Spanish domination of Mesoamerica and the future colonization and conversion to Christianity of the Americas.
Antes De Cortez: The Aztec World, The Flower People Left Panel, Fabric Collage 48” x 48” x 2” Ancient Gods stand guard while the greedy eye of the European World looks on Mexico's riches and resources. The winds of change blow over Aztec temples running red with sacrificial blood to the Sun God. Pueblo communities sharing resources and food, agriculture centered around the Milpa system of growing corn, beans and squash. Women sell the flowers in the market, their Patrimonio.
Juan Diego Spills The Roses: Fall of the Aztec Empire, Death, Revelation and Transformation Center Panel, Fabric Collage, 48” x 24" x 2”
Cuauhtlatoatzin, the “talking eagle” in Nahuatl, was a teenage Chichimeca Indian peasant in 1487. Tlacaellel, the Aztec ruler at the time, dedicated a new Temple of the Sun in the center of Tenochitlan to the chief god of the Aztec pantheon — Huitzilopochtli, “lover of hearts and drinker of blood”. The temple pyramid was 100 feet high with 114 steps to reach the top. Over a period of four days and four nights, the ritual celebration included the sacrifice of eighty thousand men. While this number of sacrifices seems incredible, evidence indicates it took only 15 seconds to cut the heart out of each victim.
The rest of the body was chopped and cooked in a stew called Pozole and was shared among the whole community as an act of religious communion. After the conquest, cannibalism was banned and pork became the staple meat, which, according to a Spanish priest "tasted very similar”. Pozole is one of the national dishes of Mexico. Cuauhtlatoatzin who was converted to Christianity, baptized and named Juan Diego at the age of forty in 1524 by the first Franciscan missionaries arriving after the conquest. On December 9, 1531, a day that corresponds to the observance of the Immaculate Conception throughout the Spanish Empire, Juan Diego was walking on Tepeyac Hill on his way to Mass when he heard beautiful music and an apparition of a beautiful, brown skinned woman calling his name. She instructed him to go and tell Bishop Zumarraga, the Archbishop of Mexico city, her desire for a church to be built at the site. Tradition holds that Juan Diego asked her name and she responded in his native language of Nahuatl, "Tlecuatlecupe," which means "the one who crushes the head of the serpent" (a clear reference to Genesis 3:15 and perhaps to the prominent symbol of the Aztec religion). "Tlecuatlecupe" when correctly pronounced, sounds remarkably similar to "Guadalupe." When Juan Diego came before the Bishop and told of his experience, Zumarraga, asked for proof, a sign. Returning to the site of the apparition, Juan Diego was instructed to go to the top of the barren cactus covered mountain and pick some flowers.
There, in the midst of winter, he found roses like those grown in Castile, Spain and not indigenous to Mexico. He gathered them in his tilma, tunic, and returned to Bishop Zumarraga. Releasing the folds of his tilma, the roses tumbled out and the apparition of the Virgin de Guadalupe appeared on his tilma. Bishop Zumarraga fell to his knees, took the tilma and laid it at the altar in his chapel. This miraculous revelation facilitated the turning point for the mass conversion to Catholicism of the remaining indigenous people of Mexico. The miraculous image, which is preserved and on display in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Mexico City is now located under the main altar. The faithful can view the image while standing on a conveyer belt so as not to impede the flow of the millions of visitors that come to pray and view the icon. The image shows a woman with native features and dress. The moon is beneath her feet and her blue mantle is covered with gold stars. The black girdle about her waist signifies that she is pregnant. Thus, the image graphically depicts the fact that Christ is to be "born" again among the peoples of the New World. Juan Diego’s neck is a photo of Luis, which I printed on an inkjet printer. After cutting and gluing the tunic and half of the roses, Luis came by to look. “ Very pretty” he said, “but where are all the dead people?” This was the inspiration to put in the skeletons among the roses.
In the ten years between the conquest of Tenochitlan and Juan Diego’s revelation, an entire civilization, it’s culture and spiritual beliefs, was obliterated and replaced by Colonial Catholicism. A great spiritual shift from believing that the Gods required human sacrifice in order to harmonize the world, to the idea that God, in the form of Jesus, born of the Virgin de Guadalupe, sacrificed himself in order to harmonize humanity through Gods love. The Spanish drained the great lake on which the floating city was built, destroyed the Aztec temples, and constructed colonial Mexico on the ruined foundations. There are few monuments representing Cortez in Mexico today, but one by Sebastian Aparicio, in Cuernavaca was located in a hotel called El Casino de la Selva or The Jungle Club. In order to make way for a new commercial center, the hotel was torn down and the statue of Cortez was taken out of public display by the new conquistador, Costco.
Despues De Cortez: The Colonial Period and Rise of Christianity Right Panel, Fabric Collage, 48” x 48” x 2” Aztec Gods are replaced by San Miguel, angels and milagritos, Horses are imported from Spain, farming villages are replaced with the hacienda slavery system, Aztec Temples are destroyed and the same stones are used to build churches and colonial buildings on the soft sediment of Mexico City, many of which are sinking today.
Los Hornos de Pozos: Ventana al Pasado, The Ovens of Pozos: Window into the Past, Fabric collage on canvas, gold, silver leaf, 36” x 36”, 2018 Before the Jesuits arrived in this region of Guanajuato in the mid 1500’s, Mexico was populated by nomadic tribes collectively known as Chichimeca Indians. The Jesuits began to mine the local mineral wealth of silver and gold. In 1871 private investors built magnificent buildings, churches, hospitals and smelting ovens. Thousands of indigenous people who worked as slaves and
indentured servants died during this boom time. After the Mexican Revolution in 1910, the mines were flooded and a mass exodus ensued. Residents took all the wood beams from the buildings causing the roofs to collapse leaving the remains of the ghostly stone walls and ruins that one can see today.
Cosmo Folklorico, Cosmic Folklorico, Fabric collage on Masonite, 48” x 24”, 2014
Ventana de Girasoles, Window of Sunflowers, Fabric collage on canvas, 36” x 36”, 2017
Pais de Maiz, Country of Corn, Fabric collage on canvas, 10’ x 10”, 2018
Maiz, Chilis y Cactus, Fabric collage on canvas, 6” x 6”, 2018
Memoria de los Aztecas, Memory of the Aztecs, Fabric collage on canvas, 8” x 10”, 2018
Dos Madonas, Two Madonnas, Fabric collage on canvas, 12” x 8”, 2018
Tenemos La Camisa del Chapo!, We Have The Shirt of El Chapo!, Fabric collage on canvas, 24” x 24”, 2017
The photo in the right shirt pocket was published after Sean Penn interviewed El Chapo, the notorious murdering, Mexican drug lord, and was in part responsible for El Chapo’s subsequent capture. The shirt that El Chapo was wearing became a best seller in Mexico and was sold out for weeks until a small store in a neighboring town put a sign in the window stating… “Ya Llego La Camisa del Chapo!”
Puesta del Sol en el Campo, Sunset on the Campo, Fabric collage on Masonite, 36” x 36”, 2014
Tanto Arriba, Como Abajo, As Above, So Below Fabric collage on canvas, 18” x 11”, 2019
Mexico: Quinientos Años 1518 - 2018, Mexico: Five Hundred Years, Aztec Eagle Warrior meets Taco Deliver Boy in Mexico City, Fabric collage on canvas, 10” x 20”, 2019
Postscript by Ellen Bass Beverly’s artworks are a prayer of praise, a way of being in gratitude for each amazing place on earth. An artist is not only someone who makes a work of art, be it painting, poem, dance or song. An artist is someone who is so open to experience of all that our vast, rich world bestows that she or he is compelled to answer. It’s as though the world is the artist’s beloved and when that beloved speaks or moves or just lies still, the artist must murmur in response. Whenever I go somewhere beautiful, I think, Beverly should see this. There is no one I know who can appreciate a vista more, can feel its essence more, or honor it more skillfully. At a time when our earth is in peril, and the environment is threatened, Beverly continues to pay attention to the exquisite land that is still here. And to remind us how precious it is. Flowering of the Buddha Mind: Transcendence over Life and Death Fabric Collage on Masonite, 36” x 36, 2008
Ellen Bass, teacher, writer, poet is the author of The Courage to Heal, Mules of Love, Like a Beggar, The Human Line, and was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2017.
Viva Mexico! Pueblo Chico, Infierno Grande, Hooray Mexico! Small Town, Big Hell, Fabric collage on Masonite, 36” x 36”, 2009
Collage en Tela | Fabric Collage by Beverly Sky