Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Power to the people, Oaxaca style

By awoodall
Wednesday, July 11th, 2007 at 11:18 pm in Uncategorized.

There’s a cool little show going on at the Front Gallery on Grand Avenue in Oakland. I stumbled across it Friday at the monthly Art Murmur, during the artists’ reception as a guitarist played “Sabor a mi” and guests savored the works about the uprising in the southern Mexico state. 

Called “Oaxaca Resistance and Color,” the show was one of the most relaxed and inviting venues I’ve found along what has become a bit of a rigid, scene-heavy gallery crawl. At about 9:20, someone called out loud to folks that they HAD to leave, neighbors had complained about the noise. People were asked to leave, pronto.  Gallery folks are walking a tightrope between reclaiming public space and dealing with the public, including residents who — surprise — live around the lower Telegraph Avenue area. 

But, back to the Oaxaca show. The music, food and drink made at least that stop along the Art Murmur hospitable — the way it used to be.

The work on display is steeped in the state’s distinctive style of painting and printmaking. A lot of the art reminded me of what I think of as Zapata art: resistance combined with the symbols of Mexico’s history, like corn and soldiers and men in wide-brimmed hats with strands of bullets strung across their breasts.

This time, they’ve been adapted to tell the story of the uprising that exploded June 14, 2006, when the police cracked down on teachers who organized a sit-in in the main square of Oaxaca with the demand of better salaries.

The you know what hit the fan that day.  It hasn’t been cleaned up yet.

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