La Barra de Potosí, Guerrero, Mexico
Located between two of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations on the pacific coast, Acapulco and Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, La Barra lies in the path of the Mexican Government’s plans for the next Mayan Riviera. The encroachment of this scale of tourism plans to eliminate La Barra completely.
Summer 2004 Participating Artists: Aurora De Armendi, Firelei Baez, Matthew Brandt, Oscar Cornejo, Njena Jarvis, Cathy Mooses, Anthony Muñoz, Maki Yamaguch
Sponsors: Real Politic, Benjamin Menchel Fellowship, Rebeca Lucio Cerda
Fall 2004 Participating Artists: Cathy Mooses Sponsors: Sandra Adams, New York Central Art Supply
Summer 2006 Participating Artists: Aurora De Armendi, Jalon Begay, Eleanor Gavor, Josephine Messer, Sam Messer, Cathy Mooses, Samantha Sponsors: New York Central Art Supply
We traveled to La Barra with a few art projects in mind and adapted them after meeting with members of the community and seeing what resources were readily available. We created a sincere exchange of knowledge and skills, but also faced the tensions and complexities of social issues and land politics in the community.We collected left over pineapple leaves from local markets to make handmade paper using mosquito nets and embroidery hoops to pull sheets. Artists taught woodblock printmaking, English classes to children and adults, crocheted masks were made to represent characters from the Zapatista Don Durito folk tales, artists developed photography projects and personal essays. We depended on the community for our basic survival; how to get electricity, fish, and get food, pump water from the well, replace missing tiles from our roof. These experiences allowed us to develop relationships in the community and are fundamental to all our projects. Gracias a Chucho, las dos Marias y sus familias que nos apoyaron tanto.
In the fall, Cathy Mooses returned to La Barra to work in conjunction with the local civil association Los Niños Encantados de La Barra de Potosí and one of its founding members Laura Kelly. In the two-week woodblock workshop, students (children ages 10-16) decided to create a narrative to tell the towns history and local culture. The images in their narrative chronologically lead up to the towns current vulnerablity and what is expected of its future. Woodblock materials were left with Los Niños Encantados de La Barra de Potosí, additions of the students art were made and sold to fund future workshop projects with the same community.
After having worked with Laura Kelly and the local civil association a three-week stay was organized for a new run of workshops in woodblock printmaking, theatre, and the painting of local library with a mural project. Paint for the library and mural was donated by the Messer family as well as a computor.