On Monday November 4, the HWRHS Visual Art and Spanish departments collaborated to welcome master woodcarvers Ventura and Norberto Fabian from the State of Oaxaca, Mexico. The Fabians create a wide range of brightly painted animal figures, based on the folk traditions of their native village. Their day-long appearance, cultural presentation, and carving and painting demonstration was made possible through a generous grant from the Hamilton-Wenham EdFund. Several hundred students participated over the course of the day.
The folk art of Mexico, renowned throughout the world, has always provided a window into the life and culture of the Mexican people. Since pre-Hispanic times, Mexican artisans have worked in wood, crafting everything from furniture, tools, and utensils to children’s toys and ceremonial masks. Today, traditional woodcarvers in the small, rural villages nestled in the rugged hillsides of Oaxaca produce some of the most alluring contemporary Mexican folk art.
Ventura Fabian is one of the most original and well-known woodcarvers of the region. Brilliantly colored and strikingly designed, many of Don Ventura’s carvings are rooted in aspects of daily life in his village of San Martín Tilcajete; others are wildly imaginative, springing wholly from the realm of fantasy. His dancing chickens, strumming mermaids, drumming cats and charging dragons are known for their “rustic” or more “primitive” qualities as well as for their whimsy and humor. Don Ventura has passed his craft on to his son, Norberto. They now work together, always finding new ways to embody the vibrancy and exuberance of Mexican artistic expression.