With the skills I have learned, the legacy of stucco masters such as Serpotta and the Asam brothers is under no threat.
More valuable is the knowledge acquired by doing, the research prompted by the activity and the context of the residency.
Sara Ryu makes a pertinent point in her essay on the cane Christ of Telde:
“A term coined by the anthropologist James Clifford, “borderlands” are zones of passage characterized by their liminal existence between places of origin and destination. Their importance lies in understanding “routes rather than roots” as essential threads of human connectivity.”
It struck me that this could be a useful way forward in thinking about hybridity, the very nature of which is problematic.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to give a presentation about my residency at the Santa Monica Museum of Religious Art, where I had been taking my classes. In the presentation I proposed that caña de maíz sculpture is a truly hybrid technique. It was wonderful to share my thoughts, pictures, art work and a few jokes with the museum staff, who are friendly and close-knit, like a family. Their insights, and those of the staff at Arquetopia, added a further dimension of meaning to what I had learned. Many avenues for future art work and research opened up in front of me. It was a great way to wrap up my residency experience.
A relaxed visit to the nearby town of Cholula with my now firm friend Elizabeth from Puebla was the icing on the cake.. Or rather, the alfeñique on the edificio of my adventures in Mexico.
Gazing out of the window of the airport bus, I saw stacks of maize canes piled high in the fields for miles around. I wondered at all the possible sculptures they could become.