Limestone carving, 63 X 43 cm, sculptor unknown. © Alvin Starkman, 2024

Why is Mezcal so important to the future of Oaxaca?

Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D. Last year I participated in a panel discussion in Oaxaca about a new book entitled La E del Mezcal: Exportación, by Dra. Blanca Esther Salvador Martínez. While the other panelists essentially praised the author for writing such an important book and explained how it thoroughly covered all the bases regarding the […]

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Ivonne Kennedy.

Ivonne Kennedy: Oaxacan painter with international sensibility

Don’t let the name fool you, Ivonne Kennedy is a genuine Oaxacan painter—but on her own terms. Kennedy was born in 1971 in the city of Oaxaca. While ‘foreign’ last names are not terribly uncommon in Mexico, they are pretty rare in Oaxaca, and ‘foreign’ first names even more so. So, quickly, before we get […]

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CORAL. Photo submitted.

CORAL: innovative project in Oaxaca helps young Mexicans cope with hearing loss

Roosters crowing, church bells clanging, dogs barking, street vendors broadcasting their products, brass bands serenading wedding parties in the streets… the soundtrack to life in Mexico is not the reality for every Mexican. In Mexico the most prevalent disability is deafness. Three out of every 1000 babies are born with some degree of hearing loss. […]

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Bronze earrings by Mexican artisan Armando Lozano take the shape of masks. © Alvin Starkman 2008

Armando Lozano Ramirez, master sculptor and jeweler: Oaxaca’s “man of steel”

A Voice from Oaxaca Some 30 years ago, a youthful 27-year-old acquired a piece of machinery by chance. Not knowing exactly what to do with it, or how it could somehow become a positive factor in his life, he took a gamble and purchased some modest tools and metal. Armando Lozano Ramírez was then living […]

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Oaxaca crest


The state of Oaxaca is part of the Southern Mexico Region, along with the states of Chiapas and Guerrero. It is Mexico’s fifth largest state in land area (93,793 square kilometers) and tenth most populous state (about 4 million inhabitants), The state has an extraordinary variety of landscapes, climates and natural vegetation, ranging from high […]

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Chef Pilar Cabrera at her La Olla restaurant and cooking school in Oaxaca © Douglas Favero, 2011

A Oaxaca culinary ambassador: an interview with Chef Pilar Cabrera

On a recent trip to Oaxaca, I had the pleasure of speaking with Pilar Cabrera, chef, cooking instructor and, most recently, participant in Iron Chef Canada. Chef Cabrera kindly took time out from her busy schedule to sit down and discuss the influences that led to this career, as well as her cooking school, ever-changing menus […]

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