Original art by Fiona Dunnett who makes her home in Oaxaca. © Fiona Dunnett, Alvin Starkman, 2009

Fiona Dunnett: images of self and death in Oaxaca

Comic strips, a young Canadian’s self portraits, and photographs of violent deaths in a Mexican daily newspaper, make strange bedfellows. But they constitute a major part of the driving force for the creative energies of artist Fiona Dunnett, a resident of Oaxaca, Mexico. Ottawa-born Dunnett has been living in Oaxaca since 2005. As in the […]

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The women of San Marcos Tlapazola, Oaxaca, shape their clay pottery by hand. © Alvin Starkman, 2010

Women potters of San Marcos Tlapazola, Oaxaca

Every Sunday Gloria awakens at 3:00 a.m., and begins preparing tejate, a frothy, tasty corn and cacao based drink, which she will offer for sale in the Tlacolula market. A couple of hours later, her sister-in-law Maria and Maria’s daughter Luci follow suit, but in preparation for their own day of vending pre-Hispanic-style figures and masks, comales, and an […]

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Megan Glore is coordinator of promotion and fundraising for CORAL, a charity in Oaxaca, Mexico to assist the deaf and hearing impaired. © Alvin Starkman, 2010

CORAL: Non-profit center in Oaxaca assists hearing impaired Mexican children

When the Cole-Gardner family recently vacationed in Oaxaca, Mexico, they brought along several basketballs, soccer balls and baseball gloves, to donate to indigenous children without ready access to such sports paraphernalia. They’d read this writer’s article about the opportunity to help Oaxacans in need by filling an empty suitcase — earmarked for packing Oaxaca handicrafts […]

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A graduate in Fine ARts, Angy works on a drawing at her tattoo parlor in Oaxaca, Mexico. Her partners look on. © Alvin Starkman, 2011

Tattoo artists in Oaxaca: a lawyer and a fine arts graduate make strange bedfellows with tatuadores

Lawyer Kaireddyn (“Kai”) Orta began fabricating his own, rudimentary tools for making tattoos in 1996, while still in high school here in Oaxaca, Mexico. One day, a neighbor saw him carrying a shoe box, and asked him what was in it. Kai showed him the adapted motor, needles, ink and other paraphernalia. The neighbor was […]

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Chef Pilar Cabrera's Casa de los Sabores Oaxaca cooking school is organized, with ingredients for each recipe contained in a separate large, colorful basket. © Alvin Starkman, 2011

Children’s cooking classes at Mexico’s Casa de los Sabores in Oaxaca

What better way to begin a series of children’s cooking classes than with pizza and mango smoothies? Chef Pilar Cabrera‘s Casa de los Sabores began their inaugural class with the basics of kitchen safety and hygiene, composting and recycling, and nutrition, all in a three-hour session. And at the same time, lead instructor Ninfa Raigosa infused […]

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Mexican antique blown-glass pitcher © Alvin Starkman, 2011

Antiques and collectibles in Central and Southern Mexico

The Sunday open air stalls at the Lagunilla in Mexico City, the expansive roadside shops just north of San Miguel de Allende, the stores and weekend marketplace at Los Sapos in Puebla, and good old fashioned picking in the state of Oaxaca. Each provides a fruitful avenue for acquiring antiques and collectibles in Central and […]

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Colorful Mexican weavings and textiles in the Oaxaca market of Santo Tomas. © Alvin Starkman, 2011

Christmas magic in Oaxaca: A multi-faceted experience of culture & tradition

Oaxaca is magical — its history, culture, art, architecture and folklore. The traditional Guelaguetza, celebrated in July, is a quintessential expression of Oaxaca tradition. Now, Noches Magicas de Guelaguetza are a uniquely Oaxacan Christmas festivity. Celebrated on December 22 and 23, 2011, the event invites tourists and residents to participate in a variety of cultural experiences. Beginning at […]

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Mexico’s Scorpion Mezcal empowers Oaxaca women

Erica is sitting in the office of her boss of eight years, Douglas French, owner of Scorpion Mezcal in San Agustín de las Juntas, Oaxaca. French has just informed her that she qualifies to become a purchaser in Infonavit, Mexico’s government-sponsored home ownership program, which provides low interest mortgages in designated housing developments. French then […]

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Gloria kneads the ground ingredients for tejate a final time at the market before ading the water to create a beverage. © Alvin Starkman, 2012

Tejate: Drink of Aztec rulers and Zapotec gods

Tejate is a pre-Hispanic corn and cacao based drink. It is likely the only complex food recipe in all Mexico still enjoyed today just as it was thousands of years ago in Oaxaca. When visiting a Oaxacan marketplace and enjoying a half jícara gourd of tejate, you’re likely treating yourself to the same carefully crafted beverage, made with virtually […]

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A driving tour from Oaxaca to San Cristobal de las Casas and Palenque: Part Two

Part One details the drive from Oaxaca City to San Cristobal de las Casas. Interactive Map of Chiapas Although along the basically good, two-lane highways descending from San Cristóbal to Palenque there are several homes and businesses offering gasoline for sale, and at Ocosingo you’ll find gas stations, it’s best to fill up as you leave San […]

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