Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mexican colours

Heaps of colourful ribbons everywhere. In the market of Xochimilco I can resist no longer and just have to buy a few bits.

In the churches, ribbons with prayers, promises and pleas are tied to the railings around Saints, Virgins and Christs.

To see photographs of ribbons in churches and the colours of Xochimilco, go to


On the square opposite Merceria Guaida there is a market of beauty products, buzzing with the chatter of young women making their purchases, having their nails done and hair braided. At a stall on the edge of the market a man is crocheting motifs for embellishment: flowers, birds, leaves, fruit. I buy a pair of strawberries.

for photographs, go to

Merceria Guaida

In the many streets full of fabric, ribbons, lace and haberdashery shops, The Merceria Guaida at the Plaza Alonso Garcia Bravo was my favourite.

for photographs go to

Colours & flowers

machine embroidery from Yucatan, sold in 9 m strips for the trimming of garments, bought at Merceria Guaida


... wishing for the thinking hand to be blessed ....

for photographs of milagros go to

Feather Dance

In Mexico, they say, even Death dances. Every day on the Zocalo, there a people dancing, dressed up in animal skins and colourful fabrics, adorned with elaborate feather arrangements, bell shells around their ankles, or dressed in white with red swashes of fabric tied around waist and head. The steady rhythm of drums, thick clouds of incense, the haunting sound of a sea shell being blown, chants, stomps, whirls.

I pick up a feather from the ground.

For photographs, go to


"The whole of his body was hairy and his (uncut) locks were like a woman's or the hair of the godness of grain. Moreover, he knew nothing of settled fields or human beings and was clothed (in skins) like a deity of flocks."

Wikipedia, 30.7.2009

Once upon a time in Mexico

Storytelling, Memories and Identity Construction - Mexico City, 1 - 5 July 2005

for photos, program, abstracts etc, go to

A conference that could only have happened in Mexico, academic rigour mingling, excitingly rather than seamlessly, with the magic of tales. In this sense it was perhaps the most narrative of all conferences on narrative, bringing together reality and imagination as it becomes fused and confused, sober fact, moving fiction, scholarly discourse, animated performance, serious words and poetic ones, evocative images and funny ones, rainbow coloured fabrics, theatrical costumes, scents and movements, arguments presented in many guises and still interpreted in coffee grains as the days turned into night. Thus the conference itself became a story, with its core cast of unforgettable characters, each with their own bundle of life stories and research narratives, a story with unexpected twists and turns and narrative gaps to be baffled by and to enjoy, each participant part of the the field we were jointly - each in our own way - investigating: the power of stories.

Time Travel - or waiting for the soul

Long distance travel - suspended in time without place. While the body is speeding through time having dinner as if still there and then breakfast as if already arrived at the destination, bodily needs acknowledged by the provision of pillow and blanket (reminders rather than fulfillment of a need), the restless & tired mind distracted, way-led into yet another timeframe through the small screen embedded in the seat, the soul is still stubbornly lagging behind, like an intricate web, invisible but tangible, sticking and stretching, a web caught as if on a thorny shrub in a different world left behind, threads twisting, tensing, snapping, tugging heartstrings and releasing them in unexpected jolts. Scents still lingering in clothes, crumbs and bits of paper stuck in pockets, yet as the stray foreign coin falls out of the pocket before the wash, what in only a few weeks became so familiar, in front of our very eyes turns into memory. With the soul still struggling to catch up, taking its own time, refusing to speed at our command, home has become a strange place to be experienced anew, to be re-membered: feeling the carpet under our feel, drying our face on our towel, closing the curtains, curling up on the sofa, snuggling into bed, thus patiently preparing to be enfolded once again.