If you happen to be south of the US boarder this winter, visiting Oaxaca City perhaps, there is an exceptional exhibition named "telares que retoñan artistas jovenes del textil" mounted at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca. Curator Eric Chávez Santiago visited young weavers in their villages to conduct interviews and record their work. Now the interviews and weavings are on display in a gallery of the Oaxaca Textile Museum (until March 2013). The youngest of the weavers is only eight years old - the oldest is twenty. Regardless of age, however, they are all producing exceptional work that would be the envy of almost any weaver.
Most fascinating is what motivates these young artisans. Many have started weaving because their parents are also artisans and they feel a desire to help their family. They soon discovered a love of the work inside themselves. Through their weavings, they are able to express something that has meaning for them and combine this motivation with income generation.
On a recent visit to Oaxaca we spoke to Remigio Mestas Revilla who is involved with the Museum and is also a key influence in locating markets for the finished work. He emphasized that all of the young weavers must not only be accomplished at the loom, they also must do well at school. "This exhibit is important for so many. For the public, of course, but also for the friends, family, and neighbours of the young weavers. It shows how important our cultural heritage is. These young artisans are receiving phone calls and messages from Mexico City, from Santa Fe, from the USA. I would love to see this exhibit travel to all the universities and schools in Mexico. It is that important."
The museum publication (written by Alejandro de Avila) includes this paragraph:
As we present this exhibit, the Oaxaca Textile Museum achieves its dearest goal: to provide an incentive for new generations to breathe life into the arts of the loom and needle. We are enthused beyond words to help youngsters who identify themselves with the cultural traditions of their home communities and who are starting out on their own path to express their sensibility through textiles. We thank their parents and mentors for trusting us to interview them and record their life experiences.
Special thanks to Eric Chavez for leading us through the exhibit and telling us the stories of these young weavers.