Learn how to see.
Realize that everything connects
to everything else.
~Leonardo da Vinci
The Girard Wing
I wasn't sure what to expect with the International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe, but it was 1st on my mom's "to do list!" There are temporary exhibitions at the museum but Girard Wing (which is permanent) is a sight to behold!
Born in NYC, Alexander "Sandro" Girard (1907-1993) grew up in Florence, Italy. After being educated in London, Rome and New York, and then working in Florence, New York and Detroit, he eventually moved to Santa Fe in 1953.
He and his wife Susan began collecting folk art in the 1930s, traveling back from Mexico with carloads of wonderful treasures. That was the beginning of this worldwide collection of wonderful folk art pieces from almost anywhere you can imagine!
Kutch, Gujarat, India, ca 1930
This was a beautiful piece from the area near the Indo-Pakistan border. It's a hand stitched ceremonial shall with mirror work as well. And I mean tiny little crossed and looped stitches!
In 1978 the Girards donated over 100,000 objects to the State of New Mexico, 10,000 of which are in the exhibition Multiple Visions: A Common Bond, a tiny portion of which I'm showing you here! More than a million people have visited the Girard Wing since it opened in 1982!
(Above and below)
Porcelain figures were created by Jean Charles "Tunsi" Girard, a resident of Florence and highly regarded ceramist.
Behind the villa, Navajo Wall Hangings from Arizona/New Mexico, ca 1960
This village in Andes shows all the various activities you could find in a village fiesta, including dancers, a market with shoes and potatoes, and apparently there is a drunk guy somewhere!
Amulets from all around the world ...
Everyone and everything
is interconnected in this universe.
Stay pure of heart and you will see the signs.
Follow the signs
and you uncover your destiny.
~from the film
Jeff at Home
Amulets from Greece
Here is my sister, photographing the huge earthenware painted Mexican Village from Acatlán de Osorio, Puebla, Mexico. (20th century) It was definitely one of my favorites in the vast collection!
The next two photos were also taken of the same Mexican Village. The Big cathedral on the left of the photo (along with many other pieces in village) was made by Herón Martínez Mendoza, one of Mexico's most respected potters.
Love the designs around the doors and windows!
China, mid 20th century
(how gorgeous are they?!)
This was a huge case. On the right, you look through to a nativity (I posted a few posts ago for Christmas, I think) Unfortunately, I missed the information on this one.
Another view from the amazing Polish set ...
You can see below, that in this huge room there are seemingly endless cases and more cases of so many beautiful things! I have no idea how long we were in there. A couple of hours? More? No idea but we could have gone back in again, because there was just so much to see.
They give you a spiral notebook with numbers and names of the objects, with some background information about the objects and where they came from. So, as I do with other museums, after I photographed a case or work of art, I would take a photo of the title and information because otherwise I'd never remember it all!
Toy Theaters (Paper or Model Theaters)
19th Century, France
These were used in miniature productions staged by family members, and children "took on the challenges of creating, producing, and directing the plays. ... they would dutifully build the miniature stage and carefully design, color, and install the characters, set decoration and proscenium."
Below, left, (in and above case) pieces from India
Right, a Woven Blanket with a jaguar from Tlaxcala, Mexico, early 20th Century
Indian Street Scene
These "toys" were used to create narratives of the lives of Hindu gods, as well as for amusement. They are bigger than they look here. Maybe a couple feet tall (?) and beautifully detailed.
I missed the information on this one, below, but it was so neat with the forced perspective! The figures were clay and I think it's from South America? If anyone knows, please fill me in! Thanks!
Jésus Urbano Rojas,
Ayacucho, Peru, ca 1958
detail of the above shrine ...
"Misterio" Domigos Goncalzes Lima
Barcelos, Braga, Portugal, ca 1960
19th Century Town
This village is filled with some of the most popular toys of the 19th century, including dollhouses and metal toys. It was so big I couldn't fit it all in. You can see there are a whole set of buildings behind these, as well!
My Mom and sister checking out what was in the doll cases ...
Dolls from Azapampa, Junin, Peru
Carved cactus wood, gesso, cloth and paint (for the actual doll form)
Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, ca 1950
Alexander Girard found this in the "arms of their Maker, as she carried them down a street in Jaipur."
Guignol Glove Puppets
Europe, late 19th-early 20th century
Used in the Guignol period of puppet theater. In the book it said the ones with masks large noses were for comic effect and masquerade scenarios. Puppets with deformities were antagonists and heroes were common people with normal features. Not really seeing the heroes in this bunch! ;)
Iran, ca 1955
Difficult to see the details in this next photo. You might be able to click to enlarge but they are covered in colored buttons! Love!
Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web,
we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.
~Chief Seattle, 1854
United States, 19th-20th Century
The majority of the dolls were entirely handmade form scrap cloth, made by family members for their children. Most movingly I thought, were that a few were said to have been found in one of the hideouts of the Underground Railroad.
This next piece was (I think) a temporary exhibit.
Below, you can see a photo of the artist, Nicario Jiménez Quispe, an immigrant to the U.S. from the Andes in Peru. He is a 3rd generation retable artist.
Immigration: The American Dream
It's a very moving piece and I love how he uses the traditional idea of the retable for telling the story of immigrants' journeys to the United States from Cuba, Haiti and Mexico.
There was also a temporary exhibition on Flamenco but I will get to that in another post!
One of the things I loved was seeing the similarities different countries (and different continents!) share. Dolls are common around the world, similar kinds of handwork and motifs, clays and carvings and themes that are universal, pretty much no matter where you go! We all share so much in common, and yet somehow we are under the impression we are all so different.
"Alexander Girard, like museum founder Florence Dibell Bartlett, hoped visitors would see the connections, the common bond, among the peoples of the world. As an old Italian proverb oft-repeated by Sandro Girard tells us, "Tutto il mondo é paese" - The whole world is hometown."
We don't accomplish anything in this world alone ...
and whatever happens is the result
of the whole tapestry of one's life
and all the weavings of individual threads
from one to another that creates something.
~Sandra Day O'Connor