Oaxacan surrealism hits the SF Mexican consulate


Approximately 500 people pass through SoMa's Mexican consulate building each day, processing visas and civil registration, generally making it possible for themselves to live in the United States legally. The consulate's cultural affairs attache Marimar Suárez Peñalva sees these moments of bureaucracy as an opportunity. She wants expats to connect to their nationality not only through signatures and stamps, but by reacquainting themselves with its brushstrokes and creative underpinnings.

Hence, this art lesson. "The Zapotec origin is really relevant in surrealism," Peñalva tells me on the Friday afternoon that I visit her carefully-curated gallery, located on the second floor of the Folsom Street consulate. Read more »

The feminization of Mexican agriculture


SANTA CRUZ TANACO (May 20th) - When I first settled into this tiny Purepecha Indian village high in the Meseta Tarasca of west-central Michoacan state 50 years ago, few women tilled the land. Tending the “milpa" (corn patch) was strictly a man's work. The men ploughed the fields and planted in the spring and the wives and daughters would help to weed ("barbechar") and glean in the harvest -- but it was the men who strapped on the "tchundi" basket as they moved up and down the rows, snapping off the big ears of maiz to be sold in the markets of neighboring cities.

While the men lorded it over the corn patch, women had dominion over the home and the children. They cared for the kids and the chickens and prepared the meals. At mid-day, they wrapped up fresh, warm tortillas in colorful "servietas" and carried them out to the fields to feed their husbands.    

Only two women in Tanaco actually worked their own "parcelas" (plots.)  Dona Teresa Garcia had a handful of fields scattered up and down the valley she had inherited from her murdered husband and many sons to work them, and although she was known to get her hands dirty, she was more an overseer and administrator.
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Mexico warns citizens: use extreme caution in Arizona


It’s no surprise to anyone who has watched Newsom stubbornly refuse to take responsibility for the consequences of his flawed juvenile immigrant policy that the mayor is playing coy when it comes to the Board of Supervisors’ and the City Attorney's attempts to institute a boycott of Arizona.Read more »