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Mexico Cultural Calendar
New Photo Anthology
"Agadez to Accra: from the deserts of Niger to the Gulf of Guinea" -- The spirit of great travel journalism is alive and well in this new large-format landscape book by National Geographic Traveler’s First Prize winner Jay Dunn. Over 130 striking photographs complement this collection of essays and observations on an African adventure, where the photographer’s search for the beauty of everyday life leads to memorable people and some extraordinary experiences.
The Pilgrims of Guadalupe In one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, millions of faithful come from all over Mexico to the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in celebration of the country's patron saint.
"Posadas" in Azcapotzalco On each of the nine days before Christmas, groups of devout Catholic parishioners like these will reenact Mary and Joseph's search for shelter during their Biblical journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
Three Days in Jalisco From museums to mariachi, three days based in Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city, allows a taste of Jalisco's myriad cultural offerings.
Faith, Teotitlan, Oaxaca True faith suffuses every aspect of Teotitlan del Valle's painstaking recreation of the last hours of Jesus. Good Friday dawns with music, scripture, and a solemn procession of Christ, the Virgin Mary and the town's own radiant "Virgen Dolorosa" through the streets.
"Via Crucis," Oaxaca On a moody Monday in southern Mexico, the Zapotec townspeople of Oaxaca's Teotitlan del Valle reenact all fourteen Stations of the Cross through this mountain community's winding cobblestone streets.
Palm Sunday, Oaxaca On the Sunday before Easter, Mexico's most important holiday, two very different congregations marked the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem with prayer and processions.
"Cabalgata Villista," Chihuahua Undaunted by blistering desert temperatures, the annual "Cabalgata Villista," an epic 150 mile horse trek from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua to Hacienda Canutillo in Durango re-enacts in enthusiastic detail the last ride of Pancho Villa.
The Axe of God, Chihuahua A truly remarkable 100 kilometer "ultra-marathon" is held each year in Chihuahua's rugged Tarahumara country, drawing hundreds of participants from all over the world to the scenic town of Guachochi.
"Todos Santos," Veracruz Making the souls of the dead feel welcome as they return for a yearly visit, Mexicans in this tropical state offer not only elaborate feasts and flower-filled altars, but raise-the-roof dancing and music until dawn.
"Xantolo," Veracruz "Xantolo," the Nahuatl word for "Santos," or holy, marks a week-long period during which the whole Huasteca region of northern Veracruz state prepares for "Dia de los Muertos," the Day of the Dead.
The Dances of Polo Garcia For the last twenty-five years, Chicago resident Polo Garcia, a former dance teacher turned folklorist-ethnographer, has gone in search of the cultural traditions of Hispanic America.
The Last Kings, Yucatan Mayan high priest Ildelfonso Ake Cocom conducts a "saka" purification ceremony on the grounds of Mayapan, a ruined Yucatecan capital city.
The Black Christ of Izamal Home to both Mayan ruins and Christian churches, Izamal, Yucatan is one of Mexico's designated "magical towns," which also celebrates a Black Christ with a legendary past.
"Sonrisas de Yucatan" Nothing says "bienvenido" more than a smile, and in these people of Yucatan, Campeche and Quintana Roo they seem to run through every aspect of life.
Viva Mexico! 2010 Bicentennial The 200th anniversary of Mexico's independence from Spain was celebrated with a tremendous country-wide effort, marked by careful planning and a generous spirit.
"Colores de D.F." Mexico City is renowned as one of the most important, and densely populated, cities in the world. But there are also many unexpected harbors of peace in which to rest.
A Faith Rewarded, Michoacan In the capital's working-class neighborhood of Mariano Escobedo, a group of neighbors builds a shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe right on the street.
"Ritual and Romance in Asia" signed first edition
"Ritual and Romance in Asia: a photographer's journey" -- Six years of documenting the essential human condition across Asia, “from the gods we hold high to the strengths and fragilities we all have in common.” A stunning collection of work from nine countries. Hard cover, linen binding, printed on coated paper.
Jay Dunn “In the very humanity of a gesture, what I look for are the emotions we all share, the intimacy of friendship, or the pain of loss, an offering to the hungry, or hands clasped in prayer. To have stopped, when it was much easier to walk away, to have tried to make a difference, to have regarded the ways of others, and found lessons for my own life, these things alone keep open that elusive window, through which I hope, in my photographs, a moment of truth may still be seen.”
Cycles of the Sun, Burma
The following is an excerpt from "Life and Death in Burma," a photographic exhibition created in April, 2001. FULL TEXT can be found at www.jaydunn.com ----
"Beneath all that is political is our essential human truth, and nowhere I have been is it clearer to me that this spirit is alive than in Burma. One hot day in Thanlyin, as I was watching some children playing on the side of the road, an older man approached, and asked me, gently, and in perfect English, why I wanted to photograph poor people. And I told him, as best I could, that to me, there was nothing on earth as beautiful as the smile on that little girl's face, that in my search for a poetry of life, any moment might show itself in that brilliant, unpredictable way to be just what you remember forever. Sure, there were to be instances of dread, of doubt, and apprehension, the cold expectancy of trouble, the restaurant I sat down in that turned out to be full of soldiers, rifles propped casually against the wall, but for any time like that there were a hundred times as many experiences that cried out to be described, and for which there would be few words. ----- These are people who know how to do things, and for whom it seems the technology we take for granted means less and less the more they are denied access to it. Most of the toys I saw were handmade, tops made of wood, rope and a single well-placed nail, kites fashioned from bamboo strips and found plastic flown high, on cotton string wound round simple wooden reels. It is a heavy burden, for instance, that electricity here is neither reliable nor inexpensive. Those who can afford it have generators. The fuel, of course, comes at its own price, stolen from its rightful owners, resold for a profit by unsmiling generals. But how sweet becomes the sound, in a village tuned down to the cycles of the sun, of an acoustic guitar, strummed lightly, of actual conversation, of people singing, and I heard this everywhere, unaccompanied by music, singing loud and unabashed, their favorite songs. Perhaps I betray my romanticism by suggesting there is something good to this, but in all I saw in the Burmese there is resilience, and strength, and humor." ----
A selection from "Satya," an exhibition and essay conceived March 2004. ---- "The young Chitrali woman in the photograph for me has no name. She has come to represent in my memory at once sister and mother, a dream one sees only at night and a waking vision during the day. Pakistan is full of women, but one hardly sees them, especially in the north and in the countryside, where conservative is a rule and many wear burka so they are cannot be seen at all. I photographed women throughout the whole assignment, but never once was able to capture what is here, a long look, a dark well of our own expectations, a canvas on which we can write of youth and of age at the same time. She is young, and yet she will never know what we expect our youth to know in their early years. She is different." ----
Nomads of Tidene, Niger
A selection from "Letter from Agadez," published December 2007 in the photo anthology "Agadez to Accra: from the deserts of Niger to the Gulf of Guinea." ---- "Like visions from the Bible, a group of nomads will spend the greater part of a day watering their herd of goats, zebu and camels, using methods unchanged for a thousand years. A boy tightens the thick palm fiber straps hitched to an uncomplaining donkey, and fixes the guide ropes expertly to his saddle. Mounting his charge, he spurs it into action, pulling up a full goat-skin water bag as he heads away from the well. Working together, a young woman will do the same, waiting to raise the next container, now on its way down to fill up. All will take turns emptying the bloated skins into bigger jars for transport, and into a nearby trough for the milling herd. Goats crowd around the wetness, and are given their fill, but no more - donkeys will drink several times, for they are doing the hardest work. The biggest zebu can only approach one at a time, their elegant curving horns making sharing impossible. ---- Over the course of four or five hours, everyone in this group of twenty will labor at this vital routine. Not everyone would envy lives as hard as these, but I can’t help but feel that these hardy souls will be the ones that survive, should all our fragile technology crash down around us. Like many Africans eking out a living from the earth, they will always be able to live here at least, to wait out a change of fortune, a change of government, or to just make do, once again, with the patience, grace and pride of people who know themselves and the land they live on." ----