Art Alchemy Studio

Mixed Media Art by Chaska Peacock

Friday, November 09, 2007

Recently I read a message from Karen Landey of IndieArts which filled me with warm, happy memories. Three years ago, a good friend and I spent Thanksgiving at Monte Alban. It was warm and sunny...and truly a Thanksgiving of gratitude, thanks, and reverence.

Founded approximately 500 years before the birth of Christ, the city grew and dominated the valleys of Oaxaca up to 750 a.d. It was the capital of the ‘cloud people’, the Zapotecs, for over a millennium.

Monte Albán is a large archaeological site in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. The name "Monte Albán" means "White Mountain" in the Spanish language; the Zapotec name was Danipaguache, meaning "Sacred Mountain of Life". The Aztecs knew it as Ocelotepec, or "Jaguar Mountain".

This sacred Mesoamerican city is on an artificially flattened mountain top some 400 meters above the city of Oaxaca.

Monte Albán was the epicenter of their culture and a place of divine worship. It was inhabited by goldsmiths, silversmiths, priests and astronomers, by farmers, royalty and wisemen. The Zapotecs had both a written and numerical system and used a calendar of 365 days. ‘Classic Zapotec’ traits and traditions continued until the time of the Spanish conquest - some 800 years after Monte Albán was abandoned.

Karen writes:
Back from Oaxaca and videotaping parts of Michael deMeng's workshop during Dia de Los Muertos... The next morning, I taped a brilliant paint demo with Michael featuring ways to make stuff look old, even plastic thingies.

I was able to visit Monte Alban on Wednesday which is a 2000 year old pyramid site near town and also videotaped Michael in one of the cemetaries during the evening's Muertos festivities. It was amazing to see all these graves decorated and lit up in the night and all the people celebrating their loved ones. I taped an interview with Michael on Thursday, too, this time it was more background about himself and I also taped his final critique of the classes shrines.
During the short four days I was there in Oaxaca, Michael and I decided to produce a special two-hour DVD just of him and his class, so that will be my first special edition for INDIE ARTS, in addition to the piece on him scheduled for Issue 7 - Spring 2008 in the regular DVD magazine.

All the best,

Ahhhh.....I wish I could have been along!


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