Thursday, May 5, 2011

Folk Art Treasures in Nicaragua

(please click on the photos to see the whole thing)

(A wonderful painting of Granada--wish I could remember the  artist's name)

I have always been drawn to folk art, collecting it when I can and photographing it when I can’t.

To me “folk art” embraces a whole lot of categories—everything from Haitian voodoo flags to textiles woven and embroidered by Mexican women to wooden  statues and furniture carved in fanciful ways by Greek carpenters.

 (These are 2 of the sinks in our hotel - La Gran Francia)

I even count architectural elements and graffiti on public walls as folk art and photograph them wherever I travel (if I like it.)

Because, for the month of May, I’m laboring on a long writing project with an impending deadline, I’m going to turn my blog posts for the duration into “stories without words”.  (It’ s a real challenge for me to say anything briefly—but I have to learn!)

Some will be photo essays about folk art that I’ve encountered in countries  where I’ve traveled.

Much folk art is inspired by religious beliefs.  Often the icons, milagros, statues, paintings and textiles are created for semi-magical properties they are believed to have.  These objects are meant to serve as intermediaries between a petitioner and a saint or deity in hopes of obtaining a favor.

Today I’m showing examples of folk art I found in Nicaragua—especially in the beautiful colonial city of Granada.

Pre-Columbian art has a special place in my heart because it’s mystical, magical, amusing and sinister all at the same time. These fantastical vessels for example.

The crèche scenes that come out at Christmas (naciementos) also count as folk art, I think. Below is a little girl looking at the one in the main square in Granada, and a smaller creche scene in our hotel.

And here is a small collection of  santos in someone's home.
What do you consider to be folk art?  And what do you collect?

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