Today is animation day. We decided to go with the dresses that are more similar to the original sculpture (calmer colours, less decorated) rather then the ceremonial dresses. The dolls are now getting ready for the big day to come!
Santa Ana's hair is covered with a *manto*, so it is only Mary's hair we need to worry about. A whig was bought in Oaxaca and Monica started applying it on Mary's head. Monica worked and worked with the hair, combed it, cut it, hairsprayed it and she was not very happy with the quality.
She decided that real hair is better. It took a bit of convincing: "You have so much hair... it will not be noticed...."
Clothes need to be made for Santa Ana and Mary. Luckily... Juanita is able to work with us again! Last time we had the leasure to work with Juanita was in November 2009.
We deciced to make two versions of the dresses. The decorations of the ceremonial fabrics are a bit too big for the dolls. Church dolls are usually around 1.30 m and our dolls are 51 and 36 cm high.
The conundrum is: which tradition to follow? Dressing the dolls in ceremonial fabric (starch colours, heavily decorated) or to make dresses that resemble the orginal statues (calm colours, discrete patterns)?
I went to the store and showed the image of Santa Ana and Mary. It appeared that there was an entire section of ceremonial textiles for dressing up Virgins, Madonnas... I over-estimated my Spanish and ended up buying too much fabric (the expensive, ceremonial ones). Even though he tried to sell as much as possible to me, the guy seemed to take fancy and whispered to me: "I am just writing down one meter of this... and not more than 2 meters of this one").
The next layer of paint is adding skin tones. Monica and Armand are skilled painter. Geska is getting to work with preparing the dresses.
Preparations for painting the head. Wish you could feel the smell of cedar wood and paint!
Remember that we had the opportunity to influence how the future welcoming arch of Zegache would look like? An offer from the Presidente of Zegache that we promised to get back to in a week.
We decided upon a shape that mimicks the facade of the church. The cupolas on the sides are taken down and put in front of the arch as chapels!
After that we started preparing some green tomatoes for the feast!
The visible parts is the head and the hands - the feet are not visible and the body is covered by clothes. The torso requires a female shape and the lower part of the body supports the dress.
Some of the findings while Robert and Victor where out researching capillas, places of devotion in Snata Ana Zegache,
A beautiful nicho in Santa Ana Zegache celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of Soledad. It is an electrified capilla with matrix of small lightbulbs, red and green, as well as a larger one, the orange.
Elegantly included in the building is the following capilla.
A mogote is an isolated, steep-sided hill. Zegache means "Seven mogotes" in the Zapotec language. A mogote is represented through a four-sided cone and it is a iconic shape in Zegache - used as ornamental feature on top of walls and as in this case in a capilla.
Hardly a couple of days have passed and the assets for the puppets are starting to get real shape! Lao is doing the head of the patrona and Che is working with the hands. Christian will prepare the lower part of the puppets which are fixed (means no animation, no walking that is).
I am preparing the joints using the classical steel balls + plates + rods system for maximum flexibility and precision.
The artisans have never worked wit animation puppets and their work with figurative shapes (cherubs, faces) is recent. What talent!
We decided to take one of the mototaxis in Zegache and document most of the shrines that are scattered around the pueblo. Public media research (see separate blog posts "Capillas of Zegache").
When we mentioned the idea of making a kinetic chapel in Zegache (a chapel powered with solar energy displaying an puppet-animated saint) to Georgina, she immediatelly approved of it with enthusiasm. The kinetic chapel would make a clear contribution to the community - bridning the big gap between traditionals and progressives - which is exactly what this projects is about.
The modernization process of Mexico is a truly interesting story. The conflict between the (individualist) liberal-secular State and the (collectivist) traditionalist Church has been particularly complex in the indigenous areas of Oaxaca.
As any building projects we need permits and Georgina immediatelly set up a meeting with el Presidente. It was a long meeting (2 hours).
It ended up with us being given the opportunity to build 2 (!) chapels at the entrance of the pueblo and to make a suggestion for an welcoming arch!
Next meeting was scheduled in a week.
Finally we are ready to start our work with developing animation puppets with the artesans of the community workshop. They are highly skilled wood carvers (some of them being real sculptors I would point out) and what we have to decide is the scale of the dolls in order to know how big heads and hands to work with. Smaller is more convenient although it makes the carving harder.
We decide on a 51 cm high Santa Ana and 36 cenimeter high Virgen Mary.
Sweet name of Christ (Dulce nombre) is the second patron saint of Santa Ana. Yes, it was pointed out for us once el Presidente suggested to build 2 chapels.
I headed back to the church to make a photo of him for later use. We will be animating this dramatic figure and what a dramatic posture and promising movements - it is as if this motif begs for some motion!
We came to Zegache this time proposing the project to build a kinetic chapel. An entire edifice devoted to the veneration of a saint as well as the practice of solar energy that would keep the whole thing (literary) in motion.
While working with the practicalities of our building plans, a puppet animation would be developed at the community workshop. This day - the 11/11/11 - we decided that it had to be Santa Ana - the patron saint of Santa Ana Zegache. Simly referred to as "la Patrona". She is also the patron saint of horseback riders, housewives, grandmothers, cabinet makers, unmarried women, women in labor and miners.
A beautiful image of mother and daughter (Virgin Mary) reading together - a picture of self-education and mother-daughter-love.
Having our first meeting with Georgina, we came up with the idea launch of a Day of the Dead app next year! It would simply be an app + a small shrine crafted in Zegache that you can configure with the different images of your deceased beloved ones which would then be intermingled with animations of saints and angels. At the same time you are charging your phone (or just extending its life, being an old model)!
This is an inspirational image of our pinhole camera animation of a cherub from the Zegache workshop - played as an app on Geska's iPhone in a "charger-shrine" which has been placed at the home altar of Georgina's. (The pinhole camera animation was developed together with the artisans of the Talleres Comunitarios de Zegache).