Tuesday, October 27, 2009

squares (o cuadros)

of hallway, and an exceedingly wet Highland Park dawn seen through the window. What the picture manages to miss out are all the holes in the ceilings - and some walls - through which the new wires are being threaded. This is a relief, if a long-drawn-out and expensive one (and a disruptive one, too - I keep mislaying things and they turn up a week later, somewhere odd).

But there are also the squares on the woven hanging on the back of the linen cupboard door to consider, somewhere in the murky gloom. Even if they are hardly well illuminated (for obvious reasons) right now, their presence, on this Gloria Montoya piece, a close relative of one (with red squares) that hangs in Santa Fe, is a deliberate celebratory nod to New Mexico's Spanish heritage. We bought this at Centinela Weavers, on the outskirts of Chimayo, run by Irvin and Lisa Trujillo, themselves wonderful weavers (one of Lisa's big pieces hangs in my chair's office): Irvin is the seventh generation of Spanish descended weavers to work in the Chimayo valley. Which makes my point: this area has been colonized by the Spanish longer than by people of Anglo descent: Spanish people who intermarried with Pueblo Indians, or who married each other, and created a set of artistic traditions.

And here, today, is the nasty case of Larry Whitten, who has taken over the failing Paragon Inn in Taos, and renamed it the Whitten Inn - a clue to his ego - and has forbidden the Spanish/Hispanic workers there to speak Spanish in his presence (he's apprehensive that they might be talking about him behind his back - impossible to imagine why) - and has asked them to change their names from Hispanic ones to English ones - Marcos becomes Mark - for his American guests might find the foreign-ness of it all hard to take. No matter that Spanish was spoken in New Mexico before English. Not a hint of a suggestion that Mr Whitten might learn Spanish himself. This is a completely depressing news item, especially at a time when jobs up in Taos are not exactly easy to come by.

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