Handbuilt Fired and Painted Pottery - Life and Death in the Sea
by José Juan Aguilar
Ht. 17" x W. 16" x D. 5"
The Aguilar Sisters have been well-known ceramic folk artists for many decades, working in Ocotlán, a village near Oaxaca, and now their sons work in the tradition. José Juan Aguilar creates pieces in a wide range of subject matter, some of it deeply magical, even spiritual, some of it humorous, but all of it exquisitely crafted and painted in a gorgeous palette distinctive to José Juan. His work is a good example that it’s possible to own a masterpiece of art for several hundred dollars or less. If the work were a painting, it would be thousands of dollars. Folk art is highly undervalued, but the upside is that it is easy to own and easy for craftspeople to sell so that they can support their families. José Juan’s work is innovative, exquisitely crafted, and painted with an appealing muted palette.
Duality is a common theme in Mexican Folk Are: sun and moon; male and female; life and death; day and night. The mermaid is common because she represents land and sea, so the whole universe. Here, she also represents life and death. Think of this duality as the yin/yang of Mexican Culture.