First Impressions

HOLA! This is Lindsay Crisler

Mexico is not any where near the Mexico of my perceptions. It’s been five full days since we arrived here and the visions I once had of open dust filled streets and rural palm lined towns have disappeared. While some of these characteristics that have come to represent Mexico for the rest of the world are apparent in the country, there is an undeniable essence of Mexico that one cannot experience without visiting it first hand.

With the context of visits to an anthropological museum, modern art galleries, and lectures in Mexico City, our first few days offered much insight into what makes up this essence or identity of Mexico. The history behind the struggle for an identity with the domination over the indigenous people by the Spanish and the subsequent mix of both cultures offers a basis for how Mexicans regard themselves today even 500s year past. In conjunction with these historical and social experiences in the city, the Paz writings allow for a modern connection with what we are currently seeing.

The idea as the Mexican living life behind a mask has appeared not only in the art we’ve seen but also the interactions with people on the street. Daily life here in San Miguel seems to be bustling but quiet; often people are conversing and spending time together are young kids or families. Compared to places like New York City, you won’t find the large loud groups of tourists (other than ourselves at times), people adamantly talking in foreign languages on the phone or masses of shoppers going through shops. In Mexico there is a difference from the daily action and jovial expression of one’s own emotions or any thing beyond the average scheme. However, the parade that passed through San Miguel today demonstrated just how the Mexicans do express themselves when the time is right. Men, women, children were out in costumes screaming, singing and cheering throughout the entire city without regard to normal standards. The men dressed in indigenous clothes drumming and dancing struck me most as the unveiled. Their outfits alone allowed for a connection to their heritage while their impassioned screaming made you feel like this was truly a rite of their people. In observing these men along with the other celebrators it confirmed the idea of the mask but also showed that the Mexican does not necessarily repress themselves into solitude but more so hold their jubilation and connection to others for another time.

This idea I find very compelling and the possibility for this unveiling to seep through into daily life. I hope to find these leaks and the incorporation into daily society and photograph them.

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