What to do when the Jaguar glows blue

What do pottery, genetically modified corn and a glowing blue Jaguar have in common? All, in one way or another, inspire Mexican artist/activist Lorena Silva.

What do pottery, genetically modified corn and a glowing blue Jaguar have in common?

All, in one way or another, inspire Mexican artist/activist Lorena Silva.

Silva is visiting the territory this month as part of the LLAMA (The Listen, Learn and Make Art) Project.

Silva is an artist of international renown, whose work has been exhibited throughout Mexico, Europe and Canada.

Her painting was highlighted at Expo ‘86 in Vancouver.

Silva has since moved on to more sculptural and ceramic-based work and recently took part in a ceramic symposium in Beijing.

While Silva will be exhibiting her work at the Yukon Arts Centre next month, and has been giving talks and workshops, she would also like to focus on some of the social causes that she’s championing.

Jaguar de Luz

The hunter had the jaguar in his sights.

This particular animal had been killing a lot of the local farm animals in the area.

Of course, the community had begun to encroach on the jaguar’s jungle territory, claiming more and more land for farming.

But this was to ensure that its people didn’t starve.

The community, like many other communities in the south of Mexico’s state of Oaxaca, was finding it impossible to subsist in traditional ways.

So they reclaim the jungle for agriculture and produce coffee and the jaguar’s habitat shrinks.

As the hunter was about to pull the trigger, he noticed something strange: the jaguar was glowing with a blue light.

The indigenous people have long revered the jaguar, which plays a large part in local mythology.

Many believe the jaguar to be a kind of reincarnation of their grandparents and elders.

“It’s a jaguar that shines, a jaguar of light,” explained the astonished local people.

“It’s a signal to us. The Earth is angry.”

The village decided not to kill the animal and trapped it instead, taking it to a nearby zoo.

Silva and a number of other artists, including LLAMA artists Maria Luisa de Villa and Cristina Luna, decided to do something about this wild animal now living in captivity.

They created artwork and sold it at auction, hoping to raise enough money to have the large cat returned to the wild.

They also created a documentary film showcasing the project to save the jaguar as well as the many problems that have led to this standoff between man and jungle.

Silva will be showing this documentary at 7 P.M. on October 27, at l’Association franco-yukonnaise.

Genetically Modified Corn

Corn makes up a huge part of the North American diet in one form or another.

The ubiquitous grain originally came from Mexico, which once had an incredibly diverse selection of the stuff.

There are many different types of corn or maize, and it comes in a range of different colours besides the standard yellow that you might think of.

But this diversity is being threatened by genetically modified corn, which jumped the border from the US and began popping up in Mexico.

Silva is a member of a group of 48 female artists who either are or have been working in Oaxaca and have been inspired to protest the onslaught of genetically modified corn.

They are doing this by creating works of art that communicate the culture of maize – a huge part of the local tradition.

A discussion on modified corn, sustainable food and fair trade issues will also be held on Tuesday.

Battling Globalization

If you think that cheap plastic goods are ruining our culture, try being an indigenous artisan in Oaxaca, Mexico.

In Oaxaca, plastic goods have displaced locally produced goods and handicrafts.

With no market to sell their wares, these artisans, mostly indigenous people, are losing touch with traditional designs and techniques.

To make matters worse, political turmoil in Oaxaca over the last few years has deterred a lot of visitors to the state from both within Mexico and abroad.

Without tourists, it is extremely difficult to sell traditional wares.

In response to this Silva and her partner have started a studio called Los Alacranes.

The studio strives to work with local artisans to find additional markets for their work.

And, because many of the local craftspeople have a tendency to create the same thing over and over again, Silva and her partner try to help them learn to create exciting new designs and products.

The LLAMA Project is a collaboration between Mexican and Canadian artists, organized by local artist Joyce Majiski.

To learn more about Silva, the project and the other LLAMA artists, check out the website at www.llamaproject.com.

The LLAMA’s exhibition, Voz/Voice: The arts of resistance and resilience, will be showing at the Yukon Arts Centre November 5 to December 22.

Contact Chris Oke at chriso@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon RCMP are making an appeal for information in the case of Mary Ann Ollie, who was murdered in Ross River last year and whose case remains unsolved. (Black Press file)
Yukon youth being extorted online

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted on… Continue reading

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Guatto and program manager Andrei Samson outside the chamber office in downtown Whitehorse Feb. 23. (Stephanie Waddell, Yukon News)
When business models shift

Whitehorse chamber offers digital marketing workshop

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read