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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Linda Santana’s MFA Research in Mexico (Part 2)

Photos from Linda's Yucatan Trip

(This blog entry is a continuation of my previous entry on March 25th.)
Every year the visual art department at the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (UAEM) embarks on a Viaje de Practicas, or artistic practices trip, where the students have the objective of compiling source material and/or creating artwork. Luckily my visit coincided with the trip and I was invited to join this year’s voyage to the cities of Campeche and Merida on the Yucatán peninsula.

190 students (more than 2/3 of the department) and 10 professors rode 5 buses through 6 states.  The trip was incredible, we visited sites that I had read about and only dreamt of visiting such as the UNESCO world heritage site, Chichén Itzá.  We swam in freshwater springs inside caverns called cenotes, and explored the Late Classic Mayan ruins of Edzna in Campeche and Kabah and Uxmal in Mérida.  We visited museums, ecological preserves, cathedrals and one of the oldest convents in the Americas, the convent of San Antonio de Padua in Izamal.

Many of Toluca’s historical buildings were destroyed during its industrialization, and it is the coldest city in the republic; a stark contrast to the tropical cities we visited.  Most of the students had never visited the peninsula so we shared a sense of awe and excitement throughout the trip.  Some students executed performances pieces, others made small scale land art, a few drew and collected, but most took photographs to complete their artistic assignment. I struggled to draw in the humidity, but my photography provided me with a great deal of source imagery.  The trip served its purpose in that everyone returned inspired and enchanted by the overwhelming beauty of Yucatán.