Sunday, February 24, 2013

Xilitla, Mexico: The Surreal Gardens of Las Pozas

Last weekend I was far, far away. Both geographically and mentally. If it wasn't for the drawings I brought back with me, I'd think it was but a dream...My dear friends, two beautiful people, tied the knot in the midst of luscious Mexican cloud forest of Las Pozas Gardens. It's 12 hours north of Mexico city by bus or car on winding mountain roads, in the city Xilitla of San Luis Potosí state. 

There was a night stop-over in the city of Ixmiquilpan, where I got to briefly run through the main square and it's magnificent Church of San Miguel Archangel. 

Church of San Miguel Archangel, Ixmiquilpan

On the third day of my first-ever Mexican stay, the Bride and the Groom lead us, the happily rowdy, dressed up wedding party, into the surreal Gardens of Las Pozas for the ceremonies. 

Bride and Groom by the Stream in Las Pozas Gardens

The park was built by Edward James, an eccentric British millionaire, patron of the surrealist movement, who came to Xilitla to cultivate orchids. He didn't succeeda snow storm killed off the orchids. So the man decided to make "permanent" orchids out of concrete and build a park for them. The construction lasted up until 1984, when Edward James passed away. 

Concrete Flower
Climbable Structures of Las Pozas
Endless Waterfall

I drew as much as I could while roaming Las Pozas. But no photograph nor drawing can do justice to this incredible, three-dimensional rain forest park with man-made plants, Art Nouveau-inspired castle-like structures, waterfalls and streams. This most extraordinary and gorgeous place does not compare to anything out there, and is considered to be one of the world wonders. BBC included Las Pozas in it's series "Around the World in 80 Gardens" (short clip here.)

Guests Gathering For The Ceremony
The magic of Las Pozas that day was augmented by perfect weather and the occasion. It felt like an otherworldly cathedral in which wedding ceremonies took place. 

Wedding Ceremony High Up
Congratulations to the newlyweds! May you share a lifetime of love and happiness together!  And may the magical aura of Las Pozas guard your union.

Wild Rain Forest of Las Pozas

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Portrait Of An Artist

I just returned from the Brooklyn Museum, where El Anatsui gave an artist talk. He is a Ghanaian painter and sculptor, whose main medium is ... bottle caps. The installations El makes must be experienced in person! You might just find yourselves as overwhelemed as I was by their beauty and meaning. Here's a quick iPhone portrait of the artist I did from the mezzanine during his talk. He seems to constantly wear a smile, which I noticed only from up close, during the book signing. Don't miss "Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui"

Drawn on my iPhone