Folk Art Is Fine Art PHOTO: Courtesy of DeSilva Imports (“Folk Art Is Fine Art”)

Indigenous creativity

Desilva Imports’ Scott Thompson brings Mexican Folk Art to a fine art setting

By Carl Kozlowski 12/15/2011

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AS THE CO-OWNER OF DESILVA IMPORTS, A FINE ARTS IMPORT FIRM, STEVE THOMPSON HAS WITNESSED FIRST-HAND THE decline in folk art that has occurred in Mexico in the last several years amid the nation’s devastating drug wars. Soi he’s decided to take a stand on behalf of the nation’s rich arts scene with the new show “Folk Art is Fine Art: The Art of Oaxaca and Northern Mexico,” which he’ll bring to South Pasadena’s Fremont Gallery starting Saturday and continuing to Jan. 14.

Featuring in-house demonstrations by Ensenada, Baja California-based painter Adalberto Perez Meillon on painting papel amate, as well as Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua-based master potters Lila Silveira and Carlos Carrillo as they show how to create hand-made pottery without a potter’s wheel, the show will be rich in interactive creativity.

“We like to offer demonstrations because it shows the artist’s process behind it all too,” says Thompson. “A lot of people assume
indigenous art is folk art rather than fine art, but when they see it created, it really appeals to people on a deeper level.”

Thompson started DeSilva with Louis Rodriguez in 2005, after he was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and decided to leave his career as a bank manager and pursue his true passion of folk art. Starting with representing artists in Oaxaca, Mexico, he now guides the careers of artists throughout Mexico, Panama, Colombia and Costa Rica, and ensures that DeSilva Imports operates under the ethical traditions of the Fair Trade movement.

“I am so excited about the partnership we’ve been able to forge, not only with the Modern Mata Ortiz art movement but with the Fremont Gallery as well,” says Thompson, who conducts most of his business through DeSilva Imports’ Web site, desilvaimports.com. “Our mission is to assist in the preservation of folk art traditions from throughout Latin America, and to continue to blur the lines that have been erroneously drawn between indigenous based folk art and fine art.”  

DeSilva Imports presents “Folk Art Is Fine Art: The Art of Oaxaca and Northern Mexico” from Saturday through Jan. 14 at the Fremont Gallery, 812 Fremont Ave., Suite 100, South Pasadena. Call (626) 403-9901 or visit either fremontgallery.com or desilvaimports.com.

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