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May 27, 1970
NEW FOLK ART SHOW IN PAN AMERICAN CENTER
Eaten any good sculpture lately? In Ecuador they do. It's made of unleavened
bread dough, and represents religious figures from the Nativity or carnival
characters from Mardi Gras depending upon the time of year and the festival being
celebrated. Such sculpture, baked hard, painted, and varnished to preserve it
as tourist souvenirs, may currently be seen in ithe new exhibition of "The Human
Figure in Latin American Folk Art" at the Pan American Center in the Restoration
Area, St. George and Hypolita streets.
Of special interest to children, the colorful show includes not only "bread
sculpture" but the human image rendered in clay, glass, wood, metals, reeds,
straw, yarn,nuts, leather, and woven, embroidered, or appliqued textiles and
rugs. Everything was made by self-taught, usually rural, "folk" craftsmen--
men, women, and even children. Statues, paintings, masks, dolls, rugs, wall
hangings, jewelry, clothing, and edibles are on display, representing eight countries.
Most numerous are items from Peru, followed by Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador,
Chile, Guatemala, Brazil, and Panama.
Ranging in size from 1 l/Z inches to 4 feet, a wide variety of real and
imaginary Latin American types are included: peasants, children, dancers, musicians,
religious figures and saints, vendors, clowns, circus performers, cowboys, cock-
fighters, knights, Santa Claus, and even a skeleton. Some wear actual tiny garments
Many of these art forms originally were made for local or even family use
and had real meaning only in the region, but began to be seen and collected by
tourists until mass production became necessary to satisfy the demand. The
"bread sculpture", the Panamanian molass" or shirt decorations, and most of
the costume dolls exemplify this. Some, however, are one-of-a-kind, especially
the wood carvings.
Assembled by Dr. Carleton.I. Calkin, curator for the St. Augustine
Historical Restoration and Preservation Commission, the show will be
open to the public daily for the next six months. It is one of many interesting
and informative exhibits to be found in "Historic St. Augustine" for visitors
young and old.
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