The building that houses the Museo Textil de Oaxaca, the textiles museum, is a perfect example of my admiration for the creative and fearless building that blends the modern with colonial architecture all over Mexico. Everywhere I went in Oaxaca I felt the continuity of design, traditions built upon, rather than replaced. It’s a beautiful thing to see.
On my first visit to the city I’d neglected to stop in at the beautiful exhibition and workshop space occupied by the museum for textiles of the indigenous people of southern Mexico. The facade is colonial but inside is a modern interpretation of local interiors using materials that have been used forever in these parts - stone, clay and wood.
I loved the way many of the items were displayed, suspended so visitors could view items in space and see all sides, rather than in what becomes 2 dimensions when shown flat in a case. I loved the historic photographs of local people displayed large alongside similar items, rather than trying to imagine how they looked when worn.
The galleries are intimate spaces, human in scale, with one leading to the next as in a domestic setting. In the center of the building is a courtyard, a contemporary interpretation of that traditional architectural element and wholly reliant for the surface effects on indigenous materials. Areas beyond the galleries and patio house workshop areas for conservation, classes and demonstrations.
I’ve mentioned before what a fan I am of handwoven fabrics and though I’m aghast that I managed to forget to visit this beautiful place on my first visit, though relatively small as museums go, it now occupies a large space in my awareness of the best of Oaxaca and I’ll certainly go back on every future visit. I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone lucky enough to find themselves in this exceptional city.
Next week, the biggest and, many say,
best market in the Oaxaca region.
2017's Back to Oaxaca, all episodes.
PortMoresby's first trip to Oaxaca, Anatomy of a Trip.
To read others of PortMoresby’s contributions, click here.