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Zapotec Woodcarver: Jesus Sosa
Gathering Tribes: 1412 Solano Avenue, Albany CA
Saturday, November 14 - 10 am to 6 pm
Sunday, November 15 - 11 am to 5 pm
Jesus Sosa Calvo is from the pueblo of San Martin Tilcajete, the most well known of the wood carving villages in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Jesus is self-taught and began carving over 25 years ago. Before he began carving, Jesus was self employed in doing simple electrical work. He became quite ill, with typhoid fever and his doctor forbade him to work. Others in San Martin had began carving and were becoming successful so his wife, Juana, asked him to try to make wood carvings too.
Within a year of beginning to carve, he won an award from the Government of Mexico for his outstanding skills. Since then, he has regularly visited the U.S., displaying his colorful figures in numerous galleries and museums throughout the country. In addition, he regularly visits schools, demonstrating his carving and painting skills to the students.
San Martin Tilcajete is a village of 1000 people and many of them are involved in the making and selling of their artwork. This craft has changed their lives. For the most part, the older generation was uneducated - often needing to leave school in the 2nd or 3rd grade to work in the fields to help support their families. Today, thanks to the success of their wood carvings, many families are able to have their children attend college.
In most families that make wood carvings, everyone participates in the work. Jesus, as well as his sons Gabriel and Apolinar do all of the carving. The painting is done by Jesus, Juana, and his daughter Gloria. And at night while watching television, everyone sands the figures.
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