A few of my favorite places in Oaxaca Centro, Mexico
Oaxaca Graphic Arts Institute
Not only a museum but also a library with an enormous collection of literature, music and films dedicate to the arts. Being a book lover – especially photography – I could’ve spent hours there. It’s also the home to the Alvarez Bravo Photographic Centre. The photography section here makes ICP (International Center for Photography) in New York City look tiny in comparison. I plan to return one day and spend days just browsing through books and getting inspired. A small selection of their photography magazine section pictured below. ICP – you gotta step up your game!
Oaxaca Textile Museum
As the name implies the museum is designed to show the processes and techniques that go into making the various different textiles in Oaxaca. As a lover of textiles from all over the world, I was particularly excited to view Porfirio Gutierrez’s exhibition, El Ritual de los Buenos – The Ritual of Dreams. As a master weaver he pays homage to the “petate” – a mat made from palm leaves – a technique that has been used for thousands of years.
These mats are used to sleep on, kneel on, as well as presenting their market goods. I love Porfirio’s explanation below.
The entire day with Porfirio’s family in Teotitlan del Valle outside of Oaxaca Centro was so interesting and one I’ll share in a separate post. I’ll write more about the pieces laying on top of the “petate” as shown in the image above.
Centro Cultural San Pablo
My favorite. Just to see the restoration of this old monastery is reason enough to visit. As you enter the large knotted metal gates you have this feeling you’re in for a treat. The complex is filled with a museum, exhibition space, a study center, and restaurant – all with amazing design touches. On top of all that there’s exhibits specific to the indigenous and vibrant cultures of Oaxaca. Truly special. The green colored cantera stone as shown in the image below is scattered throughout in the buildings of Oaxaca Centro.
Santa Domingo Cultural Center
My quick dip into Oaxaca Centro didn’t allow enough time to explore this center, but articles indicate this is a must see. So next trip!
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Oaxaca
Another very interesting restored building, but unfortunately only a couple of small exhibitions. Not sure of the reason, perhaps in the process of new work arriving, but nevertheless a treat to walk through and photograph. Often the building and grounds are the exhibit – like I found in one of their courtyards – below.
Andares del Arte Popular
A must for shopping. Once again a beautiful building with lots of rooms selling everything from textiles to ceramics all made from local artisans.
Totally blown away by the level of sophistication in the restaurants in this city.
Origen – My absolute favorite. The atmosphere, the art, the staff, and the flavorful food. The chef here has taken Oaxacan food to the next level for sure. Pricey by Mexican standards, but boy do they deliver. Oh, and the art. Just the lighting in the dining area (above) had me at hello. And then some of the collage pieces like this one:
Casa Oaxaca – Wonderful atmosphere and of course it didn’t hurt to sit on the upstairs patio and watch the full moon rise. Best grilled octopus ever.
La Olla – If you’re looking for atmosphere this isn’t it, but fresh quality ingredients makes this place a winner.
Las Casa de Mis Recuerdos Bed & Breakfast – no doubt Conchita and her husband (owners) know their way around in the kitchen. A lovely B&B where you can eat breakfast and not worry at all about being hungry until dinner time! Highly recommend staying here! Quiet, cozy and very little English spoken. Image above of Conchita under the watchful eye of her mother.