Manos de Méxicanos (By Mexican Hands) is a new gallery and Mexican crafts store located on Red Hook waterfront. Owned by Steve Tarpin (of “Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie” fame) and his wife Victoria, the well-attended opening was held on December 3rd – a big, bright and colorful event that reflected Mexico’s vibrant culture.
The mission of the new endeavor is to build a link between the people of New York and artisans of Mexico. Works featured in this gallery/gift shop included Day of the Dead Catrinas, the stylized skeletons that manage to poke fun at life’s preoccupations. The creator of the Catrinas is young, self-taught artist Marta Elena Nares Heredia. As said in her artist’s statement, “I love my culture and our indigenous people…I am the bearer of a rich cultural and unique artistry.”
Also in the gallery are yarn and bead paintings in the traditional Huicho design by Miguel Carillo Montoya, whose work has also been seen in the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Mexico City. Huichols are the last remaining descendants of the Aztecs. Depicted in the paintings are peyote visions and hallucinatory encounters with spirit guides.
The opening would not be festively complete without food and music – and all bases were covered here. Underneath the banners of papel picado, guests feasted on tamales and mole, and live music performed by Radio Jarocho, a New York City-based group - with a very special guest appearance from Patricio Hidalgo, one of Mexico’s most celebrated son jarocho musicians.
Manos de Méxicanos is located at 204 Van Dyke Street. Check the website for hours of business, as Victoria and Steve will be headed to Zacatecas mid-December to further make connections with artisans. As Steve says: “We’re a living museum for living artists, with a simple goal of preserving the true spirit of the artisans’ tradition and the uninhibited expression of their craft, with no regard to economic, financial or sociologic pressures.” Best of luck with the new endeavor!