Renna de Corazones (Queen of Hearts)
Item # 90
Fernando Olivera was born in Oaxaca, Mexico in 1962. He is well known for his detailed drypoint and etching work as well as his woodcuts and brightly colored paintings. Unassuming and friendly to meet, Olivera creates with a power and depth, while at the same time telling in a whimsical way, the story of the plight of the Oaxacan people, or more accurate, the story of all people. It is of no surprise his following grows and his limited work is highly sought after.
He received formal training at the Escuela de Bellas Artes at the Benito Juarez University in Oaxaca. He also studied lithography at the Taller de Artes Rufino Tamayo with Japanese print-maker Shinzaburo Takeda. Fernando has had many solo shows in Mexico, and numerous group shows in Mexico City, El Salvador, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Montana, Chicago, Cleveland, and Philadelphia.
Olivera's work reflects the culture, stories and folklore of the Oaxacan experience and the social concerns of its people. Increasingly, his work is a voice for his political concerns. Much of his current work focuses on the ongoing political Zapatista uprising in Chiapas. His passion for “the missing,” those alleged misunderstood and innocent Oaxacan citizens currently being held against their will by the Mexican government, haunts many of his pieces.
Fernando illustrated the award-winning children's book, “The Woman Who Outshone the Sun,” based on an ancient Mixtec folktale. It teaches lessons about living with love and understanding, and taking care of the earth. His illustrations incorporate imagery of the sun, an important feature in Mexican cultural history and art. It is published by Children's Book Press. His work was also included in “The Tree is Older than You Are,” a 1995 collection of Mexican poems and stories published by Simon and Schuster.
The School of Oaxacan Painting
The mountainous southern Mexico state of Oaxaca, world renowned as a center for folk art production, has a growing reputation for the fine arts as well.
Birthplace of the late master Rufino Tamayo, Oaxaca has also produced such leading artists as Francisco Toledo, Filemón Santiago, and the late Rodolfo Morales. Many of the young artists today have been influenced by these artists, an influence of what critics now call the distinct School of Oaxaca Painting.
Oaxacan art draws its strength from its native indigenous culture, rich with stories, legends, myths and folklore. This produces an exciting and mysterious play between animals, people, symbols, and motifs. Strong beliefs in the spirit world and animal-spirit transformation known as nauhalismo is an ever familiar theme. In its expression, people fly and mysterious juxtapositions are the norm. The Oaxacan artists bring this same genre to their paintings and prints.
Inspired by these master painters and their rich culture, a younger generation of painters, including artists like Fernando Olivera, Enrique Flores, Sergio Hernandez, and Rolando Sigüenza now come of age. Their influence and energy has gained worldwide attention and they command a unique place in the growing and rich arena of outstanding Oaxacan artists.