Monday, April 6, 2009

Alfombras- One of the Most Amazing Art Forms I Have Ever Seen!

Several years ago I traveled to Guatemala with a fun group on an arts tour led by my friend, Joanne. She planned the trip purposely to be there during Holy Week, or Semana Santa, the week leading up to Easter Sunday.
We spent several days in the beautiful city of Antigua where there are many processions, especially on Good Friday. Oh, My! Before each procession, the people of the town decorate the streets with "alfombras" (carpet in Spanish). These alfombras are incredible temporary works of art. They are comprised typically of colored sawdust (like the 2 photos above) , fresh flowers, sliced fruits and vegetables (like the 2 below) or some combination thereof in fabulous designs.
(If you click on the photo, it will show up bigger and better.)

We got up and out on the streets before daylight to watch some of the alfombras being created. (Many hours of work!) Most of the streets in this ancient city are rugged cobblestone and a bed of sawdust has to be laid before they can even begin. In most cases, groups work together with stencils to create the more elaborate designs. A framework of lumber allows the artists to put layers on top without disturbing the ones already lain.

As the processions trample over them, they are blessed and onlookers swarm to pick up the remnants. What doesn't get picked up, is then swept up by a crew following behind and dumped into a truck.
The photos above were ones that I took myself, but you can see more here.

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