Dear Yoko

On Thursday night September 17, we had in Mexico City the opening of the HISTORIAS DE AMOR  show  (Love Stories) with 53 new works selected from the VISIBLE COLLECTION, that will remain until October 16 at Academia de San Carlos.

As you already know 45 other works from the collection will remain in exhibition in Asunción (Paraguay) until September 12.

You are the only one artist with works in both exhibitions.

In Mexico City your WISH TREE is an AHUEHUETE SABINO (Taxodium mucronatum ) also known as Montezuma Cypress. The Ahuehuete was declared the National Tree of Mexico in 1921. Ahuehuete in náhuatl (the language spoken by some Mexican natives) means “The tree that never gets old” or “Old Water Tree” because of its longevity and because it always occurs next to rivers or streams where the base of the tree is submerged in water for much of the year.

The Ahuehuete has been cultivated as an ornamental since the time of the Aztecs because of its splendor, colossal dimensions, beauty and longevity. Nowadays is Endangered Species and usually are protected as “monuments” in Mexico.

One specimen of Ahuehuete: the Árbol del Tule (Tule Tree or Lightninig Tree, cause Tule means Lightning) in Oaxaca is the second stoutest tree in the world. The legend said it was planted 1.400 years ago by Pechocha, a monk of Ehécatl, god of the wind.

One of those Ahuehuete trees in Mexico has been like a kind of Wish Tree for Mexicans for years: Is the one called “The Sacred Tree” in Ocuilán de Arteaga at the sanctuary of Chalma. There is an altar by the tree dedicated to Santa Rita, the saint who makes possible the impossible. Thousands of Mexicans came to this altar every year and they hang in the branches and in the trunk of the tree pieces of wood, or wood carvings, or any other kind of objects, asking for a wish to the Saint.

The Ahuehuete has inspired many a legend:

They say that  the seed of the Ahuehuete at the quarter of San Juan in Mexico City was brought in 1520 by Cuauhtémoc as a present to the Lord of Xochimilco who helped him to defend Tenochtitlán (Mexico City) from the invasion of Cortez and the Spanish troops. They say that when the tree grew it started to flow clear water from its west side gush forth, and created the lake of San Juan. I have heard that every year in some special days during the months of July and August, at dawn, hundreds of white herons land in its branches like doing a kind of ritual.

Some people see in these herons the reencarnation of Hapunda, the kind and beautiful pre-Hispanic princess of the Isle of Yunuén, that flew from home to avoid a war between her people and the invaders chichimecas who wanted to rape her. She went to Pátzcuaro lake who was her fiancé and it/him told her to immerse herself on the waters so they will be together forever. She came into the lake ,dive in and emerged reborn as a white heron.

Other legend said that the Ahuehuete was created when an old man that have been walking during a whole day to arrive to a nearby village, sat by the river and put his aching and inflamed feet into the water. The old man was feeling so good that asked to the gods to remain like that forever. Then the old man suddenly turned into a hug tree by the river that now is a symbol of the experience and dignity of the older people strong and wise well respected by the American natives.

In real life many of those natives suffered prison and were killed in San Salvador de Atenco in 2006 when they opposed to the construction of a mega-airport that was going to destroy their land where there is a cemetery of Ahuehuetes, a beautiful and deserted nature reserve of these old trees. Amnesty International asked for  an investigation on the death of  the young ones Javier Cortés Santiago and Alexis Benhumea, and the release of countrymen Ignacio Del Valle Medina, Héctor Galindo Cochicoa y Felipe Álvarez.

In another Mexican city: San Lorenzo Tezonco, old people remember that there was an old, big and beautiful Ahuehuete Tree by a well of healing waters that in 1905 was chopped down by some insensitive authorities, and they say that they saw the tree crying blood when it was cut down.

The resin of the Ahuehuete is used to heal injuries, sores, ulcers, wounds, skin diseases, tooth-ache, and rheumatism, and many other illness.

Well, I hope not have been  very boring with all these stories about the Ahuehuete Tree. There are many more, but I would like to return to the exhibition and tell you that the building where is taking place (Academia de San Carlos) is and old very beatiful one, right in the middle of the city by the Cathedral, and that many many people attended at the opening and that although in Mexico City (They call it México D.F.) same sex Civil Unions are legal, it is not legal in the rest of the country and they said that this same sex Civil Unions aren’t equals to heterosexual marriages, so the Mexicans came to the exhibition as a way of  showing their solidarity to any activity related to educate people in the need of getting Equal Rights for all.

I took some photographs of the people who attended asking them to contribute to the SMILING FACE FILM with their smiles, so I’m going to put all of them as soon as I can, cause now I’m having problems with my computer and I cannot compres the files. They all will be marked as “México D.F.” I warn you: they are going to conquer you!: they are very very beautiful people! Mexicans are adorable and sweet! Spanish Mexican is the loving tongue.

There’s a little lovely story I want to share with you, related to same sex marriage: Two days before the opening of the show I was having diner with a middle aged just married gay couple, and one of them told me that their families supported their marriage and that they wanted them dressed in very good wonderful new suits, made specially for the ocassion, (both of them are those sort of intellectuals that don’t care about their looks) and that after the Civil Union ceremony her mother came by his side smiling and told him: ” I had you, you came out of me, and now I’m very happy because I feel that finally, I can go out: out of you.”

I also want to tell you who have made possible this show, cause me, I feel I’ve been the smallesst piece among these other huge and important other pieces of the puzzle:

-Embassy of Spain in México
-UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico)
-MUSEO UNIVERSITARIO DEL CHOPO (they all love you there! Gabriela González Reyes, Polo Hernández, Anjélica Aguirre and Alejandro Flores have treated your WISH TREE with lots of love and care)
-Pablo Peinado, the main curator of the whole exhibition and the director and owner of the VISIBLE COLLECTION.
-Academia de San Carlos

The media have covered the event widely. These are some pages I have found:!XTIKaHoGIJ3RjiQG9pYfOA/

Cuentan historias de amor gay
14 Sep 2009 … Después de itinerar por España y América Latina, llega a México la … formada por un haz de luz, detalló el artista Jorge Artajo, …

Well, and that’s all! Uffffff!
May the gay goddess of the Earth bless you dear Yoko
I have found that you are loved in México
A big warm mexican hug

Dear Jorge 
I am so impressed with the Sacred Tree! I love it! 
I am one of those tree hugging hippies. 
So you can imagine how I feel about this Sacred Tree!!! 
I am kissing it and hugging it now, from here…. 
Love, yoko