When Folk Stories Become Art
Folk stories – the stories of the common folk – have an enduring quality to them. That’s because fundamentally they are about the experience of being human. Of living within, and sometimes without or beyond, familiar cultural boundaries.
Such stories show us what we gain and what we have to give to one another.
Recently The House on Mango Street a collection of Mexican-American life vignettes written by Sandra Cisneros, have taken a folkloric leap. The work is now at the heart of an exhibit at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque.
Cowboy boots alongside an image of La Virgen de Guadalupe, and hand-cup paper figures depicting urban America are part of the show. So are the writer’s typewriter and drawings made in her youth.
The 1984 novel tells the tales of a young Mexican-American girl who comes of age in Chicago’s Latino world. The experiences and insights of the narrator Esperanza Cordero have been touching the hearts of high school and college students for decades.
It also takes a look at neighbors and friends who were a part of Esperanza’s growing up years. Her bond to them is deep. As a folk heroine she vows that once she moves outside the neighborhood she will return to help the people she has left behind.
According to the New Mexican cultural center, the multimedia exhibit highlights themes such as poverty, emotional solitude, personal dreams, hardship and family.
If You Are Interested:
The exhibition was organized by the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago and runs at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque until Sept. 25.
Photo: By Source, Fair use