FILEY – International Readers Fesitival of Yucatan

This coming week, if you wander into the Siglo XXI Convention Center from the parking lot, you’ll see the length of the corridor is decorated in a bright red and yellow motif, with traditional Chinese paper lanterns hanging overhead.

If you come through the side access, you’ll feel as though you’ve wandered into a Campeche landscape; reminiscent of colonial times.

The changes in décor are part of the attractions of FILEY – the International Readers Festival of Yucatan, to be held at the convention center from Saturday March 11th until Saturday March 18th. Each year, a state in Mexico and an international country are the honored guests at FILEY – for 2017, the featured state is Campeche and the country is the People’s Republic of China.

FILEY is sponsored by the University of Yucatan (UADY) and the organizational committee has spent more than a year planning the event. This week, the convention center looked like a beehive or ant hill with so many people working  ‘round the clock, to set up the Chinese and Campeche pavilions, the mega book fair, and an art garden. This year the FILEY is offering more than 1,200 activities, and many will be held in the convention center’s salons and cinema.

130 book publishers, sellers and other culture-focused business have stands at the book fair, located in the Salon Chichen Itza. Most of the titles are in Spanish, but even if you cannot read the language, you will thoroughly enjoy the people watching and the energy of this once-a-year extravaganza.

A bilingual presentation, “Intercultural Writers in Yucatan – Escritoras Interculturales en Yucatán” is slated for Thursday March 16th at 8 pm. The invited writers are Marianne Kehoe, Linda Lindhlom and me!  I won’t give away the surprise by giving you the details of our presentation. But we hope you’ll come out and support us.

To read more about the FILEY, click on this link to the Yucatan Expat Life website: http://yucatanexpatlife.com/book-fair-returns-with-english-language-authors/

The full FILEY program can be downloaded from the Diario de Yucatan site: http://filey.org.mx/docs/Programa%20FILEY%202017.pdf

Frida Kahlo

My painting of Frida Kahlo - 2015
My painting of Frida Kahlo – 2015

In high school – Art was definitely my favorite class. In fact, had my father gone along with the idea, my career would have headed in that direction. Maybe I would never have met my husband, Jorge, and spent forty years in Mexico?

But I definitely would have traveled there because Frida Kahlo lived there. Mr. Lange, my 11th grade art teacher introduced her to me through one of his slide shows.

I could not imagine a character quite as “out there” as Frida – I loved her work – especially her strong brightly colored self portraits. And the Edward Weston photographs portrayed her other side – solitary, romantic, and thoughtful.

When I moved to Merida, Yucatan in 1976, Frida was not as commercialized as she is now. Her husband, Diego Rivera, certainly an accomplished painter, used his talent to promote his political causes. Frida used painting and prose to portray her inner demons, and her heart’s desire.

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