Postcard from Oaxaca, Mexico: Sarabia’s narco mixed-media tales fill second floor of MACO

One of the early mixed-media installations of Eduardo Sarabia, a native of Los Angeles living in Guadalajara, tapped into a journey sparked by his grandfather’s map of the rumored buried treasure left behind by Pancho Villa.

That and later stories are included in his current show occupying the entire second floor of the Contemporary Art Museum of Oaxaca (MACO). Traditional forms of Talavera pottery are transformed by symbols associated with narco-trafficking, contrasting the beauty of the culture with the dark undercurrents swirling underneath.

During a 2014 interview published on the website of the Arizona State University Art Museum, Sarabia reflected on the temptations posed by gangs when he was growing up in Los Angeles. A teacher noticed his talent and persuaded his parents to send him to Saturday art classes:

When both your parents are working and you grow up in a bad neighborhood, it is easy to get caught up in these things. Art saves lives.