We are raising funds for indigenous artists in the sierra of Oaxaca, Mexico to make a short film about their lives and their art. The Puech Ikots artists collective was founded in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2009 to provide opportunities for these artists to improve their economic situation while also preserving their artistic heritage, and to share the culture and art of Oaxaca with a larger audience. The phrase "Puech Ikots" means "words of our people" in the indigenous Huave language of Oaxaca.
The collective creates alebrijes, which are brightly colored, traditional Mexican folk art sculptures of animals and fantastical creatures. The artists carve these sculptures out of wood and then paint them by hand. Puech Ikots is fiscally sponsored in the United States by Cuentos Foundation in Chicago, IL, and their art is sold in both Oaxaca and Chicago. (If you would like to make a tax-deductable donation to this project via Cuentos Foundation, that is definitely possible!)
The finished film will be shown in Oaxaca and in Chicago to promote and support Puech Ikots. The artists are very eager to do this! They created an 8-minute video about 2 years ago, with support from people in the United States (the Youtube link showing 2 minutes of this video is included in this campaign). They had no experience whatsoever with making videos, and creating the video was a very empowering experience for them. The artists who have joined the collective since then were inspired by the video and want to create their own longer version, to share not only their art form but their lives and their community.
The funds from this campaign will go to pay for food and travel costs for the 2 main organizers of the collective to travel from Oaxaca City to the Oaxacan sierra, and spend a week visiting collective members and filming. Any funds received above what is needed for the travel costs of the film will be given to the artists collective to buy artistic supplies (copal wood and paint), and/or better quality carving tools (as you can see from the video, the artists work with machetes and rough blades).
UPDATE: We are so grateful for the outpouring of support and for having reached our goal! Some of the artists of Puech Ikots have been monitoring the progress of this campaign from Oaxaca via the internet and are very moved by the response we have had. So THANK YOU! Anyone who sees this campaign and feels moved to donate, please do, because although we have reached our $500 goal there is still so much that is needed for this project.
The artists will use at least $100 (20% of the $500 we have raised so far) to buy paint, wood, and tools. At least 20% of what we raise over $500 will go directly to the artists for that purpose. But there are still supplies that must be purchased in Oaxaca in order to make the video recording- for example a tripod to hold the camera steady, and reflectors to maximize the light when recording the video (the surroundings will be very rustic, with natural light only, so reflectors must be used to maximize the sunlight/firelight that is being used for recording). So, any donations beyond this point will be deeply appreciated and definitely put to good use. Every donation makes the collective's lives easier. Thank you again for your interest in this campaign, and please spread the word!