Mexico in Color: Paintings by Elma Pratt

Elma Pratt spent several years of her life traveling throughout Mexico, encountering the many different types of peoples and their cultures. Spending most of that time in the southernmost regions of the country, close to the Guatemalan border, it were the scenes and denizens who became her subjects for the pieces in this collection. Though this show is small, it features paintings unlike those ever seen before. Her use of vibrant colors really place the viewer at that time and place, allowing them to see what Pratt saw.

Through these paintings, Pratt was able to capture the Mexican peoples at their finest, from performing their daily rituals to the most obscure of activities. She was able to appreciate the differences and similarities between shared among the people whom she visited. From one village to the next, the livelihood changed from one man being dependent on the catch of the day on the Island of Janitzio, to another dependent on the sales of his multi-colored paper flowers.

Some of the paintings are bordered by intriguing designs, some with very traditional origins. In the painting "From the Mountains of Oaxaca," Pratt explains that the border design was inspired by the motifs on the belts worn by the twins. During fiestas, one Mexican dance, La Pluma, native to the small village of Santo Tomás is performed. the spirit and strength of the dance are captured and retained in the faded wools of the twin's belts.