In the beginning were the earth and the clouds and the wind: man was not. Flor Garduño is aware of this and watches the world as if its landscape were posing just for her.
The light dawning as if it were the very first day of the beginning of time. The country of the clouds, Mixtec awakening. Wind from Guerrero stirs our remembrance still without memory.
Suddenly, man and what his hands have made. That simple fence and the clothes in the wind are our making. We have added cleverness to nature. A very clear act of culture in the highlands of Chiapas.
Life came floating on the waters of the seas. Everything sprang from that place, where the salt and the sun are yoked by the movement of the cetaceans:
the sea and its wonders.
You find the imagined dream, the birth amidst the foams, girl of the sea leaving her first footprints on the sands of the Caribbean of Quintana Roo. For Garduño is, thus, the one with the eyes of the beginning, who teaches about the innocence, the purest age of the bodies, nakedness of the dawn, purification by the waters of Oaxaca.
Girl, adolescent, full‑grown woman, she heads towards the day’s labors, to the daily net of captures, to the promised catch. Under the mangrove tree two roads part. The tree of life springs from the dead sand and the tree of the trinity blossoms its passion on the lands of Hidalgo.
Work began our lordship over animals, they came to man’s abode to alleviate our weariness and our hunger.
In the birth of water, source of life, inside the cave, the artist’s hands captured in stone a small Soyaltepec horse. And that tiny sculpture, grows in Flor Garduño’s pupil and it enlarges the image, taken by surprise in its monumental impulse.
Animals become symbols and myths. They are at the service of dreams and magic, of the eternal game in storytelling. The rooster announces the hour of betrayal, it turns into the image of Saint Peter and crows in Guanajuato. The vital arrogance of the rooster, fighter of the winged furor, is in contrast to the bird of death, the fatal buzzard who patiently awaits the defeated in a combat in San Luis Potosí.
The wind of death opens the door of fear and the surprised souls hang from the hook like a fish in sin, fished. Mystery shrouds the passion. Christ has disappeared, hooded in yet another kidnapping. Outside a herd passes and grazes imagining pending tortures and deaths.
Fear can hold out no more and the noise explodes in its roar of wings which turns into flight, in a cloud of feathers which will make other trees blossom in the State of Mexico. Or else, fear will place that noble and feeble figure of the hermit to watch a deserted valley in Michoacán.
And we build shrines which are more human than divine, with tools useful to the body and the soul. Life defeats death and sensuality reaches the bread of the offering with the open secret of enjoyment and abundance. And that delight runs through the house looking for couples until it allows a glimpse of that black ceramic dovetailing of objects, setting them on fire in the kiln, mixing into that pleasure forces of earth, water, fire and air.
If we have managed to overcome the dangers of life and death, from the start of life and the end of death, let us open wide the windows of celebration.
Comes the wind tilling musical instruments, whistling the ceremonial flags in the ritual heart of our peoples, and the soul flies in the brief flight of a rocket.
And if we brought animals to the house before now we invent new creatures to populate the imagined world. A zoology of play and smile, of dance and crowds. Nervous laughter before the race of fire in the onsetting games.
Past is the time for the celebration when flesh is valued, and for some the days of loneliness arrive, of remembrance, the memory marked by the happiness of those, now dead, who then danced and laughed in the sacred unity of drink. It is the new hour of sadness.
But life lives on in the crafts: this handcraft pride of the master barber, of the weaver, which Flor Garduño holds in a standstill in the glory of their chores, like that woman of sun in the sensuality of tobacco and its future benefits or harms.
Memory pauses before that image of youth, of the remembered beauty with the barely reborn smile.Thus we are children again and we play with death which was then so distant And they are games of ours, imitations of adult work, true premature labors.
And now, the girl you were opens the door to the full‑grown woman whom she greets with your own lips. Woman before her time, young woman captured while selling, creating the anguish of an age fallen on the breast before time.
To go back is the answer. Go back to the games of then, to the joy of a innocent happiness, unexpected.
And if games used to be a prophecy of the work, now the work will be the prelude to the games.
We are learning to see the world through the eyes of Garduño. Flor speaks to us with an assured syntax of lights, of volumes, of textures, of humor. Her camera composes the world until each element is in its place, in equilibrium. There is nothing superfluous in this triumph over the shadow. One perceives the joy of her art and her craft. The surprise of the instant and the hours in darkness with their liquids of dilated labors. And one is grateful to Flor Garduño for her agility and patience.
We return to the children who go back to the sea. It has been a long time since those first days of the child girl Venus. Her sons and her grandchildren went through the land and their lives. Now the new children discover the sea. Ah, to be a friend of the Tucano! We know not if children journey into maturity or if the old ones return to child‑playing. The only certain thing is that the bicycle on the seashore is returning and could enter the waters of the beginning.
In this geography dilated by the optic, wide territory wandered by Garduño: Quintana Roo, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Puebla, the State of Mexico, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí, Michoacán and Nayarit, join their peoples to tell a story: the long journey from purity to purity, going through the chores and the days, the fears and the celebrations, the loneliness and the games, to return once more to the seas of the beginning, to the water of amazement.