Peter von Tiesenhausen - Mazatlan Nov 2011
CULTURAL FESTIVAL, MAZATLAN '11
PETER VON TIESENHAUSEN
Artista Canadiense, Vinculado Fuermente A La Ecologia
Plasuela Machado, November 3 to 11.
A surprise met me when I stepped on to my West Jet flight to Mazatlan recently, across the aisle sat Peter von Tiesenhausen and his wife Teresa. Of course I asked, What takes you there?.
For me it's a "dental" vacation (not so much fun). For Peter it's a trip to expose his art and ideas for the Art Festival going on in old Mazatlan. Centered at the Teatro and Art School, Peter will perform, discuss and make his art in the beautiful old square, the centre of cultural activities.
Fresh from a Banff Centre studio project and an exhibition of new works at the Willock & Sax gallery Banff, Peter is full of energy after a two year long hiatus from art making, to build from scratch the Demmitt Community centre in his home community of northern Alberta.
This opportunity is yet another extension of Peter's international exposure of his talents for involving community, ideas, environment and art projects. Sent south to the festival by the Prairie Art Gallery, Grande Prairie, he likely is the perfect choice to be in Mazatlan.
We arrived on November 2nd, and to Peter's surprise he was listed in the Cultural festival brochure as having a "sculpture exhibition" opening on November 3 at 7 p.m. Well without a crate in the belly of the plane full of his recent small works, he was left to show up and do what he does best, "make art". And just how to do that was of course his big question.
A quick meeting with some representatives and friends of the festival, sent him off on a quest for local papers, hand-made from the bark of trees, used originally by the Aztecs, and local clay for his paint. Although many people showed up in the square at the proposed opening time, of course there was no "exhibition" to be seen. What there was as the attached image reveals was Peter, sitting on stool at the indicated location for installation of the sculpture, painting small sketches in his hand, talking with anyone who would converse in English or Spanish, discussing his plans, ideas and at a given moment standing up, and singing the complete (a cappella) version of "North West Passage".
The performance of all this takes place over a two hour period, every day for the next week. I have been three nights now and noted the changes taking place. More people involved in discussions, the small paintings gathering strength and quality, and his knowledge of "North West Passage" becoming more confident!
Each night he gives away beautiful small drawings/paintings to only residents of Mazatlan, signed and dated. They welcome the gesture and say "gracias gracias" many times! It would not surprise me at all to head down to the square in the coming days and find a full-on Peter von Tiesensen sculpture physically installed in his given spot. But that has yet to be seen.
Of course the use of the song is to bring the North to the South, he made the long passage with his "burnt figures" many years ago strapped to the deck of a Canadian Coastguard vessel. He also mentioned the use of huge blocks of ice apparent in the shrimp market here, Mazatlan of course being the shrimp centre of this part of the world. Peter also will tour an abandoned fishing boat pier where the rusting hulks of the fishing industry go to die...Who knows where inspiration comes from and will end up! In the hands and mind of Peter von Tiesenhausen, there is always the spark of creativity that makes this original artist's trajectory worth following.