Who is Zozobra? Santa Fe’s Old Man Gloom. His fiery demise each year kicks off the Santa Fe Fiesta, a stewpot of celebrations sacred and secular, silly and serious. The Fiesta commemorates events some 400 years ago, when the Spanish colonists moved into territory of the Pueblo tribes. This mingling of cultures presents many unsettling issues, and the Santa Fe Fiesta must stretch and grow to accommodate more rounded versions of history.
But unlike the rest of the events, the Burning of Zozobra grew up out of an artist thumbing his nose at the establishment. Back in 1922, Will Shuster, a Santa Fe artist, irked by the serious, religious nature of the Fiesta, created a three-foot tall effigy, named him Zozobra, and burned it in his yard, in the company of well -toasted friends. Santa Feans quickly embraced the ritual burning as their own tradition. Stuffed with sins and glooms and miseries, the effigy is now a 30-foot marionette who moans and groans above a huge crowd (over 50,00 attended this year) before going up in flames, amid fireworks. This year’s Zozo was nattily dressed, based on one of Shuster’s designs from the 1940’s. Children dressed as ghostly “gloomies” marched across the stage with exaggerated goosesteps, to the sound of jackboots crunching on pavement. More chilling spectacle than usual.
But with Zozo reduced to smoke and ash, it is time to put aside gloom and grief, and embrace the good of the season. Apples, pears and peaches are in season. And the apricots…let me tell you, amazing. We all enjoy being outdoors, whether sipping a Boulvardier in the café, or biking along the river, or walking in the mountains. Hiking in the foothills lets me stretch my legs and my soul. On the trail up Pacheco this week, I sat on some boulders and looked out to see the plains and the distant mountain ranges. I met a couple up there, visitors from Austin, and they shared their delight with the vista. I shared a tip: where to find the best desserts in the city (try The Compound Restaurant - I am a biased adviser!)
Meanwhile, lots of art! I have been revisiting some of my autumn pieces; I’ll be showing them here in a few weeks – when the aspens show their gold. The collage that I have been working on (working in the Railyard) is a richly hued coral reef. Here is a glimpse.
If you come into town, swing by and say hi! You know I am always glad to see you.
Love and Peace,
D E C O
Art, news and thoughts from Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Facebook | Instagram | Etsy: