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Whitehawk Associates, Inc., of Santa Fe, New Mexico, annual Ethnographic

By Bob Alvarado

El antiQuario, marca registrada (registered trademark), is a news magazine devoted to promoting Mexican arts and culture, both past and present. Our mission is to promote antiques dealers, as well as the traditional craftsmen and artists of Mexico who are so admired by many. In addition to this, and almost as a side effect, El antiQuario also nurtures our U.S. amigos in their likewise kindred activities. The capital "Q" in El antiQuario is our way of uniting English with Spanish -- more of a play on languages than a play on words. As most bilingual readers well know, in Spanish, anticuario (antiquarian) is spelled with a letter "c." Since our target readership is primarily in the United States and Mexico, we try to capture both interests by including continental antiques every now and again. Nonetheless, our slant leans heaviest toward Mexican goodies.

Occasionally I get befuddled looks from first-time observers of our publication. Their initial reaction is, on occasion, "Ah geez, no color?"-- or they may even say, "Why isn't it more like Artes De México?" Well, obviously, I ignore the comment and think to myself, "geez no culture?"

As a matter of fact, Artes De México is one of my favorite publications. A huge stack of these noteworthy and colorful magazines-- including a highly prized and coveted first edition-- form part of our library. On the other hand, El antiQuario is a modest publication, produced on a very old Heidelberg printing press. Just like artesanías (handcrafts) from Tonalá, our periodical is carefully put together by hand-- one story at a time, one page at a time, one staple at a time, magazine after magazine. Our team has a heck of a lot of love for Mexico and its arts, and most of us have been antiques dealers or collectors since Porfirio Díaz was a staff sergeant. Whatever we may lack in flash and color, we make up for in actual hands-on, hard tack, street skill. Ours is a cottage industry, while Artes De México is a dynasty which dates back to 1953. (That should suffice for those perplexed looks.)

Admittedly, this is a rather long introduction to one of this issue's truly interesting articles. Researched and written by part of our newly ordained Mexico City crew, Charles Bleil and wife Josefina Zárate, "Purely Mexican" is a brief history of that fabulous publication, Artes De México.

After months of playing "scheduling tag," we finally bring you our story on the elusive and sojourn-prone Lucía Maya. The story on this enigmatic painter, by Susanna Kirchberg, may well have to be continued, as the interview was conducted via e-mail between Guadalajara, Mexico and Greece, where Ms. Maya recently enjoyed a few weeks of rest and recreation. There is much more Lucía would love to share, so look forward to a sequel to "Memories of Water".

Also for this issue, El antiQuario's news hounds ventured north-of-the-border while our cub reporters trail-blazed El Bajío. Bringing us a couple of great scoops from Santa Fe, New Mexico and San Miguel de Allende, Old Mexico, are Chuck Trebor and Charles Dews-- both respectively on their toes. They bring not only two interesting features, but some great images too -- if only we could do them in color!

Deviating slightly from our normal Mexican jaunts, we depart from our conventional venue to report on the forbidden fruits of the nearby tropical island of Cuba. This colorful story, "Are you Cuba Ready?," explains the ins and outs of what everybody wants to know about the place where everybody wants to go. Maybe soon....

Why, just the other day I was reading in the Cuban newspaper, Grammar, that this island nation's effectiveness in drug boat interception in the Florida Straits is so highly lauded by the U.S. Coast Guard that they, in turn, offered the logistical and intellectual assistance of the U.S. Government. If that don't beat all? Also, according to a story from a reliable news agency, Smith Kline Beecham (a U.S. pharmaceuticals giant), was recently approved a license by the U.S. Treasury Department for a joint venture with the famous Instituto Finlay in Cuba. Cuba's advances in the production of vaccines for meningitis B will save thousands of children, including those in the United States.

So there you are, before long we'll be doing antique shows in La Habana while listening to the tropical sounds of Ruben Gonzales' Buena Vista Social Club.... "Oye, pass me one of those Cohibas... and while you're at it, how about a mojito, compa'?"

Artist Lucia Maya paints sensual tales of solitude, anxiety and strength

An open-air street market in Old Havana, Cuba offers an array of vintage