Thoughts on a Flowered Skull from Oaxaca

by Ekua on November 2, 2011 in Mexico,race/culture/identity

I bought this over the summer when I was in Oaxaca. It sits on my bookshelf amongst other meaningful articles from my life and travels. Reaching a point where I could see the beauty in displaying something like this was not easy.

The first thing you’re likely to notice about this sculpture is the relative vastness of the empty space that once held life. But then your eyes wander to pretty flowers that decorate the top which suggest that death is necessary for life to flourish. Or that there is still beauty despite loss.

Something I’ve mentioned before that makes me feel so strongly for Oaxaca is the way light and dark are irrevocably intertwined there. You can’t pull them apart.  This lends itself to a local aesthetic that touches my core. It’s often fanciful, yet deeply rooted in the reality of the Earth.

This approach has also aided me in the acceptance of my own reality; that everyone reaches a point where living requires the ability to make death and life coexist.

To me, this flowered skull signifies acceptance of the past and acceptance of an inevitable future. It’s a reminder of loss and a reminder to live. It’s ugly and beautiful and healing.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

This Battered Suitcase November 2, 2011 at 6:11 pm

This is a great post – I have a lot of “strange” things around my house that I’ve collected while travelling, a clay skeleton from Oaxaca being one of them. I like being surrounded by unique and interesting things from around the world; they inspire me and get me thinking, just like your flowered skull. I’m posting photos of my house in the next day so I’ll try to include one of the Oaxaca skeleton in your honour!


Ekua November 4, 2011 at 12:05 am

Almost all my decorations are things I’ve picked up on my travels. I have a partially written piece on that subject! I love being surrounded by reminders of my travels, especially things that represent places or travel moments that were particularly meaningful. Looking forward to checking out your photos!


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