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Tenango de Doria textile artisan Susana Hernández Núñez. Tenango de Doria textile artisan Susana Hernández Núñez.

Artisans celebrate opportunity to sell for first time since pandemic began

'We've been through something very difficult,' said one

A museum in Mexico City has given five artisans from Hidalgo a much-needed opportunity to sell their wares amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The National Museum of Popular Cultures invited artisans from the municipality of Tenango de Doria to sell their colorful Tenango embroidery at a recent expo.

One of the five artisans who participated was Susana Hernández Núñez, who left her home in the community of El Dequeña at 3:30 a.m. to travel to the museum, located in the southern borough of Coyoacán.

She told the newspaper Reforma that it was the first time since the beginning of the pandemic that she was able to sell her embroideries at a public event.

“After a year and a half, this is the first outing,” said Hernández, who like most artisans has seen her income dry up during the pandemic due to the downturn in tourism and the lack of opportunity to sell her work at fairs and other events.

“… We’ve been through something very difficult. I believe that for everyone it was very hard, psychologically, physically, morally and especially economically,” she said.

Hernández said that she and other embroiderers from Tenango wouldn’t have had any income at all if they hadn’t begun making and selling face masks. Nevertheless, she estimated that her income has fallen by 8,000 pesos (about US $400) a month.

Another artisan who attended the museum expo was Alejandría Manilla Alarcón, the sole income earner in her family.

“I live with my kids; [all] three depend on me — one’s at university, one’s at high school and I’ve got a girl at primary school,” she said.

For Hernández, Manilla and the other Hidalgo artisans invited to Mexico City, the opportunity to sell their work — among which are dresses, blouses, bags, purses and table runners — to customers directly was a welcome one.

Still, their income, and that of countless other Mexican artisans, is unlikely to recover much while the pandemic continues to impact tourism and makes holding arts and crafts events difficult, if not downright unviable.

“Hopefully, the pandemic will end [soon]; it’s what we’re all asking for,” said María Teresa Hernández Núñez, another artisan who participated in the museum expo. “Let it end so we can move on,” she added.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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