The Watermelons of Oaxaca City

A Tribute To The Oaxaca Artist, Rufino Tamayo

GE McKerrihan


Large 3D watermelon slices painted by Fine Artists.
“Watermelon Walk” — Image by Author

This story was inspired by fellow Medium writer, Rodrigo S-C. His stories are great, have a look. He responded to my story, When The Writing Spirits Take The Day Off. In his comment he asked about the Watermelon Art in one of my photos. So here is that story . . .

This exhibition commemorates the 30th anniversary of beloved Mexican artist, Rufino Tamayo’s death. Thirty artists, some once students of his, were invited to participate. It is a wonderful experience to walk among these oversize watermelon slices.

Tamayo was a contemporary of Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera. He spent a number of years living in both New York and Paris before returning to his beloved Mexico.

Another view of the walkway filled with watermelon artworks.
“View From the Other End” — Image by Author

Tamayo, a native Oaxacan, combined modern painting styles with Mexican folk themes, including an impressive collection of paintings of watermelons.

This stunning outdoor display is a wonderful collection of styles, interpretation, and execution. I would have a damn hard time choosing a favorite.

Cubistic painting of watermelon slices.
“Cubistic Watermelon Slices” — Artist Unknown — Image by Author

Tamayo originally wanted to study music. After his mother’s death he went to live with his aunt in Mexico City. She was a fruit seller, and the watermelons entered his life.

She wanted him to study accounting to help with her business. The allure of art and architecture in Mexico City soon became a stronger influence and he changed the course of his studies to follow his dreams.

The brightly colored melons of his youth obviously left a lasting impression on him.

Black and white painting of multiple figures.
“Painting by Shinzaburo Takeda” — Image by Author

Tamayo began as many artists do. He adhered to a realistic technique in his early still-life works. Fruits and vegetables from all over the country became his early models.



GE McKerrihan

I’ve been using the camera for nearly 50 years. I write about Photography, Art, Travel, and Life. Top Writer in Photography, Art, Creativity, and Inspiration.