Armando and Antonia Jimenez of Oaxaca
The bold and whimsical style of Armando Jiménez Aragón and his equally gifted brother Moises is usually immediately recognizable to most collectors of Oaxacan woodcarving. These two brothers from picturesque San Antonio Arrazola in Oaxaca began carving copal as young men, and may have inherited some of their talent from the inimitable late Don Manuel Jiménez, who was their fathers' brother. Though much imitated throughout this region of artisans, they have managed to produced many signature pieces full of movement and panache, such as leaping cheetas, immense anteaters with long tongues, polar bears with freshly caught fish in their mouths and mother possums with litters of babies suspended from their tails. All instill one with the delicious thought that they they might get into mischief if we turned our backs on them for too long.
Armandos' father Alejandro Jiménez Hernández and mother Raquel encouraged their sons once their natural skills and inclinations became apparent, although they were not directly immersed in the carving tradition. That was a wise choice indeed, as both brothers have gone on to attain fame and renown, and are often invited to show their work in exhibitions and carving demonstrations throughout the United States.
Oralia Cardenas, the wife of Moises, is also a talented painter who assists him with his work. In addition to their busy production schedule, which usually occupies them six days a week, Armando also has acted as Arrazolas' Municipal Agent and assumes responsibilities for overseeing a wide variety of community functions. This ecologically conscious family also takes as much care with planting copal trees as with harvesting them, so that this region adjacent to ancient and sacred Monte Alban can continue to flourish and provide this precious resource.