New York artist finds an unlikely muse in rural Yucatán

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.

Last weekend saw an art exhibit titled “Wild Palms” by New York artist Ro Lohin.

Photo Caption: New York artist Ro Lohin stands at the entrance of her “Wild Palms” exhibit in Mérida. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

The exhibition is set to continue every day until Dec. 30 (except Sundays) at the antique shop Santo Remedio Antigüedades, hosted by Armando Maiquez and Ken Hardin.

During the event, locals of Mérida, as well as the city’s international community, walked the halls of Santo Remedio Antigüedades enjoying the artwork, finger foods, and a glass of wine. Photo: Carlos Rsoado van der Gracht

The exhibit was made up entirely of pieces produced by Lohin while in Yucatán. Their subject matter ranges from portraits to landscapes and renderings of her favorite model — a donkey named Camila.

“Even when I was back in New York I could not get the image of my friend Camila out of my head and dreams. So now when I come back to Yucatán I always go looking for her with some pieces of mango,” says Lohin.

Over time, Camila became part of Ro’s imagination and eventually made her way into her painting. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

During one of her trips, Lohin discovered that Camila now had a companion, another donkey by the name of Kalimba. Feeling that now Camila had some company, Lohin decided to take on other animal models as well, including cattle and a white horse named Arocho.

Lohin described the white horse Arocho (left and right) as possessing a dreamlike quality she finds impossible to shake. Photo: Courtesy

Ro Lohin first came to Yucatán 30 years ago on a holiday with her husband Kevin Wixted, who is also an accomplished artist and professor. 

The pair fell in love with the natural beauty of the Peninsula and several years later, in 2005, decided to buy some land that had belonged to an old henequen hacienda.

Ro Lohin in her studio in rural Yucatán. Photo: Courtesy

“Plants, animals, insects, birds, and water are always active players in the ever-changing show. With repeated trips to the casita our love grew,” says Lohin. 

Over time, Lohin and her husband became close with local families who also sometimes served as models. The pair also became enamored of the region’s archaeological sites, cenotes, and festivals, including the bullfights and townwide fiestas organized by local guilds. 

One of Yucatán’s attractions that most caught the couple from New York’s eye was Uayma’s unique church, just outside of Valladolid. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Lohin does most of her painting in Yucatán under the shade of a thatched palapa on her property, where the light is best.

“I like painting outdoors, where the possibility of micro to macro is available. I like that ‘infinity’ is an available plane (meaning the sky) and also the particle of paint,” says Lohin.

Ro Lohin’s exhibition “Wild Palms” will remain open to the public until Dec. 30 — Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM and on Saturdays from 9 AM to 2 PM.

Santo Remedio Antigüedades, on Reforma (72 por 41 Centro)

For more information on Ro Lohin and her artwork, visit rolohin.com

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