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Featured Artist: Paola Klug

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Meet the Artist

My name is Paola Klug, I am a Mexican writer and I am also a craftswoman. I am inspired by mysticism, magic and the folklore of the indigenous peoples and the Mexico Mestizo for everything I do. I come from a multicultural family; I descend from Chinantecos, Afromexicanos, Germans and Spaniards. I am in living flesh, the three roots that make up this country, so I can understand and feel different forms of identity, which makes my work as an artist broader, magical, and fluid.

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Featured Artist Paola Klug

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"Our death awaits and this very act that we are doing now may be our last battle. I call it a battle because it is a struggle, most people move from act to act without fighting or struggling. A hunter, on the contrary, evaluates each act and as he has intimate knowledge of death proceeds with judgment, as if it were his last battle. Only an imbecile would fail to notice the advantage a hunter has over his fellows. A hunter gives his last battle the respect he deserves, in his last act always gives the best of himself. This is pleasant, it takes away the edge off of fear ...

"Juan Matus (warlock Yaqui) and main character of the books of Carlos Castaneda

***

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What is the word Nahual and what does it mean?  

The term Nahual comes (most likely) from the Nahuatl word “Nahualli" meaning to hide or to disguise ; however, in several Mesoamerican villages, Nahual is a sorcerer or sorceress who changes shape and can become various animals of power to achieve their tasks. They are magical beings who are respected by their communities.                                 

What goes into the process of making a Nahualita(o)?

The story of the doll is the main thing, its identity and personality is very important to be able to create them. Once you can define this with the customer, then manual work begins. The first thing is to draw, cut, sew, and then little by little the Nahualita begins to take shape.

Each of them is hand painted, both the skin and the eyes have very personalized details, since in particular, the look should inspire some feeling and the skin should give representation to whoever acquires it. We live in a society that teaches us to want to be other people, not to feel love or respect for our identity, skin color, eyes or hair and this is one of the most important aims I want to achieve with my dolls. I want people to see themselves from the outside and learn to love what they are; That they find their own beauty, strength and inner magic with the Nahualitas and that they begin to heal within.

The clothing of each doll is also made to measure and is customized for every Nahualita I make.

Do you have a certain overall theme to your art?

At first, my Nahualitas were inspired by the main characters in my stories. Most of them were indigenous or mestizo witches or sorceresses. Little by little I have started to expand the theme by creating indigenous goddesses and women of different ethnicities, but female magic is the main theme of my art in any of its forms, although I also do Nahualitos.

What led you through your personal journey into the mystic realm or into exploring the ancient traditions of your people?

Perhaps the search for understanding. There were things I could not explain and wanted to understand. Philosophically I tried to make sense of my life and my death. To go through roads of thorns, pain, rage, disappointment had to have a motive for me and perhaps this and some kind of faith or need to believe that there was something superior to my spirit led me this way. Although the result was not the one I hoped for or the one I desired. The mysticism of my people and the search for my own identity gave me deeper answers than a voluntary spiritual surrender. It led me to understand that life does not have to make sense, it is as chaotic as the universe and that is what makes it special. I understood that death is just another path to walk and that being part of the whole, there is nothing smaller, nor bigger than I. I am the one who controls my destiny and who decides how to act in every battle that life presents me, that is something magical.

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"You forget young girl that in pain there is also beauty"

Nana Hilaria, main character of my story La Curandera.

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What is your dream project?

At this moment, to be able to take to the world my new book of stories and my novel. Once I can do this, I can probably dream of new projects. I have much to give yet!

 Would you share with us what inspires you and your art?

All my life I have felt a special fascination with witches and mythology at a world level, however, as the years passed and the mystical cultural spectrum offered by Mexican indigenous peoples I began to fall in love with it. I fell in love with their stories, their cosmogonies and the form they had to understand and feel these issues in particular. Basically, magic inspires me in any of its forms, the power of women to heal and heal others and the stories that pass from generation to generation filling our ears and hearts with folklore.

If you weren’t making art, what do you think you would you be doing now?

Probably dying of resentment and boredom behind a desk watching other people realize their own dreams as I watched my life go by.

What artwork are you excited to work on next?

My new collection of stories about mestizo witches. There are thirteen long unpublished stories that I have not shown anyone! I've been working on them for two years and I'll finally be able to bring them to light.

 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist?

Believe in yourself, even if no one else does. Fall in love with what you do. If you love what you do that emotion will flow back and forth to other people. Do not doubt your ability, just learn from your mistakes.

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Nahualita

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