Last November, about 100 artists from around the world descended upon a small village in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Together with the local community of Akumal, they enhanced the existing beauty of the pueblo, sharing their creativity through paintings, dance and unbridled celebration. It was there, in the 'land of the turtles', that cultures were shared and friendships were made. It was there that a family was created.
And next week, we will be having a celebratory reunion, to create more beauty...and to share more smiles among friends.
When people ask me about the inaugural Akumal Arts Festival, I immediately light up, because it was such an outpouring of love from everyone involved. We were all there for one purpose, to honor one another through a shared focus of unity and respect, appreciating each other's talents and worth as humans. There were no language barriers, no walls put up. After all, love is a language all on its own, and it was communicated through pure hearts.
Everyone contributed in their own way. From the shaman, who led us over the bridge with a blessing, to the children who helped paint the bleachers in the stadium and decorate the main thoroughfare with flags, to the local businesses and individuals who provided food and housing for the artists; each of us played our part to elevate the experience for the whole.
I've never witnessed, much less been a part of, such an extraordinary sense of purpose, and an unwavering sense of love. In the end, such simple gestures proved to have a profound impact on everyone involved.
Through the various workshops which were held over the weekend, Akumal's youth had the opportunity to participate in various forms of creativity, from mask making, to spray painting, to collaborating on a mural, and they came away from the experience with a bit more knowledge and definitely a smile.
Beyond the feeling of community which was created and shared over the short time we were there, the beautiful work that was left behind for the locals to enjoy was extraordinary and appreciated.
Here are some of the works from last year's festival which can be found in Akumal: