6.3 - Lección
Let’s read the following excerpts from “ My Purple House - Colour is a Language and a History” by Sandra Ciscneros. Ciscneros is a chicana (Mexican-American) writer who often writes about both the two languages and two cultures that she experiences.
One day I painted my house tejano colors; the next day, my house is in all the news, cars swarming by, families having their photos taken in front of my purple casita as if it were the Alamo. All this happened because I chose to live where I do. I live in San Antonio [Texas] because I'm not a minority here. I live in the King William neighborhood because I love old houses. Since my neighborhood is historic, certain code restrictions apply...
The issue is bigger than my house. The issue is about historical inclusion. I want to paint my house a traditional color. But I don't think it unreasonable to include the traditions of los tejanos who had a great deal to do with creating the city of San Antonio we know today.
...Frankly, I don't understand what all the fuss is about. I thought I had painted my house a historic color. Purple is historic to us [Mexicans]. It goes back a thousand years or so to the pyramids. It is present in the Nahua codices, book of the Aztecs, as is turquoise, the color I used for my house trim; the former color signifying royalty, the latter, water and rain.
...Color is a language… Color is a story. It tells the history of a people. We don't have beautiful showcase houses that tell the story of the class of people I come from. But our inheritance is our sense of color. It has withstood conquests, plagues, genocide, hatred, defeat. Our colors have survived. That's why you all love fiestas so much, because we know how to have a good time. We know how to laugh. We know a color like bougainvillea pink is important because it will lift your spirits and make your heart pirouette.
In some pre-Colombian centers there is not only evidence of a love of color, but a love of vivid visual effects; in Teotihuacan, it is the drama of red contrasted with blue. That passion for color is seen even now in our buildings on both sides of the border. Mango yellow, papaya orange, Frida Kahlo cobalt, Rufino Tamayo periwinkle, rosa mexicana and, yes, even enchilada red. King William architecture has been influenced by European, Greek Revival, Victorian and Neoclassical styles. Why is it so difficult to concede a Mexican influence, especially when so many people of Mexican descent lived in the city?
You can read the full article and see a picture of the purple house, here: My Purple House
Now, let’s look at the infographic below that shows what different colours mean in different cultures:
DESIGN: ALWAYSWITHHONOR.COM AND DAVID MCCANDLESS.
RESEARCH: DAVID MCCANDLESS, PEARL DOUGHTY-WHITE, ALEXIA WDOWSKI
Could you use Sandra Ciscneros’ article and the information from the infographic as the basis for comparing and contrasting the use of colour in architecture in Mexico and in Japan? Let’s look at how to compare and contrast on the next page.