Rufino Tamayo – Museum of Pre-Hispanic Art, Oaxaca

We’re living in a street called Rufino Tamayo just a few minutes’ walk to the Zocalo and the historic centre. Wandering around our hood, we began to see this name signposted everywhere, but to what? So, Rufino Tamayo, it turns out, is not just the guy who gave his name to our street, but actually one of Oaxaca’s much-loved heroes: a proud Zapotec, a bold modernist painter and more importantly, a passionate collector and protector of indigenous Mexican art and artefacts. In 1972 he established the Rufino Tamayo Museum of Pre-Hispanic Art in Oaxaca, a tight collection of perhaps a thousand objects presented beautifully in an old Spanish colonial building just off the Zocalo. Its pastel coloured rooms are packed with fascinating pre-Colombian artefacts – many of them quite amusing and often stunningly realistic and characterful, whilst others tell a darker story emblematic of their blood-thirsty times.

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