What’s the point of a souvenir? To remind you of a place where you are not.
The souvenirs we choose to keep and display to ourselves and our familial worlds receive a place of honor on a shelf of collected knick knack, walls and sometimes the refrigerator. Refrigerator magnets hold a special place in my heart as I experimented with the art form when living in Mexico. If people wanted a momento, couldn’t it both contemporary and magnetic? I recycled photos in miniature format, sometimes using buzzwords, other times photos of my friends’ weavings. Other artists, much, much more talented than myself would attractive alebrije-style magnets, depicting traditional designs and ball players. Alebrije master Arial Playas sold his baseball and wrestler-inspired magnets at La Teresita in Oaxaca City.
A few words about refrigerator magnets (imán para la nevera) prompted by the El País feature Por qué un turista responsable nunca compraría un imán para la nevera (Why a responsible tourist would never buy a magnet for the fridge) @Nacho_Meneses
@el_pais ht @ecabanilla
— Enrique Cabanilla (@ecabanilla) April 10, 2019
Mass-produced magnets are fodder for mass tourism, one that undervalues connections among and locals and visitors. Shopping (and selling) is an opportunity to connect locals and visitors. What are the local crafts and who are the local crafters? People of interest make places interesting.