2009 – Van Deren Coke Achievement Award – Dr. Margarita de Orellana & Dr. Alberto Ruy Sanchez

photo of Orellana & SanchezLos Amigos del Arte Popular is proud to present the 2009 VDC Achievement Award to Dr. Margarita de Orellana & Dr. Alberto Ruy Sanchez on their 20th anniversary publishing Artes de Mexico.

When a married couple of many years speak of their friendship and affinities, we learn of their lasting union, but when the two are also associates and professionals, co-editors, and their work is the venerable Artes de Mexico, we are speaking about a true union of ideas and art. Alberto Ruy Sanchez and Margarita de Orellana have this unique relationship, with grand hearts and a deep love of cultures

Alberto and Margarita met in the 1970’s, students in their third year at the Universidad Iberoamericana, a Jesuit College in Mexico City. From there, they left to get their doctorates in Paris. At Ecole de Haute Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Margarita received a doctorate in communications, and Alberto pursued two doctorates, one in communications and the second for literature. Alberto completed the first degree, but his patron for the second degree in literature died before he could defend his thesis.

In 1975, the couple traveled to North Africa, to Morocco. They discovered many similarities between Mexico and Morocco. It was also here that Alberto found his true voice as an artist and creator– where he saw the world as a poem of surprise, of marvel. The similarities and differences opened the doors of imagination. It was a magic of realism derived from things of everyday life that compelled him to write a book, or, better said, a “tetralogia” of four books.

Margarita, through her work on her thesis in Paris, focused on the Mexican Revolution and how it influenced the design of the industrial world and of cinematography in the United States. She had ideas and inspiration that led to numerous publications about the two most popular commanders of the Mexican Revolution.

The couple returned to Mexico City in 1982, in part to begin a family. They have a daughter, Andrea (18), and a son, Santiago (15). During this time, they searched for a publisher for a literary work of Alberto. “Los Nombres del Aire” (1986) was published after ten years of work. The following year Alberto won the most prestigious award of Mexico for his work, the Xavier Villaurrutia Award. In 1988, Margarita had her book, “Villa y Zapata,” published and more publications were to follow. Their deepest commitment to the present has been to nourish those values of the culture of Mexico which they hold to be true.

In 1980, Artes de Mexico, created by Miguel Salas in 1950, ended publication. This magazine had been a habitual presence in the kiosks and bookstores throughout Mexico. Its spirit was resurrected later by Alberto Ruy Sanchez and Margarita de Orellana who were well qualified to supervise its rebirth.

It has been an adventure of ambition, challenge, and energy to have been selected to oversee the rebirth of one of the finest magazines in Mexico. As the couple explains it, they began with very little– a lot of ambition, five employees and publishing four editions per year. Now, it has grown into twenty-four employees, publishing five editions per year. To date, they have produced well over seventy-five spectacular, full colored editions featuring articles written by the best writers of the country, including themselves.

When asked about possible tensions in their relationship, especially when problems related to work are brought home after a long day, Alberto responds, “We exchange looks like two youngsters in love.”  “To begin with,” Margarita continues, “we’ve always had affinities that converge. Aside from this, we are so occupied as authors and designers, with deadlines for production and publicity; we don’t have time for conflicts.”  Alberto intervenes, “Remember, before being a couple, we were friends. We still are and that helps a lot.”

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