A little ABOUT myself…

My name is Ana Paula Fuentes and I am a Relational Artist, Social Designer, Photographer and Cultural Guide from Mexico City living in legendary Oaxaca for 19 years.

I specialize in Mexican culture and traditions, as I believe the majority of people desire to experience Mexico authentically and colourfully. Therefore, I have been wrapped and tangled in the world of textiles, travel, organizing, and outreach for most of my professional career.

I use my creativity, passion and eye for photography to tell stories that exhibit both beauty and truth. I weave connections between foreign partners and locals that place a non-negotiable emphasis on culturally sensitivity and respect, and I am a builder of intercultural bridges. I am committed and entrepreneurial, and I love to immerse myself into the stories of others with total sincerity. My passion for giving recognition to the traditions, artisans and culture of Mexico shine in my eyes and in my photographs. I specialize in photographing colours, patterns, textures, lights, people, places, and the artisans that I work with whom I have close relationships. Since the age of 8 and due to my dad´s job in a textile company, I used to love textiles, fibers and colors and I remember spending hours playing with threads and fabric samples to “weave” collages and patchworks.

In the year 1998 I graduated from Textil Design and then moved to Barcelona in Spain to study a postgraduate degree in Knitwear Fashion Design. In 2005 I moved to Oaxaca where I founded and directed the Museo Textil de Oaxaca...and then a longing for broader experience and further diverse cultural immersion led to five months traveling solo throughout India and Nepal. This experience led me to study a Certificate in Social Design Entrepreneurship at Pratt Institute in NYC and then to worked for the Mexican non-profit association El Camino de Los Altos, formed by Maya weavers and French designers, developing promotion and marketing. I also developed a marketing and promotion plan, and served as community liaison & social designer for the cooperative La Flor de Xochistlahuaca, formed by 35 Amuzgo weavers, and La Sanjuaneras, formed by 20 Mixtec weavers, and currently for a group of 21 Zapotec weavers from San Bartolo Yautepec, Oaxaca, in three projects funded by the Rubin Foundation and in collaboration with the textile designer and contemporary artist Maddalena Forcella. I was the Executive Director of CADA Foundation, a non-profit organization interested in and worried about the future cultural patrimony, local identity and value; researching and documenting artisanal communities and working as real partners to develop products that compete while incorporating the culture and skills of the community.

For the last ten years I´ve been working as a cultural guide, community liaison and facilitator, with different sustainable tourism companies such as Traditions Mexico, ONCE Journeys for Women, Cosa Buena and Traveling Traders Bazaar and independently for the last seven years I´ve been a consultant and facilitator to connect educational institutions (British Council Mexico, Goethe-Institut Mexiko, Universidad CENTRO, Universidad Iberoamericana, Universidad Anáhuac, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Fashion Institute of Technology etc.), companies (DIOR), textile design brands, independent designers, etc. with artisans and their communities, using the same Social Design methodology that I have implemented in all my past projects.