Family Activity Inspired by Rufino Tamayo's Women of Tehuantepec

Rufino Tamayo was a Mexican painter who portrayed Zapotec culture using a limited color palette. Take inspiration from the shapes, colors, and patterns found in Tamayo’s Women of Tehuantepec, 1939, to create your own patterned paper!

Rufino Tamayo (Mexican, 1899–1991). Women of Tehuantepec, 1939. Oil on canvas, 33 7/8 x 57 1/8 inches (86 x 145 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Room of Contemporary Art Fund, 1941 (RCA1941:21). © Tamayo Heirs/Mexico / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY


  • At least two pieces of white or colored paper
  • Pencil
  • Markers, colored pencils, or crayons
  • Scissors (optional)

Artmaking Activity

1. Pick out three to four objects you might find in a market such as fruit, vegetables, or flowers. The examples here are a nopal (prickly pear), a mango, and papas rellenas (fried stuffed potatoes).

2. Draw these objects on your paper in a pattern. You can decide which order they go in. Are they all small? Are they all big? Or a mix of both!

3. Color them in.

4. Bonus! You can cut out your drawings of the objects and play around with different patterns on another sheet of paper.

Optional: Share your creation on Twitter or Instagram with #AlbrightKnox and #MuseumFromHome!


Shape: a form created when a line is enclosed

Pattern: a design in which lines, shapes, forms, or colors are repeated

Tehuantepec: a city in the Mexican state of Oaxaca

Zapotec: an indigenous people of Mexico