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"We Came to Play" at Casa Sisal

A Closer Look
Written by
Mariana Campbell
April 24, 2018

The walls of Casa Sisal in Merida, Mexico were constructed using the ancient Mayan technique of chukum — a procedure used in the past to seal water cisterns and reintroduced in 1996 to create a polished and sleek finish that’s elegant and earthy. Within these walls, in the master bedroom, you will find a love letter. A painting that tells a story in a special language.

“We Came to Play” is a translation of descriptions written by Cyndy Berger, the villa’s owner, that magically distill a sense of place in the form of a love letter. The painting is by her friend, San Francisco based artist Gail Tarantino. She decided to paint on linen because of its natural quality and color which is used throughout the villa.

Gail’s unique process for creating her art work is best explained by her: “Language’s rhythms, codes and its musical quality has been an ongoing thread in my creative work. I am deeply interested in creating forms of translation, and made the decision to step away from alphabetic reading by translating the letters into a color dot in place of writing.”


Here is a translation of the painting in words:

“We came to play and be with friends and family surrounding ourselves with beauty and nature. We created, shared, built, dabbled and expanded our circle and enhanced our experiences. Villa Yucatan became a place to sigh, to watch and ponder small things. Warm fresh corn tortillas and ice cold Coca-Cola, Chachalaca birdsong, black red and green caterpillars with red polka dots, black scorpions and big hairy tarantulas that look like they are smiling when viewed through a screen.

“From village to village, children’s laughter and village smiles are only broken by bad dental work. We have seen families of iguanas race to their holes in their rock homes, vultures watching and waiting, yellow swallows building their tree nests and weeks later taking turns to feed their new babies, thousands of ants swarming over walls and furniture making you realize that nature rules and there is only so much Raid in a can.

“The essence and constant of Casa Sisal and Hacienda La Fabrica is intense Yucatan blue sky and white white clouds colliding by day and thousands of fireflies dancing every night and a riot of stars screaming down to us that everything is all right.”

To stay at Casa Sisal and experience the painting up close, please click here.

Photographs by: Paulina Cervantes & via BoutiqueHomes

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