Friday, December 1, 2023

Alebrijes to form exhibition in Chicago park

Eighteen giant Mexican folk art sculptures and 30 medium-sized ones will be on display in a Chicago park between June and October.

The Alebrijes: Creatures of a Dream World exhibition will open to the public June 12 at Cantigny Park, located about 50 kilometers west of downtown Chicago in DuPage County.

Six Mexico City artists were recruited by the Mexican Cultural Center DuPage to make the alebrijes, fantastical creatures first  made by the artist Pedro Linares in the late 1930s after he had a vivid dream that was apparently triggered by a high fever.

The artists, which belong to a collective based in the southern borough of Xochimilco, began making the colorful sculptures last September.

Alejandro Camacho, a member of the collective, told the newspaper El Heraldo de México that the Cantigny Park exhibition – which will feature 18 four-meter-high alebrijes – has the “great responsibility to show off the culture … of Mexico City in one of the most important cities of the United States.”

The capital is known for papier-mâché alebrijes, while wood carvings known by the same name are primarily made in Oaxaca.

The artists received few instructions from the Mexican Cultural Center DuPage as to what kind of alebrijes to make but were asked to not create overly aggressive-looking creatures, Camacho said.

The sculptures will be exhibited in other United States cities after the five-month-long exhibition in Illinois.

The exhibition, admission to which is included in the US $5-$10 cost of parking at Cantigny Park, comes after two large alebrijes were installed in New York City last year as part of a 12-day celebration of Day of the Dead.

With reports from El Heraldo de México

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