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One of more than 200 entries in Saturday's parade. One of more than 200 entries in Saturday's parade.

Mexico City declares alebrijes cultural heritage

Declaration made at the start of the annual parade of giant alebrijes

The kaleidoscopic representations of fantastic animals known as alebrijes were declared a cultural heritage of Mexico City on Saturday.

The declaration was made by Leonardo Linares, grandson of Mexican artist Pedro Linares, creator of the paper mache beasts.

“Perdro Linares López contributed a new purpose to art and culture by revolutionizing paper mache with what he himself called alebrijes,” Linares said at a small ceremony at the beginning of the annual alebrijes parade on Saturday.

“In doing so, he created not just the only folk art unique to the old Federal District, he also made it so that they demand the same quality demanded of art in order to be categorized as authentic works of art . . . by which he left a cultural legacy for Mexico and the world.”

Anthropologist Marta Turok said that alebrijes reveal the dynamic nature of tradition and urged society to have more respect for folk art and the work the artists put into it.

One of the entries in the alebrijes parade.
One of the entries in the alebrijes parade.

“One must look, one must learn, one must respect. Do not haggle, because what is haggled over is the value of the work. It’s not a game, it’s not a joke. It’s the lives of entire families . . . It takes work, and that is what we must recognize and admire,” she said.

Mexico City Culture Secretary José Alfonso Suárez del Real said that as of Saturday, October 19, “alebrijes are a cultural heritage of Mexico City.”

Formally beginning the city’s Day of the Dead festivities, Saturday’s parade featured more than 200 giant paper mache alebrijes, which made their way from the zócalo to the Angel of Independence monument on Paseo de la Reforma. They will remain on display on the medians of that avenue until November 17.

Officials estimated that about 45,000 people gathered along the route to watch the parade.

An award ceremony for the winners of the alebrijes parade will be held this Saturday. Creators of the winning entry will receive 60,000 pesos (US $3,100).

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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