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The newly-painted Mercedes SUV. The newly-painted Mercedes SUV.

Zapotec artisans apply some color to Mercedes-Benz SUV

Pre-Columbian tradition meets German engineering

Pre-Columbian tradition met classic German car engineering this week when a Oaxacan brother-sister artist team revealed their perhaps most unique piece of artwork ever: a Mercedes-Benz G-Class all-terrain vehicle painted with iconography and colors inspired by alebrije art.

Jacobo and María Ángeles, artists from San Martín Tilcajete, about 30 kilometers from the capital city of Oaxaca, revealed their latest masterpiece on their Facebook page, as did Mercedes-Benz México.

The company provided the vehicle, documented on social media its trip through Mexico to get to the artists and the work in progress, and showed off the final results to promote the company’s G-class model, one of the granddaddies of all-terrain and sport utility vehicles, first offered for civilian sale in 1979.

Alebrije art is distinctive folk art that originated in both Mexico City and Oaxaca. In the case of the former they are made from papier-mache; alebrijes from Oaxaca are carved from wood.

Jacobo and María Ángeles have been creating artworks since age 12. Jacobo specializes in wood sculpture, while Maria was always the best in their house at painting the wooden figures.

Mercedes new paint job,Zapotec style.
Mercedes new paint job,Zapotec style.

They are well-known among artisan collectors for their colorful, fanciful works on copal wood.

They recently shared a video on their Facebook page, capturing the days of work they and a team of artisans did to decorate the vehicle. They said they were very pleased with the results.

“It was worth every minute of effort,” they said.

Sources: Excélsior (sp), Expansión (sp)

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