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Linares Family

Enrique Linares Skull
Paper-Mache Alebrije by Pedro Linares

The Linares family are renowned cartoneria or papier mache artists who are considered Grand Masters of Mexican Folk Art. This family is still faithful to their popular traditions and have been involved in the production of papier mache since the eigtheenth century when Juan Bautista de Linares started making Judases for Holy Week.  Other major themes in their work today are death and the alebrijes.  The Judas figures can be three to ten meters high with explosive fireworks added so that they can be blown up on Holy Saturday. These are made on frameworks of knotted wire or reed depending on the size of the piece then covered in paper and painted.  Although they symbolize Judas Iscariot, they are in the shape of unpopular politicians, firemen, movie stars, crazy monks, charros, devils, skeletons, wrestlers and bandits.  Their bursting into a multitude of fragments symbolized the fury of the people toward Judas Iscariot for betraying Christ and the destruction of evil.  The Linares´ inspiration for the skeleton work is Jose Guadalupe Posada, a nineteenth century printmaker, whose images such as the "Catrina" they continue to reproduce.  They also do commissioned pieces with many skeleton figures such as the installation piece depicting the Earthquake Scene in Mexico City in 1985 for the Day of the Dead.  Individual skeleton sculptures are also produced for Day of the Dead altars.  Some of the most amusing pieces are those of punk rockers, skateboard riders and other images relating to contemporary life.  The alebrijes were an invention of Pedro Linares(1906-1992).  These fantastic, polychromed creature/monsters have feathers around the head, sharp teeth, tongues coming out of open mouths, incredible wings, clawed feet, bulging eyes and long, winding tails.  Each element is painted in a different color with a different, detailed design.  Two of Pedro´s sons and several grandsons continue this amazing and original art form.  They have won numerous prizes and are in many important folk art collections in musuems throughout Mexico and the world such as the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris and the British Museum.            



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