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Alebrijes: The Mexican Chimeras

By: Irma Islas / 07 Jun 2024
Alebrijes: The Mexican Chimeras


Mexican handicrafts distinguish characteristics of each region; for example, the Huichol community keeps in its crafts and typical costumes the symbols that highlight their beliefs. However, in Mexico, several figures, materials, and techniques describe the essence of all Mexican culture.


Pic by @edgarbj, via Freepik

A dream world


Alebrijes are one of the Mexican crafts that have most captivated many people worldwide. Due to their extravagance and originality, these fantastic creations take us to an incredible place within our imagination. Its origin? A very peculiar dream.

A craftsman and expert in cardboard from Mexico City named Pedro Linares had a difficult time in his life —around the year 1930, in which after a hard economic situation, he fell into an illness that left him in bed in a deep sleep.

At the time, he told his family that while he was ill, he had a dream about himself and a large forest with a lion with an eagle's head, a donkey with butterfly wings, a rooster with bull's horns, and other colorful species that yelled at him: "Alebrijes, alebrijes, alebrijes!"

After he recovered his health, Pedro started to mold these very strange figures with cardboard, and it was thus that little by little, his work became known in various cultural exhibitions, not only in Mexico but throughout the world. He received the National Prize for Science and Arts in 1990 in Mexico for his great talent, thus recognizing his career.

There is no doubt Pedro opened a great opportunity for Mexican cultural heritage since it is a way to express feelings and create your figure with a unique meaning.


Pic by Velas Resorts

The artisan process

Although these figures can be made of wood or pottery, the original way to give life to such beautiful crafts is with the cardboard technique, which is also used to make piñatas. In the case of alebrijes, firstly, a wire skeleton is assembled to support the entire figure, then it is shaped with paper and cardboard. Once it is well molded, it is painted with different colors, giving the characteristic Mexican touch.


The workshop in Mar del Cabo

Recently, Mar del Cabo announced their workshop to create alebrijes, which begins with a brief but fascinating introduction to the history and significance of these imaginative creatures. Today, alebrijes not only celebrate the magic of creativity but also the beauty of the spiritual world.


Pic by Velas Resorts


What makes alebrijes particularly fascinating is that no two are alike. Each one is a unique expression of the artist who creates it. During the workshop, local instructors with extensive knowledge will educate participants on the evolution of these figures and how these creatures represent a blend of folkloric tradition and personal history. Attendees will enjoy an immersive experience accompanied by a refreshing Mexican mocktail.


To foster creativity, a wide range of vibrant acrylic paints will be provided. The artisans guiding the workshop will explain the significance of each color and offer tips and techniques for creating intricate patterns. This ensures that every alebrije reflects the unique style of its creator. Traditional Mexican music will fill the air, creating a festive atmosphere that enhances the experience.


In addition to the artistic aspect, this workshop offers a valuable opportunity for camaraderie. Whether you come with family, friends, or join a group of new acquaintances, the sense of community and shared appreciation for Mexican culture will deepen. Interaction and collaboration in such an enriching environment foster new friendships and strengthen existing bonds.


At the conclusion of the workshop, each participant will take home their finished alebrije, a tangible keepsake of their time at Mar del Cabo. This workshop promises a unique work of art and an unforgettable experience that combines learning, creativity, and cultural immersion. Whether you're an experienced artist or a curious novice, this workshop offers something for everyone.


Painting alebrijes in Mar del Cabo


Which alebrije would your dreams bring to life?

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