Postcard from San Martin Tilcajete, Mexico: Chaotic Carnaval ushers in Lent

Not sure how the Oaxacan town of San Martin Tilcajete, known for its colorful and imaginative alebrije creatures, ended up with such an unusual wild and wacky celebration of Fat Tuesday, but it definitely is fun.

Instead of traditional Mardi Gras royalty, a bride and groom united in a mock ceremony reign over the festival. The bride is always a man dressed in drag and fittingly attired in an elegant white gown.

Continue reading “Postcard from San Martin Tilcajete, Mexico: Chaotic Carnaval ushers in Lent”

Postcard from Merida, Mexico: Colonial casa filled with mythical creatures

jacobo and maria angeles

Above collaboration: Photograph by Fernando Armenghol enhanced with oil and gouache by Jacobo and Maria Angeles of San Martin Ticaljete, Oaxaca

The fa├žade of Casa de Montejo on Merida’s Plaza Grande is striking with its sculpted conquistadors armed with halberd axes dwarfing figures below representing those they conquered. The mansion dates from 1540 and was built on land Spain awarded to Francisco de Montejo (1479-1553) for his role in subjugating the Yucatan. The prominent residence was remodeled multiple times through the centuries and was purchased and restored by Citibanamex in 1981. The main portion of the casa is a cultural museum, with the bank tucking its operations tastefully off the back patio. Continue reading “Postcard from Merida, Mexico: Colonial casa filled with mythical creatures”

Postcard from Mexico City: Fantastical creatures paraded through downtown

Running a fever, Pedro Linares (1906-1992) awoke from his nightmarish sleep with colorful fantastical creatures racing through his head. In 1936, the Mexico City artisan began translating those visions into folk art he labeled alebrijes, a form that has become the livelihood of several towns in Oaxaca, including San Martin Tilcajete.

Celebrating the colorful tradition of Linares, the Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City began staging an annual parade, Desfile de Alebrijes, 11 years ago. The parade features competitive entries of these creatures, as though on steroids, crafted in papier-mache.

Here are a few snapshots taken on La Reforma today.