Pedro Linares Lopez (1906-1992), a Mexican artist famous for his paper-mâché animal and mythical figures called alebrijes, was born in Mexico City. He created piñatas as well as other papier mâché figurines to make a living. When he was 30, during an illness, he began to dream about these surreal, mythical creatures which surrounded his death and rebirth. From those dreams, he created a new type of folk art alebrijes.
Pedro Linares Lopez was awarded the National Prize for Arts and Sciences in 1990. His works for Diego Rivera are displayed in the Anahuacalli Museum in Mexico City.
After Linares’ death in 1992 at the age of 85, his work continues to be produced by his family and in other workshops across Mexico.
The origin of aleberries is not known, but artisans in different regions of Mexico have been making them for centuries.
Pedro Linares, a Spanish craftsman and illustrator, was dedicated to cardboard. He used this material to create beautiful figures. Among the people for whom he worked were Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera. Upon reaching 30 years of age, Pedro Linares became ill and remained bedridden for months. During this time he suffered visions in which strange animals appeared from clouds above him; these beings were fantastic—a donkey with wings, a rooster’s head with the body of a frog.
In his dreams, Pedro Linares had seen creatures with huge eyes and long, twisted limbs, who shouted “Alebrijes, alebrijes!” Although this word means nothing, he remembered it as a name for his creations. After recovering from illness, he used his skill as a cartonero to shape those strange animals and paint them just as he remembered seeing them in his dream. In this way he was able to make the alebrijes known to his loved ones. Since then his fame has not stopped growing: today he travels around the world showing his creations not only in Mexico, but also in places as distant as Europe or the United States of America. In recognition of his work, in 1990 he received the National Award for Arts and Sciences in the category of Arts and Popular Traditions.”
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Film of the alebrijes of Pedro Linares
Filmmaker Judith Bronowski is fascinated by the creations of Pedro Linares. In 1975 she directed and produced a documentary about the work of the Mexican artisan, which greatly contributed to spreading beyond his country’s borders the work that he carried out during most of his life.
Mexican artist Pedro Linares López, the creator of alebrijes that Google has honored with its doodle.
On June 29, 2022, Mexican artist Pedro Linares López would have turned 115 years old. To commemorate his birthday, Google dedicated a doodle to him. Linares is the father of aleberries amusing figures of fantastic animals made from cardboard that are traditionally made in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. Because of their garish colours and magical fantasy, they are very famous in Mexico but are known throughout the world as unique products of the Mexican folk art tradition.
Refine technique for a better quality of work
Aleberries, a popular Mexican folk art from the state of Jalisco, were not very successful at first. But Linares was determined to refine the technique and little by little his reputation grew. Linares’s work attracted the admiration of iconic Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera . It was a 1975 documentary about Linares by filmmaker Judith Borowski that propelled him to fame in 1990 when he was awarded Mexico’s first National Prize for Arts and Sciences in the category of Arts and Popular Traditions.