Dreamy alebrijes take over Mexico City

The 11th edition of the Mexico City Alebrije Parade assembled 239 colorful sculptures that trace back to 1930

A young man painted to look like an "alebrije" walks in the annual Mexico City Alebrije Parade organized by the Popular Art Museum in Mexico City- Photo: Rebecca Blackwell/AP
English 22/10/2017 14:23 EL UNIVERSAL in English/Berenice González Mexico City Actualizada 15:48

The 11th edition of the Mexico City Alebrije Parade, organized by Mexico Museum of Popular Art, featured 239 monumental papier-mâché sculptures created by both artisan family workshopsalebrije enthusiasts, as well as sponsored artist collectives and craft workshops based mainly in Mexico City. The popular papier-mâché characters were showcased through Mexico City downtown, as part of the much expected annual parade that brings together families, tourists and locals alike.

This year's edition included a set of marching bands, including one dressed as mummies, as well as folkloric dancers.
Remembrance sings and gestures following the 7.1 September 19 quake also took place in yesterday's Mexico City Alebrije Parade.

15-year-old Sara said this year's alebrijes "Are prettier than I had been told. My older cousins would tell me stories of scary-like alebrijes to instill nightmarish dreams in me when I was little. This is the first time I see alebrijes live and they are definitely nicer!".  For 56-year-old Amelia and her husband, the parade is a must visit event that "reminds us the best of our roots and heritage. This is a sample of how creative Mexicans can be."

Alebrijes are the Mexican creation of Pedro Linares López (1906-1992), a self-made craft artist, who supplied famed painters of the likes of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo with traditional carton figures representative of Mexican popular culture such as the "Judas". 

Linares López fell ill at age 30 and while been convalescent he dreamed of a forest-like place where nature and its inhabitants merged into fantastic creatures that cried in unison "alebrijes". Butterfly-winged donkeys, a golden-horn cock and an eagle-headed lion where among the creatures Linares López retrieved from his dreams to create the Mexican papier-mâché craft of alebrijes.

Linares López in his craft workshop - Taken from cartoneria.com after Wikipedia commons

Alebrijes are extraordinarily named after their variegated designs and variable size, "No me chapulinees" (Don't trick me) by David Antúnez Hernández, sponsored by Casa de los Alebrijes (House of the Alebrijes in iconic Mexico City craft market of La Ciudadela) or "Xolotl" (Sunset God for the Aztecs) by Africa Ríos León from the craft workshop Los Alebrijos (Sons of Alebrijes) are a couple of examples of the complexity and symbolism adhered to the fabrication of the papier-mâché colossus. 

If you are in Mexico City, you can still appreciate all of the 239 majestic alebrijes , which will be openly exhibited along Reforma Avenue through November 5.