Alebrijes are Mexican handcrafts that represent an imaginary creature that emerges from the mixture between real and fantastic animals. These creations are attributed to the Mexican artisan Pedro Linares.
At the age of 30 Linares fell ill and the high fevers caused him to have severe hallucinations. During one of his deliriums he was led to a spiritual world inhabited by exotic and imaginary animals which shouted repeatedly at him “Alebrijes” “Alebrijes”. As he woke up and felt better, Linares decided to bring these creatures to life.
Taking advantage of his ability to work with cardboard he utilized paper mache to recreate his visions and decorated them with a bright and varied palette of colors. Alebrijes are nowadays one of the most famous Mexican folk art representations.
In 1975 the filmmaker Judith Bronowski coproduced and wrote “Pedro Linares: Artesano de Cartón” (Papier Maché Artist)” The movie told first-hand the story and experiences of Mr. Pedro Linares and his master creations: The Alebrijes. From that moment on Mr. Linares and his artwork gained name and recognition as a true reference of Mexican arts crafts.
In april of 1990 Pedro Linares López was recognized for his invaluable artistic contribution to Mexican Art by being awarded the National Prize of Arts and Sciences under the category of Popular and Traditional Arts; the highest distinction to artisans granted by the Mexican government.
He became a renowned artist as his colorful and unique pieces were exhibited in many different places around the globe. Alebrijes then became a massive form of folk art as fellow artisans started imitating Linares’ work. For him however, imitation was the most valuable for of recognition.