Meet Felipe Linares, world-famous papier-mâché artist, son of Pedro Linares, and ex-officio head of the Linares Family of Mexico City whose artwork has been exhibited in the British Museum, the Centre Georges Pompidou, and Scotland’s Royal Museum of Modern Art. Felipe’s father Pedro is credited with creating Mexico’s fantastical alebrijes, an art form he imagined and named as a child in bed with a high fever. His alebrijes were favored by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and are exhibited in the Anahuacalli Museum, designed and created by Diego.
The Many Faces of Judas
These days the papier-mâché muñecas, or dolls, take many forms, including a lothario, a clown, politicians, television commentators, and Woody Woodpecker.
Dolls That Go Boom
There is one feature all of the Judas dolls have in common: they are packed with pyrotechnics, including concussion fireworks (think cherry bombs and M-80s) and tiny line rockets that make them spin erratically. The Burning of Judas is more like the blowing up of Judas.
The Journey of Señor Buzzard
Let’s follow the fate of one Judas doll. We’ll call him Señor Buzzard. He begins his life on the rooftop of the Linares studio and is then expertly lowered to the street by a make-shift cable system. Then he is carried to a plaza where he performs on stage for the first and only time before being blown to smithereens.
DEEPEST APPRECIATION. Without the assistance of Leonardo Linares, I would not have been able to bring you this story. When I phoned him to ask if I could come to the family studio he offered to meet me at the nearby subway station and guide me to the family home. He introduced me to his father, his mother, his brother, and his nephews. He gave me full access to the home and studio. Leonardo is carrying on a family tradition that reaches back several centuries. There are precious few men or women who can stake that claim. I am honored to have met him. Thank you, Leonardo, and La Familia Linares for your warm hospitality.
© 2015 Doug Hall