The Ferocious Alebrije & the History Colorado Center

Sorry it’s been a while.
Originally I had intended to post Sunday or Monday and make a weekly habit of it, but that didn’t work out. (I need to get more comfortable posting from my iPad. But it’s weird. Does anyone else have trouble adjusting to on-screen keyboards?)

Anyway! To make up for it, here’s the first of two posts.

As previously mentioned, Denver is hosting the Biennial of the Americas, which is still ongoing. The public events are mostly winding down (and most of them were shoved into a span of a few weeks anyway; that’s how Denver parties hard!), but evidence of the increased art presence can be seen all throughout the Denver area.

Possibly one of my favorites has to be this big ol’ guy.


It’s partially because he’s whimsical, and partially because the butterfly instillation on the 16th Street Mall disappointed me. (We can make the ‘beauty is fleeting’ and ‘nothing is permanent’ cliche’s to make it less upsetting, but mostly, the butterflies escaped and left us with an empty net. Denver got dumped by butterflies.)

So! Instead we have this coyote-drago hybrid cheerfully waving one clearly clawed hand at young and old alike outside the History Colorado Center. Despite a lot of digging, I couldn’t find who made this lovely creature, and the History Colorado website basically makes me feel like I should be visiting somewhere that isn’t made of concrete and office buildings.

Thankfully, the artist was kind enough to clearly explain to us that this is an alebrije. I remember these guys from my fine art student days. Alebrijes are Mexican folk art sculptures, almost always made from copal wood and always brightly colored. There is nothing about this guy that isn’t vivid; I love the use of color. This guy is made from paper mache (which I suck at, so WOAH), and it does look made by hand. To me, that makes it look a lot more personal than a generically perfect piece of work might.

So, what do you think? Cute? Frightning? Super out-of-place in Downtown Denver? (I agree with that last one; that’s why I like it. :P)

fullsize fullfront

As a side note, Colorado turns 137 tomorrow! Happy Birthday, Colorado!

The aforementioned History Colorado Center will be hosting a celebration with free admission and events!

If you want to check it out, it runs from 10am-4:30am with various events happening throughout the day. For a complete list of performances and events, click here (because I won’t make you navigate that website!).


2 thoughts on “The Ferocious Alebrije & the History Colorado Center

  1. Thank you so much for your interest. Here is more information on the artist and piece.
    Xólotl: Dios Perro (Dog Deity)
    Author: Oscar Becerra-Mora 2013 Becerra-Mora is one of Mexico’s great contemporary artists. He has dedicated more than 10 years to the art of cartonería: vibrantly painted papier-mâché sculptures incorporating modeled cardboard. Xólotl: Dios Perro showcases Becerra-Mora’s mastery of cartonería, and is his take on a mythological creature from the Aztec culture. The god Xólotl (pronounced Sho-lotel) is the brother of Quetzalcóatl, and was charged with guarding the sun as it passed through the underworld. It is said that he helped Quetzalcóatl in the creation of humankind. One of his defining qualities is his ability to transform into other figures, animals or objects. Xólotl: Dios Perro is the artist’s expression of the myth and a fantastic tool to stimulate the imagination. Xólotl: Dios Perro is the first monumental alebrije that has ever been on display in the United States. This exhibition, part of the 2013 Biennial of the Americas celebration, is an exceptional sculpture which represents a great addition to the iconography of the world.

    Alebrije (Pronounced Ah-leh-bree-heh) Alebrijes are Mexico’s version of the fantastical figures that have long been part of the collective imagination of cultures around the world. These creations are represented in many cultures in diverse forms such as gargoyles in Gothic Cathedrals, dragons in Asian cultures, feathered serpents in Meso-America, and various creatures in Greek mythology and Persian and Egyptian religious traditions. In Mexico, with its rich biodiversity, folk art and craftsmanship, alebrijes have found a unique home and a distinct look. They are represented as colorful creatures with features such as wings, horns, tails, and rooster feet. There are two fundamentally different ways of creating alebrijes. In the State of Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, they are normally carved from wood from the copal tree, which contains a large amount of resin and tends to deform into capricious and exuberant shapes that naturally lend themselves to this form of art. In Mexico City, these figures are created using papier-mâché techniques and are painted with a wide range of the most daring colors and designs imaginable.

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