Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Pedro Linares López, the Mexican artist known for his colorful papier-mâché animal sculptures known as alebrijes. June 29, 2021 would have been the 115th birthday of the late artist.
A pioneer of Mexican folk art, Linares was admired by his contemporaries such as Mexican painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
Emily Barrera, the artist who created today’s Doodle illustration, said: “Pedro Linares gave the alebrijes his name and inspired many other people across the country to start making their own alebrijes.
“Linares alebrijes were made by mixing several parts of an animal’s body, such as using a snake body, rooster beak, bat wings, lizard paws, bull horns, etc., resulting in a unique creature, ”she added.
Born in Mexico City in 1906, Linares perfected his craft under the training of his father, who was a papier-mâché sculptor. By the age of 12, Linares was skilled at creating various shapes of papier-mâché items like piñatas and traditional skeletal figures (known as calaveras), which are typically seen during annual Day of the Dead celebrations.
According to Linares, the inspiration to create alebrijes came to him in a dream in 1945 when he was ill.
The North Carolina Anthropology Museum at Wake Forest University explains, “He fell very ill and while in an unconscious state Linares dreamed of these amazing and frightening creatures.
“The creatures started chanting a single absurd word: alebrije … alebrije … alebrije! He was scared and couldn’t tell if they were warning or threatening him. However, it was enough to wake him up. in time for his fever to subside, ”notes the museum.
His striking designs weren’t very successful initially, as they were deemed too spooky for no one to buy, according to the museum.
Over time, his sculptures were refined to feature colorful combinations and patterns, as seen in today’s Google Doodle, and “caught the attention of a prominent gallery owner who marketed and sold his sculptures. colored “, according to the museum.
Linares gained international attention after the release of a 1975 documentary about his life and work by filmmaker Judith Bronowski.
In 1990, Linares received the first Mexican National Prize for Arts and Sciences in the category of Popular Arts and Traditions. He died in 1992.
Barrera told Google: “I find his work very interesting and strange, and I wanted to pay tribute to him by creating an alebrije based on his most iconic pieces. Its alebrijes tend to display an open mouth, showing the creature’s sharp teeth and pointed tongue. outwardly, they usually have wings, claws or hooves and have very detailed patterns and colors. “