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Google Doodle Honors Mexican Alebrije Artisan Pedro Linares Lopez

This Google Doodle honors Mexican artisan Pedro Linares Lopez, creator of the papier-mâché alebrijes, unique sculptures from Mexico's folk art tradition. June 29th, 2021 celebrates what would be the artisan's 115th birthday. He fell ill at a young age and his dreams gave him the inspiration for the alebrijes, which are a mix of fantasy and mythical creatures.

google doodle mexican artisan pedro linares lopez alebrije
 
In 1936, a Mexican artist named Pedro Linares López fell into a feverish dream while unconscious in bed. He would awaken with visions and a drive that would upend the art world.

The dream depicted his own death and rebirth mountainous region inhabited by fierce, fantastical creatures. Upon his recovery, Linares set about to re-create the beasts in the form of papier-mâché figurines so his family and friends could see what he had dreamed about.

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His sculptures gave birth to the brightly colored Mexican folk art known as alebrije. To honor his contribution to art, Google dedicated its Doodle on Tuesday to celebrating the artist's 115th birthday.

Born in Mexico City on June 29, 1906, Linares was trained in the art of cartonería, or the use of papier-mâché to create hard sculptured objects such as piñatas, human masks and calaveras, the jaunty skeletons central to Day of the Dead celebration.

But his real success came when he fell ill at the age of 30 and dreamed of a strange forest where he saw trees, animals, rocks and clouds that were suddenly transformed into strange, unnaturally colored animals. He saw a donkey with butterfly wings, a rooster with bull horns, a lion with an eagle head -- each of which were shouting the nonsensical "Alebrijes, Alebrijes, Alebrijes!" The terrible sound lead to a Linares suffering a horrible headache before waking up.
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"They were very ugly and terrifying, and they were coming toward me," Linares told the Los Angeles Times in 1991. "I saw all kinds of ugly things."

But the ugliness he experienced in his dream was too real for art buyers at first.

"They were too ugly," he told the Times. "So I began to change them and make them more colorful."
Over the years, he refined his artwork, creating colorfully patterned sculptures featuring unusual combinations of reptiles, insects, birds and mammals like the one depicted in Tuesday's Doodle. His renown grew and soon his art was admired and in demand from fellow iconic Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, among others.

In 1990, he was awarded the National Prize for Arts and Sciences in Popular Arts and Traditions category -- the Mexican government's highest honor for artisans. He died two years later at the age of 88.

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