Presentation and Discussion The Development of a New Craft: Colorful Wood Carvings from Oaxaca, Mexico

  • 7:00 PM–8:00 PM

Iowa City Public Library, Room A
123 S. Linn Street, Iowa City

The Development of a New Craft: Colorful Wood Carvings from Oaxaca, Mexico

Presentation and Demonstration by Saúl Aragón Ramírez and Antonia Arreola Sánchez (translation by Michael Chibnik)

Since the 1970s, artisans from the state of Oaxaca, Mexico have been selling colorful, whimsical wood carvings (alebrijes) in the global folk art market. This ever-changing art form is now one of the best-known Mexican crafts. Saúl Aragon Ramírez and "Alma" Arreola Sánchez, artists from the rural community of Arrazola, will talk about the history of their craft, the effects of sales on their community, and the techniques they use to make alebrijes. They will also demonstrate their carving and painting methods.

This event concludes a week-long residency of these distinguished artists at the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum, and is concurrent with the exhibition Crafting Tradition: Oaxacan Wood Carvings.

Crafting Tradition was curated by Professor Emeritus Michael Chibnik in 2005 (Anthropology, University of Iowa) and was adapted for travel by the UIMA. This exhibition is funded in part by the John K. and Luise V. Hanson Foundation and organized by Legacies for Iowa: A University of Iowa Museum of Art Collections-Sharing Project, Supported by the Matthew Bucksbaum Family.

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The residency and this event are supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit


Cost: Free


Porfirio Sosa (Mexican)

Alebrije (inspired by papier mâchè figures of Linares family of Mexico City)

, 2005
Copal, acrylic paint, 22 x 20 x 26 in.
Museum purchase, 2015.211a-s

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in a program, please contact the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art in advance at 335-1727.