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Cantigny Park Hosts “Alebrijes: Creatures of a Dream World”

A colorful dream world has arrived at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, in the form of a new exhibit all the way from Mexico City.

“We’re just beginning an outdoor art exhibit called Alebrijes: “Creatures of a Dream World.” It opened on June 1 and it’s going to be here until October 30. And what it is, is a collection of 48 sculptures from Mexico City. They were produced in Mexico City by six artists who are here with us until the middle of July. What you’ll see are 18, really large sculptures based on Mexican folklore and 30 smaller sculptures. Like the one you see behind me,” said communications manager Jim Reiter.

What are the Alebrijes made of?

The creatures can stand up to 14 feet tall. It takes several steps to put the one-of-a-kind sculptures together.

“Most of them consist of a wire or steel structure inside, maybe some chicken wire to make the form,” said Reiter. “And then Papier-Mache over that then it’s painted and then lots of layers of lacquer are put on to protect the sculpture from the weather.”

How are the designs thought of?

There’s a unique story behind each one. The artists use their own inspirations in designing and creating the mythical creatures, so no two are alike.

“He takes his inspirations from just what happens around him, from dreams that he has, you know, that’s how he likes to create,” said artist Roberto Carlos Martinez Tesillo.

A Deeper Purpose

And the sculptures hold a deeper purpose: to help spread Mexican culture and folklore to people in the United States.

“This has been a dream of mine and I’ve thought for a while. To be able to actually have these pieces here that represent Mexico and the culture and, and the craft. That’s has taken its life form from, from Coco and everything so its incredible to now be able to share that passion with everyone else.” said Fernando Ramirez, President of Mexican Cultural Center of DuPage.

Final Touches

Due to weather and border issues the exhibit still isn’t completely finished: a few additions will be coming in the next couple of weeks. But in the meantime, there’s still plenty to see of what the artists have dreamed up.

“We’re there now. We’re really happy it’s starting. And we hope a lot of people will come out and enjoy it,” said Reiter.

Naperville News 17’s Anthony Yench reports.

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