Arturo Garcia Gariola (Art G)

In 2010 I purchased 14 masks from Tom Kolaz, 7 by Guadalupe Vadon Ochoa, which we saw last week, and 7 more by “Art G” (Aturo Garcia Gariola), which I will show you today. Both carvers worked in Sinaloa, but the later masks of Guadalupe are plain and utilitarian in their design, while those of Arturo are alarmingly vivid, as you will see, actually shocking when viewed within the Sinaloa Mayo context that we have been surveying. They are also more elaborately carved.

These masks were probably collected directly from the artist by Barney Burns and Mahina Drees in September of 1990, which was 20 years before I bought them from Tom. It was his impression that Arturo and Guadalupe had long since died. The masks by Arturo are mildly soiled on their backs, as if there might have been limited ceremonial use, but all have monofilament hanging lines, which don’t seem appropriate for dance use. Most of the hair bundles were destroyed by insects after the masks were collected by Barney and Mahina.

I was initially put off by the garish nature of this group of masks. Then, when I made the effort to focus on them, one by one and from various angles, I was surprised to discover how much I liked them. I will begin with one of the most vivid masks, although you may well have other nominations for this title.

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Guadalupe Vadon Ochoa II

Last week I displayed some masks by Guadalupe Vadon Ochoa. Today we will examine a few more.

At some time after I had received last week’s masks, I purchased others that seem less refined. I don’t know the reason for this change in his style. It could be that last week’s masks were carved to an individual dancer’s order while this week’s were made for sale, and perhaps to a lower price point.

I do not recall anything about the first of these. Maybe I found it on Ebay™? I believe that this mask represents a monkey. It is slightly more carefully carved than the group of documented masks that follow, so it might seem like a bridge between last week’s masks and these others.

One is impressed by the simplicity of this functional design.

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