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.