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Museu de Lisboa

From Carnival to Lucha Libre

Mexican masks and devotions

8th July to 1st October
Canada, Mexico

After five centuries, the descendants of the Aztec, Maya, Purepecha and other ancient Mexican civilizations still perform rituals and dance dramas and visit sacred sites to renew their relationships to the worlds of gods, spirits and miraculous saints. The masks they make for these ceremonies and other uses depict Europeans, Moors, Africans and their indigenous ancestors as well as animals, fantastic beings and historical characters that reveal the way they understand their history and see the world around them. In contrast, 15th and 16th century European missionaries, cosmologists, chroniclers and more recent 20th century travel writers created a prolific literature that contains drawings, illustrations photographs and descriptions of the peoples, gods and beasts described to them or whom they encountered in the New World. Mexican Masks. Chimeras in the World of the Saints brings together over 200 masks and books and illustrations that depict the rich imaginations of Europeans and Mexico’s indigenous people in their continuing attempts to make sense of the collision of their two worlds.

Through a rich array of masks, folk art, photographs and illustrations, Mexican Masks. Chimeras in the World of the Saints, focuses on the 500 year history of mutually constructed images indigenous people made of Europeans, Moors, Africans and fanciful animals and European images of the inhabitants of the Americas and the monsters they feared they might encounter there.

Curator: Anthony Shelton (Canadá)