Alebrijes: Creatures of a Dream World

Cantigny Park is displaying a collection of sculptures that are inspired by Mexican folk art.


Photo by Juliana Martinez

Juliana Martinez, Staff Writer

Cantigny park is showcasing a beautiful, mystical exhibit of the creatures originating from Mexico called, “Alebrijes”. These creatures will leave you in wonder as you look at many hidden details each sculpture has. Is it a snake? A sea monster? Oh wait, I think I see an octopus as well? It’s all of them! This exhibit  is set to run from June all the way through Oct. 

The Mexican cultural center of Dupage in West Chicago recruited six artists from Mexico city, Mexico. They are each unique in their own styles and the park’s visitors center will feature a display that walks you through each artist and their story. Each statue has the artist’s name, Alebrije name, and the place it was created on a plaque. A few sculptures to mention include, “Patapez”, “Jonás”, and “Xolo”. “Jonás” is hidden in the prairie trail on a hill that overlooks areas of Cantigny park. 

This exhibit is free with the parking fee that Cantigny park charges which is $5 per car June through Sept. and $10 per car Saturdays and Sundays. There are a total of 48 sculptures, 18 of them being called “monumentals” due to their SUV-like size. The other 30 are smaller and placed throughout the park. On Cantigny parks website, it will feature a map that gives the location of each Alebrije and a page featuring each artist and which Alebrije they created. The website also features a printable Q&A to give more insight about this exhibit. 

The Q&A mentions the question, “Do all alebrije sculptures follow the same style?” 

The response to the question is,”No. The art form has grown in different ways in Mexico. For example, the alebrijes created in Mexico City have a different look and use different materials than those in Oaxaca, a Mexican state. Both styles will be represented at Cantigny. In addition, two of the artists are also toymakers, which is evident in their work.” 

Through the time that the sculptures are being featured at the park, there have been a variety of events that go along with the exhibit. The next one to come is a concert by: Mariachi Herencia on July 30th from 7:00pm-9:00pm.