Zarco Guerrero

Art can be a statement that goes beyond mere entertainment and the decorative, unveiling the sordid and the beautiful. The primordial growl of the nagual mask is a reminder of our origins and kinship to the beast. The agony in some of the faces valiantly dares us to become aware that we are at least existentially responsible for the awesome suffering of the majority of the earth's inhabitants and the destruction of the environment. In our plastic and polyester charades there will be those who wish to ignore the indicting eyes and wrinkled visages that seem to have witnessed the ravages and pillages of history. With integrity as an essential aspect of aesthetics, art should move us and in doing so force us to confront our notion of self and society in relation to the earth. In expressing the paradox of being the nagual mask challenges us to struggle, to articulate, and to confirm the sanctity of life.

Upon my return from Mexico to Aztlán,, I was inspired to make masks for theater and dance. Día de los Muertos was the perfect venue to reintegrate the mask into contemporary Chicano urban culture. I began to make half masks for the musicians who accompanied the dancers. I was using horns extensively on my masks and the idea of hands which look like deer antlers occurred to me in a dream. The next day the mask Mañoso was a reality!




Can Sapos

While investigating maskmaking in Mexico, I learned of a curse said to be cast by shamans in the pueblo of Tepoztlán, Morelos. Legend had it that the curse would cause toads to grow in the stomach and they would have to be expelled through the mouth. When I made the mask to exorcise this horrible idea from my mind, the appropriate title was Con Sapos, an obvious play on the term "Con Safos." Here the whole "locura" concept of consafismo applied well to the image of this mask with an element of Chicano humor or cabula.