Colorful Alebrijes

Alebrijes are a whimsical fusion of dreams and artistry, a vibrant Mexican folk art that breathes life into fantastical creatures.

This one has a riot of polka dots and hues, a proud rooster with the scales of a fish and oversized fins.

I first encountered this in the movie “Coco,” where they are spirit guides in the Land of the Dead, each one more enchanting than the last. The film celebrates this unique art form, showcasing how alebrijes bridge the mundane and the magical.

According to popular legend, Pedro Linares fell ill and, during a feverish dream, saw a strange place resembling a forest. There, he encountered fanciful creatures that were shouting the nonsensical word “alebrijes.” After recovering, he began to recreate these creatures from his visions using papier-mâché, and they were later embraced by other folk artists, particularly in the state of Oaxaca.

I found this in Zócalo (Plaza de la Constitución) in Mexico City.