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Puerto Rican carnival mask
Vejigante, Puerto Rican carnival mask, 2007; Angel Sánchez Ortiz (b. 1954); Holyoke, Massachusetts; Painted papier mâché
ache; 28 x 27 x 14 in.; Collection of the artist; Photography by Jason Dowdle
Vejigante, Puerto Rican carnival mask, 2007
Angel Sánchez Ortiz (b. 1954)
Holyoke, Massachusetts
Painted papier mâché ache
28 x 27 x 14 in.
Collection of the artist
Photography by Jason Dowdle
Angel Sánchez Ortiz holding mask; Puerto Rican Carnival mask; 2006:
Angel Sánchez Ortiz with several of his masks; Puerto Rican carnival mask; 2006: Springfield, Massachusetts
verticle bar Artist
Angel Sánchez Ortiz
Wilmington, DE
Angel Sánchez Ortiz is a master artist in the Puerto Rican tradition of vejigante mask-making - the colorful spiky papier mâché "mascara" worn during carnival. His striking, fantastical masks of boldly painted papier mâché depict animals, legendary people, and sometimes spirits and monsters that are imbued with cultural meaning. Forms and imagery come from the blend of African, Spanish, and native Táino cultures that is expressed in Puerto Rican carnival celebrations.

He builds the body of the mask on a form, often a balloon, a basketball, or a plaster form he shapes for this purpose. Decorative elements such as horns, protruding eyes, and articulated jaws, also made from paper, are added to the base form to create the mask's character. It might represent a traditional figure, for example the king of carnival, El Rey Momo, or a popular legend such as the Chupacabras, or it could spring directly from the artist's imagination. Careful painting in bright acrylic colors further defines the spirit of each mask. In addition to masks, Ortiz makes many other large and small figurines representing the vejigante and paints pictures reflecting this and other aspects of Puerto Rican culture.
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