Introduction to the Art and Impact of Pedro Linares  
Meets the learning standards for grades 4-5 (can be adapted)  
Media Type:  Foil and Tape Sculpture 
Subject Integration: Fine Arts, English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science 

Click here for Formal Lesson Plan and TEKS Information

Materials: writing materials, paper, aluminum foil or newsprint, wire/pipe cleaners (optional), masking tape, permanent markers or paint, and brushes

Pedro Linares, Mexican Folk Artist: the Originator of Alebrijes

This lesson provides 10 new vocabulary words: 

  • Tradition
  • Interpretation
  • Appropriation
  • Sculpture and Sculptor
  • Four Elements
  • Native Species
  • Characteristic
  • Supply-and-Demand
  • Culture
  • Legacy 

Do you know how to show respect for cultures and artists without appropriating from that cultureThis article will help you understand and talk about appreciation vs. appropriation.

Have you ever heard of an Alebrije?  What can you observe from these images of Pedro Linares sculptures? What materials do you think they are made of? What do you interpret the subject matter to be? What can you observe about the colors and designs? 

Activity 1

Watch this short video of the legacy and traditions resulting from Pedro Linares’ unique artistic style:

Pedro Linares’ grandson, Leonardo Linares Vargas said that he believes Alebrijes should contain qualities of animals from 3 out of the 4 elements (air, water, earth, fire). 

Create a list of native (animal) species from the region where you live and then classify which element each animal represents. Come up with multiple animal examples for each element. 

Now select one animal from three different categories and do a quick, 5-minute sketch of a fantastical creature (Alebrije) that has qualities from each of your chosen animals.


Activity 2

Review the authentic/traditional materials and methods of making Alebrijes. What are some options for non-traditional materials and methods to make artwork inspired by the sculptures of Pedro Linares?

Time to begin! We will use aluminum foil, pipe cleaners, or wire to form the general shapes of the various components of our Alebrije.  

Use masking tape to connect all the body parts of your Alebrije (this is much easier with the assistance of a partner). 

Use small pieces of masking tape (2 inches or less) to gradually cover all surfaces of the Alebrije to simulate papier-mache. 

Once the whole sculpture is covered in tape, it’s time to add color! You can use permanent markers, paint, or both to create the colorful designs that will complete your Alebrije. 

Share… Reflect! How can a unique artistic perspective (like Pedro Linares’ Alebrijes) create an artistic and economic shift within a community? How did our knowledge of biology/zoology help us interact with these works of art? How can we use our own artistic perspectives to positively contribute to our communities? 

Extending the lesson:  

Teachers and parents, if your learners are interested in creating a giant Papier-Mache animal or Alebrije, you can find an opportunity to participate in the 2021 Los Muertos Parade here.

Review of Vocabulary for this Lesson:

Tradition – The handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice: 

Interpretation – The action of explaining the meaning of something. A stylistic representation of a creative work or dramatic role. 

Appropriation – The inappropriate adoption of the practices, customs, or aesthetics of one social or ethnic group by members of another (typically dominant) community or society. 

Sculpture – Three-dimensional art made by one of four basic processes: carving, modeling, casting, constructing.  

Sculptor – An artist who makes sculptures. 

4 Elements – The ancients believed the World to be composed of 4 basic elements – Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. These were considered the critical energy forces that sustained life. 

Native Species A species indigenous to a given region or ecosystem if its presence in that region is the result of only local natural evolution. 

Characteristic – A feature or quality belonging typically to a person, place, or thing and serving to identify it. 

Supply and Demand  A theory that explains the interaction between the sellers of a resource and the buyers for that resource. 

Culture – The customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group. 

Legacy  Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past.