Mexican Folk Art: Brian Barabe’s Collection

Brian Barabe is an active member of the Xico board of directors, a semi-retired Spanish teacher and a community advocate. He also has an extensive collection of Mexican art. We are excited to share a few photos and stories from Brian’s amazing collection with you today (and we hope to feature more of the private art collections in the area soon). Photo credits go, as always, to the amazing Kelly Peterson. It was on a trip to Mexico in 1987  that Brian met Rafael Garcia Gonzales in Pátzcuaro. Rafael is a painter who uses paint and gold leaf to decorate

copper objects. Brian also met Felipe Horta Tera, a maskmaker, on that same trip. Since 1992, these two have spent a month in Arizona with Brian selling their artwork. Brian has also developed a successful business, ( importing and selling Mexican art. But he doesn’t sell all the pieces that he finds, and the photos below show just a few of the pieces Brian has been moved to collect over the years. Click any of the images for a larger view.

Lupitas are ceramic dolls that represent traditional aspects of Mexican life, this one carries Pan Dulce, a sweet treat

A copper vase painted by Rafael Garcia Gonzales, Brian helped to design the images on the vase

This Catrina is selling birds from the cage on her back, a common sight in Mexican markets

This gentleman calaca is the male counterpart to La Catrina

A Nagual is a shape-shifter, a bull with a human head.

Nopales are familiar sights to both Arizonans and Mexicans

The frog on this devil mask represents it's life force, the mask was created by Felipe Horta Tera.

This giraffe is an example of the bright, and fanciful animals that are hand-carved and painted in Oaxaca

A wall of colorful lizards

This elegant Catrina was created by Juan Torres

This mask by Felipe Horta Tera shows life and death in one.

A colorful gallo from the Oaxaca region of Mexico