E. Robledo

Traveling Exhibition: Mexican Roots

Masks, Prints and Traditional Arts of Mexico​

Mexican Roots, a gateway into the extraordinary world of Mexican popular art, offers a unique perspective. Uninhibited expression, vibrant colors, and a dreamy aesthetic reflect the soul and creativity within Mexican cultures and traditions. Through a diverse blend of masks, prints, and sculpture, Mexican Roots delves into the fascinating collision and fusion of European and indigenous worlds. This fusion, forming the incredibly unique Mexican folk art traditions, is a captivating journey of cultural exchange and adaptation. 

 Despite the upheavals of conquest and Christian conversion, native Mexicans have managed to maintain a strong connection to their traditions and beliefs. The fusion of European culture into their practices, mythologies, and artwork is a testament to their ability to adapt and evolve. These popular art traditions, deeply rooted in pre-Hispanic times, have been passed down through families for centuries, serving as a bridge between the past and the present. Village artists, across successive generations, continue to explore themes in Mexican popular art that resonate with those of pre-conquest times. The enduring subjects of plants, animals, mythology, and death serve as a reminder of this unbroken continuity.

As a vibrant complement and contrast to the collection of masks and prints, the exhibit presents a kaleidoscope of Mexico’s most renowned popular 3D art forms by many noted artists. Ceramics, woodcarving, and cartoneria are just a glimpse into the rich tapestry of work, each form unique in its expression and technique, yet all deeply rooted in the Mexican artistic tradition.


E. Robledo
D. Castillejos


– The tradition of Masks in Latin America

– Mexican Masks 

– Printmaking in Mexico & Oaxaca 

– Tecuanes masks of Zitlala 

– Barbones masks 

– The tastoanes of Tonala 

– Diablo masks of Michoacan 

– Alebrijes of Oaxaca 



– 1,500-2,500 sq. ft. 

– 8-10 foot minimum ceiling height recommended 

– Recommended 2 month minimum rental 


Affordable rates with transportation included; please inquire.



– Lights and barriers

– Translation of text and panels if necessary

– Equipment required for access, installation and dismantling

– Storage facilities for transport cases

– Promotion and publicity

– Staffing during exhibition run

The Tradition of Masks in Mexico and Latin America

Over 75 masks, each with a unique story, were selected to illustrate the rich tradition of masks and festivals in Mexico. These festivals, integral to Mexican religious and social life since pre-Hispanic times, are a testament to the country’s rich history. Like other popular art media, masks and festivals now contain a fascinating blend of Christian and pre-Hispanic themes and icons, reflecting the cultural evolution of Mexico. Moreover, the mask in contemporary Mexican culture has evolved beyond its traditional role, becoming a popular art subject increasingly admired outside of festivals and ceremonies. Mexican Roots also explores the mask as an art form, presenting powerful examples of wood, clay, and Cartoneria (paper mache) from some of Mexico’s leading artists, who continue to honor and preserve this rich tradition.

Mexican Roots
Mexican Roots
Printmaking in Mexico

One of the most unique aspects of Mexican Roots is the combination of prints with popular art. Prints, often overlooked as popular art, are in fact the epitome of it. In Mexico, prints have a rich history as’ art for the people,’ a testament to their accessibility and inclusivity. Printmakers such as Jose Guadalupe Posada and Manuel Manilla gained widespread recognition for their work in penny papers, further cementing the connection between art and the masses.

Alongside the historic prints, the exhibit offers a fascinating exploration by contemporary printmakers. These artists delve into the profound European impact on Mexico’s indigenous cultures. Their depictions of masks, nature, and religion serve as a visual testament to this ongoing cultural conversation.

Mexican Roots
Mexican Roots
D. Barraza
Mexican Roots
E. Robledo
The Tastoanes of Tonala

The fiesta de Santo Santiago, a unique celebration, is observed in various Mexican states. The most renowned festivities take place in the city of Tonala, just outside Guadalajara. 

The venerated Saint James, also known as Santo Santiago, symbolizes the conquest of Spain and Christianity over the indigenous people (Tastoanes). However, the celebration has evolved to incorporate the narrative of the bravery and hardships endured by the native population during the Spanish colonization.

During the fiesta, a mock battle occurs in which St. James uses a whip against the Tastoanes. He is killed or captured, then revived. Eventually, he triumphs over the Tastoanes.

The Tastoanes masks, with their painted spots and insects, hold a profound symbolic significance. They represent not only the ferocity of the natives but also the devastating impact of the smallpox and plagues brought by the Europeans, a poignant reminder of the historical context.

Mexican Roots
E. Uribe
Mexican Roots

Video by Alejandro Basan

Mexican Roots
A. Basan
Mexican Roots
Mexico's Indigenous "surrealism"

When outsiders view Mexican art it may seem surrealistic or be categorized as “magical realism”. These qualities in Mexican work do not originate as much from any art movement as from the history of Mexico itself. 

The depictions of the natural world, plants, animals, death, etc. stem from common themes of pre-Hispanic times. The collision of multiple cultures and religions has fused into a uniquely Mexican art world that may seem strange or exotic to those unfamiliar with it. 

Mexican Roots
D. Castillejos
E. Robledo
A. Basan
Mexican Roots
G. Morac
Mexican Roots
Mexican Roots
Mexican Roots
A. Basan
Mexican Roots
Featured Artists


– Jacabo & Maria Angeles

– J. Castro

– Eliseo Garcia

– Juan Horta

– Felipe Horta

– Norberto Lucano 

– Rafael Mesa Oliva

– Gerardo Ortega 

– Hugo Horta Romas

– Martin Salgado 



– Santiago Luis Arturo 

– Daniel Barraza

– Alejandro Basan 

– Dario Castillejos 

– Silverio Herrera

– Alvaro Medina

– Gabriela Morac

– Amarildo Olmedo

– Eduardo Robledo

– Adrian Amarildo Olmedo Sanchez

– Jose Silverio


– David Hernandez Workshop

– Laura Hernandez

– Leticia Hernandez

– Jose Ortega

– Margarita Santiago

– Elisa Uribe

– Carlos Zurc

– Pedro Linares

– Miguel Linares

-Recardo Linares

– Ignacio Rojas

– Carlomango Pedro Martinez

– Cecilio Sanchez Fierro



– Up to 80 traditional & contemporary Mexican masks

– Up to 35 contemporary Mexican prints

– Up to 30 traditional and contemporary 3D works

– Up to 6 display cases


Gaston Design specializes in paleontology restorations, & traveling exhibits. Gaston Design Inc (GDI) was created in 1996, after founder Robert Gaston discovered the dinosaur Gastonia, named in his honor. Over the last 25 years GDI has reconstructed many newly discovered dinosaur skeletons for leading paleontological institutions. Since 2017, GDI has expanded beyond paleontology work producing cultural and natural history traveling exhibits . 


Gaston Design Inc (GDI) specializes in the restoration, molding, and casting of fossil skeletons, as well as gift shop lines of smaller paleontological replicas (teeth, claws, skulls, etc.). In addition to cast replicas, Gaston Design offers museum services such as skeleton mounting, exhibit design and construction, and traveling exhibits.


Gaston Design Inc’s works is on display, or in the collections and gift shops of many museums world-wide. Some of these include the following;

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Utah Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian Institution

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The National Museum of Science, Tokyo, Japan

The Field Museum, Chicago, IL

Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario, Canada

Museo Del Desierto, Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico

American Museum of Natural History

Mexican Roots
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Email – gastondesigninc@gmail.com

Phone – 970.858.4785

Located in – Fruita, Colorado U.S.A