E. Robledo

Traveling Exhibition: Mexican Roots

Masks, Prints and Traditional Arts of Mexico​

Emphasizing Mexican masks and relief prints, this exhibit explores the thread of similarities that can be traced through the diversity of traditional Mexican artwork.

The popular art of Mexico runs like a river through time, recording and connecting its history, people, culture, and religion. Indigenous and traditional themes continue to surface in contemporary popular artwork of all media, including masks and prints. From the pre-Hispanic worlds of animals, plants and the cycle of life and death to Christian devils and saints, Mexican history has forged an unlikely combination of imagery. The co-existence and tension of these two worlds gives Mexican popular art its wonderfully unique visual power.

In some cases, the modernization of rural Mexico has led to an erosion of traditional mask making and the associated dances.

Recently, however, greater cultural awareness and changing attitudes toward indigenous and rural traditions are leading to a resurgence in artistic mask making. While continuing traditional themes, contemporary artists are reaching beyond the masks’ traditional role, creating work both to accompany dances and to appeal to collectors.

Through the visions of contemporary printmakers, the exhibit looks at the bonds between prints, masks, and popular art. For over 150 years Mexican printmaking and popular art have shared audiences and mutual influence. Today themes of masks, indigenous history, and traditional life are as strong as ever in Mexican print work creating an unmistakable connection between these diverse media..

E. Robledo
D. Castillejos


– The tradition of Masks in Latin America

– Mexican Masks 

– Printmaking in Mexico & Oaxaca 

– Taquanes 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

Rituals, dances, and festivals incorporating masks are a longstanding tradition in Latin America. The root source of these date back to pre-Columbian times. While festivals using masks are still practiced in Europe, it is undoubtedly indigenous cultural traditions that account for the prevalence of masks from Bolivia to Mexico.

Combining the existing traditions of Indigenous and European Christian themes has further reflected this mix of culture with dances and ceremonies throughout Latin America.

Mexican Roots
Mexican Roots
Printmaking in Oaxaca

While the printmaking tradition has always been strong in Mexico, artists such as Posada immediately come to mind, the city of Oaxaca has enjoyed a renaissance in the art. Relief prints such as woodcuts are the most common, and many of the themes center around traditional culture and social protest. In addition to fine art, prints are often intended as public “street” art and can be seen applied to buildings around the city.

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

The “fiesta de Santo Santiago” is celebrated in several Mexican states. The largest and most famous celebration occurs in the city of Tonala outside Guadalajara. 

The revered Saint James or “Santo Santiago” represents the triumph of Spain and Christianity over the native people (Tastoanes). However, the celebration has become infused with the story of the courage and suffering of the indigenous population at the hands of the Spanish.

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 represent the ferocity of the natives. The painted spots and insects are symbolic of the smallpox and plagues brought by the Europeans.

Mexican Roots
E. Uribe
Mexican Roots
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
Mexican Roots
Mexican Roots
Mexican Roots
A. Basan
Mexican Roots

Check out the Fiesta de los Tastoanes

Video by Alejandro Basan

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



– 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
Download PDF

Contact Us 

Email – gastondesigninc@gmail.com

Phone – 970.858.4785

Located in – Fruita, Colorado U.S.A