Handcarved Wood Dance Masks
Gorgonio Candelario Castro is the son of the renowned Herminio Candelario Dolores from Suchitlán, Colima. Herminio passed away some years ago and Georgonio has followed in his father's footsteps, hand carving wooden masks of unusual quality.
This family has deep roots in the state of Colima, Mexico, where they have lived in the village where both father and son were born, the ejido of Suchitlán (communal land shared by the people of the community).
A farmer out of necessity and a mask maker out of desire, Gorgonio clings tightly to the traditions of his people, the land and the spirits which inhabit it. His passion for the various dances and ceremonies native to his comjnity, some of them in an irreversible process of extinction, was inherited from his father and his grandfather, don Basilio. If these customs remain alive, it is due to the effort that this family has expended in promoting the formation of groups of young dancers, implanting in them the desire to preserve the traditional fiestas, both religious and profane, that characterize the village of Suchitlán..
Gorgonio's father specialized in the masks used in the dance of the Morenos which includes the representation of pairs of animals that dance to distract the Roman centurions who stand guard at Christ's tomb, the object being to enter and revive Him.
With the masks, the dancers hide their faces and take on those of tecolote owls, goats, burros or roosters; the malicious visage of a demon from a Christmas pageant, with great horns and a pointy bear; the mocking and festive expression of a bartolo or one of the other regal, energetic characters that distinguish the dance troupe.
Whether morenos or mojocuanes, roosters or tlalcoyotes, demons or bartolos, the personages emerge from the masks as if by some magic that resides in the skillful hands of Georgonio. All of them elaborated with energy and a knowledge of the traditions of Colima, a talent that has won his father recognition far outside the borders of the state. In 1995, Herminio was awarded a grant with which to establish a workshop for instructing young people as well as for his own artistic production by PACMYC (Programs de Apoyo a las Culturas Municipales y Comunitarias).