Alebrijes (hand-carved animals & creatures)
It wasn't until the 1980's that the demand for Oaxacan wood carvings became popular. In 1992, the Smithsonian featured well-known Oaxacan carvers. American folk art dealers flocked to Oaxaca to begin their collections of these works of art. Painted woodcarving is a major art form and source of income for three pueblos near Oaxaca City.
Zeny Fuentes is a Zapoteca Indian and fourth generation woodcarver from San Martin Tilcajete, Oaxaca, Mexico. He began carving when he was seven years old, taught by his father, Epifanio Fuentes who is considered the most famous carver in San Martin Tilcajete. Zeny has established his own reputation through his unique carving techniques. He prefers to paint his own figures and continues the tradition in the family workshop where he creates art with his wife, Reyna Piña Ramires, and their four children, Fatima, Laura, Mary Guadalupe , and Zenen.
Zeny has demonstrated and exhibited his carving process in numerous museums, galleries, schools and educational conferences throughout the United States and Mexico. As Zeny and Reyna's renown gre, the Walt Disney Company commissioned a number of special pieces to be put on display at Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida. Zeny won a first place award at Enart, San Pedro Tlaquepaque 2012 and at Galardón Oaxaca 2012 with his Wild Bull.