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Arts & Culture

Spanish Artists To Parade Creations At The Pearl

Jack Morgan
Texas Public Radio
Students Malachi Mercado and Maria Monsivais show off their creation, a cowboy made of papier-mache.

A pair of Spanish artists have been working on a big project the last two weeks in the sculpture department at the Southwest School of Art.

Credit Jack Morgan / Texas Public Radio
Joan Diaz wearing her mask of a Native American.

David Ventura and Neus Hosta are known worldwide for creating what are called cabezudos and gigantes — the oversized papier-mache heads seen marching in parades in Spain and other European countries.

"The large puppets represent a specific character. The small ones, which is just the head on a human body, those are just people in general,” said Ventura through interpreter Joann Diaz.

Diaz pointed out three papier-mache heads: a Native American, a Franciscan friar and the cowboy.


Credit Jack Morgan / Texas Public Radio
David Ventura and Neus Hosta trying on Lydia Mendoza

Those heads, he said, are generalized San Antonio characters created by students learning the complicated technique under the watchful eye of Ventura and Hosta. The Spanish teachers created two gigantes, each 10-feet tall and built on a wooden structure that fits onto a person's shoulders as they move about. As Ventura explained, both papier-mache heads and bodies are famous San Antonians Lydia Mendoza and former San Antonio Spur David Robinson.

IF YOU GO What: Cabezudos Parade Where: The Pearl When: 10 a.m. Saturday Cost: Free

Ventura said the gigantes were inspired by his time in the Alamo City.

"He's very happy that he was invited to San Antonio,” Diaz said. “He had never been here, and he really, really enjoyed it.”

The works of Ventura and Hosta, as well students and teachers of the art school, will be on display at the Pearl, during The Cabezudos Parade. The Southwest School of Art has partnered with the Guadalupe Dance Company, which will be donning the papier-mache figures.  

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org