Maria Enríquez de Allen

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Artist Statement:
Aside from a few arts & crafts classes, Maria Enríquez de Allen never had any academic art training. She loved to work with recyclable materials using plastics, metals, paper, bones, shells, wood, seeds, fabric etc. and assembling them together with “migajón de pan”, a type of homemade play-dough made from dried-up bread. One of her strengths was inventing new uses for all sorts of materials, such as using the membrane of eggshells to create flowers with it. Her work is a reflection of her upbringing as a child in a Mexican ranch and later the traditions and fiestas of towns in northern Mexico. When she moved to the United States, her introduction to the American culture created new ideas and iconography. These images she would eventually fuse with her Mexican heritage. This blend of cultural traits was highly unique to her. Although much of her creative work transcends generational, ethnic, and cultural lines, Mrs. Enríquez de Allen used religious and popular culture imagery while giving them her own signature stamp. After retirement, her joy was working every day on her work. She would dream about what she would do the next day and get up very early to start the procedures that she envisioned. When making flowers out of chicken bones, Mrs. Enríquez de Allen, would delightfully say that she wanted to “bring the bones back to life” and in essence this is what she did with all the discarded materials she recycled. Text written by, Mario Castillo
Relationship to Chicago:
• Outside of Mexico, Chicago was our hometown in the USA • Took a few arts & crafts classes in Pilsen early on • Took English classes at Howell House (now Casa Aztlan) • Elected President of Spanish Club at Howell House • Taught Arts & Crafts classes at the Halsted Urban Progress Center (HUPC) • Selected to represent Senior Citizens in a Mexican Independence Day float in parade • Created special cultural programs for the Pilsen Community in the HUPC Auditorium • Started to get invited to many exhibitions • Gave many workshops through out the Chicago area at Libraries and Cultural Centers • Started to do ofrendas for Día de los Muertos • Started to give workshops and exhibitions at colleges & universities in the Midwest • Gave Piñata workshops for schoolteachers at the MFACM • Gave Flower-making workshops for school children • Exhibited at Chicago’s Field Museum • Exhibited at the Illinois State Building • Nominated by Jose Gamaliel Gonzalez for a National Heritage Award (NEA) • Honored by Chicago Historical Society in “Just Plain Hardworking” exhibit • Gave workshop at Chicago Historical Society for “Just Plain Hardworking” • Appears in video “Just Plain Hardworking” in Channel 11 -Receives Honorable Mention in exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry • She is selected to appear in the Cooper School mosaic murals on 18th Pl, in Chicago, IL • Her house was visited every summer by student groups from both SAIC and UIC -MFACM dedicates Day of the Dead annual exhibition to her • Giselle Mercier and Jesus Macarena dedicate a Dia de los Muertos exhibit to her at Humboldt Park
Year of Birth:
Country of Origin:
Places Of Residency:
Mexico, Texas, Illinois.
Art Form:
Ceramics, Collage, Drawing, Fiber art, Illustration, Installation, Mixed Media, Painting, Sculpture Assemblage, Arts & Crafts.Assemblage and all types of Arts & Crafts.