Mojigangas for everyone

Hermes Arroyo

Hermes Arroyo

Hermes Arroyo

By Karla Ortiz

Hermes Arroyo is a recognized artist from San Miguel better known for his sculptures made from cardboard and for giving life¾along with other artists like Genaro Almanza¾to the town and its celebrations with the famous mojigangas that fill all kinds of events from religious to weddings to private parties with color

And to do all of this, how did he learn to make these giant puppets? At the age of seven, Hermes was already working in the workshop of artist and traditionalist Genaro Almanza, a sculptor who was dedicated to religious work with the “santos” and his technique in cardboard which allowed him to make the Corpus Christi masks for the celebration of San Antonio and pass the knowledge to little Hermes.

Genaro Almanza worked with groups of children and, far from asking them for help, he wanted to teach them the technique so that in the future they would continue the tradition with the cardboard technique.

He saw the interest and talent in each child, including Hermes Arroyo, a boy who became interested in and fell in love with that work.

Years later Hermes decided to start his own business, creating his own projects to express another type of imagery. “The teaching that Genaro left in me was not only how to make cardboard sculptures. He also transmitted the spirit of teaching and spreading the passion for this technique to future generations.”

Following that spirit, every year Hermes gives workshops at his home for children and adults. “Anyone interested in this art can attend.”

Hermes is considered a hard worker, and despite so much recognition that people want to give him, all he cares about is to continue to grow professionally and as a person.

Throughout his career, he has faced many challenges, one of which has been the competition he has. But he says: “I don’t say I will do this; I say let’s do it.” He takes the best from his colleagues to transform him by learning and being a better sculptor.

Because of his work, Hermes was selected to present a nativity scene made of cardboard to the Vatican Museum, where he had the opportunity to show his work to Pope Francis. “This was the best prize I could receive for my work, and I take a lot of pride in that.” He hopes to soon open a store in his house so he can take care of both the workshop and the store. “I never liked to exhibit what I do in a gallery,” he stated. He also hopes to be able to count on the support of the government and on the nativity scene that will be installed in Centro for the holidays and to continue with the mojiganga tradition so, as he says, there could be “Mojigangas for all, mojigangas for those who have it all, and for those who haven’t.”


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