Gabriela Marván 

Viroqua, Wisconsin

Marván Folk Art is a wife and husband team of cartoneros (artists of papier-mâché). An encounter of two different cultures:  Gabriela Marván, cartonera and graphic artist from Cuernavaca “the eternal spring city,” Mexico, and Ryan Rothweiler, muralist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

They experience the sublime sensation of creating sculptures through a traditional technique: cartonería (coming to Mexico from Spain in the 16th Century). They use structures of wire, reed frame, or clay molds followed by layers of paper. Cartonería’s texture is smoother and stronger than that of most papier-mâché. Cartonería comes from the word cartón, which means cardboard or heavy paper. One of the foremost celebrations nowadays in Mexico is Day of the Dead, the celebration where the dead are honored and remembered. Artists of paper (cartoneros) create Catrinas (dressed skeleton ladies), skulls, and skeletons to decorate streets, museums, or cultural places from October 31 to November 2.

Ryan and Gabriela created the Folk Art Collective, a cultural connection with artists and artisans from Mexico that they had met before Gabriela moved to the USA.

“I moved to Viroqua in 2019, bringing Mexico with me through my art and  now through my artist friends’ art. I love the idea of  preserving and sharing part of my culture, working with tradition while creating my own style in colorful sculptures of recycled paper that becomes a Catrina, a skull, or a Judas (decorated devil). Behind each of these sculptures there is a story and meaning of motion, a connection with nature, in the tradition of colorful Mexican folk art. I want to touch your heart through my art, making you feel like we are connected.” – Gabriela Marván

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