Manuel Valencia Chavez, Sevina, Michoácan
Manuel was born in Paracho, Michoacán, but moved to Sevina in the county of Nahuatzen when he was three years old. Manuel learned the art of carving and painting masks from his father beginning at age 13 and has been carving masks for 45 years. Manuel's father initiated maskmaking in Sevina.
Manuel has won numerous awards and concursos (judged art shows) both nationally and locally beginning in 1981. He has won the Gran Premio del Arte Popular as well as Premios Especiales in Patzcuaro and Uruapan. Most recently (2015), Manuel was admitted to the group “Tesoros Vivos de Michoacán" and is featured in the book by that name published by the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (CONACULTA). Also in 2015 he won 1st place awards in the concursos in Pátzcuaro (Día de los Muertos) and Uruapan (Semana Santa). In San Luis Potosi, his masks were exhibited in the Museo Nacional de la Máscara from 2010 - 2011. His work has also been exhibited in a gallery in San Miguel de Allende. In 1996, Manuel was 1 of 3 artisans chosen from Michoacan to travel to Italy to exhibit his work. These are just a few examples of the very long list of awards Manuel has won.
Manuel has shared his knowledge and expertise with his 21 year old son, Juan Manuel, as well as with many others. He has had a workshop in Sevina for many years where he teaches his neighbors and they produce a variety of items made of wood. In addition, he is a paid teacher in an adult school in Tzurúmutaro, a small town outside of Pátzcuaro.
Manuel approaches the art of mask-making in his own unique way. He carves them, paints them and then decorates them, as appropriate. However, he does considerable research before beginning a piece. He interviews dancers and others from many regions around Michoacán and documents his interviews to ensure that his masks are authentic to each community.
He has a long history of interest in culture and anthropology and has been the "Promotor Cultural" from Sevina since 1986. Manuel and his work has appeared in a variety of publications such as a catalogue of Purépechan masks, the previously mentioned book by CONACULTA and the video "Manos Mágicas" among others.
Hidalgo #9, Mun. Náhuatzen
452 526 6881 cellular