About the Masks

Zarco Guerrero

Sculptor, maskmaker and performance artist (b. Mesa, AZ)
Has dedicated his artistic endeavors to create positive social change through the arts.

He adopted Cesar Chavez ideology of art as a social service.
His art includes music, poetry and theater. He is the founder of Xicanindio Artes (now Xico, Inc.), the Cultural Coalition, Inc, and has been instrumental in the development of Latino Arts statewide.

He has exhibited and received international acclaim and many prestigious awards. In 1985 PBS broadcast a one hour documentary about his art entitled “The Mask of El Zarco”. He received the Japan Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Arizona Governors Arts Award, the Artistic Excellence Award from American Hispanics in Higher Education and the Esperanza Teacher of the Year Award among many others.

He also won the 2012 Zony Award for his ground breaking work as a mask maker in Childsplay’s 2011 production of “The Sun Serpent.” He is the recipient of a Doris Duke Foundation grant to present theater to Latino communities in Arizona. In 2015 he was recognized as a Master by the Southwest Folklife Alliance. The New Times named him “Best Storyteller” in 2016. In 2017 he was chosen to design the Light Rail Station at Baseline and Central Avenues in Phoenix.



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This mask is an artistic interpretation of a very common Mexican image seen through history in Meso American Art.

carved wood, painted with acrylics, 2014

Calaca Sol

The Calaca (skull) in Mexico is also referred to as Mikiztli [mee-keesh-tlee} which symbolizes transcendence from this life to a higher consciousness level. Calaca Sol pays homage to the power of the Sun’s energy that is both the giver and taker of life itself. This piece served as the three dimensional banner for 10 years at the Annual Mikiztli Celebrations in Phoenix

carved wood and mixed media, 2006


A play on the word Bruja or witch. This mask was a central character in a dance opera written by Zarco Guerrero and performed by Arizona State University Theater Department. It has 3 eyes to look deeper into people’s minds, in order to influence their thoughts and actions to achieve her sinister goals.

wood, 1990

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Calaca Brillante

This piece is a three dimensional banner for many festiivals and Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations in Arizona.

cast resin and mixed media, 2010