Hugo Ximello-Salido’s playful yet poignant works seamlessly incorporate ancient and colonial Mexican tradition within a contemporary practice. Throughout his illustrious oeuvre, Ximello-Salido’s compositions often embody the spirit of “La Catrina,” or “elegant skull,” a time-honored Mexican cultural symbol and the inspiration for both traditional and contemporary Mexican art. Along with La Catrina, Ximello-Salido also incorporates ancient Mexican techniques such as Talavera painting, as well as many references to the Day of the Dead festival. The artist explains: “By creating my original artworks with Mexican folklore and daily experiences, I am able to bridge the gap between past and present as a modern Mexican artist.”
In Catrina Esmeralda (2017), the artist utilizes acrylic and ink on canvas to compose a jovial profile of the La Catrina skull upon a background ornamented in luminous gold. Here, Ximello-Salido adorns his Catrina in bright crimson lipstick, emerald eye sockets, and violet rouge that dusts her cheeks, while her jaw gapes open in a coy grin. In works such as Si Se Puede (2017), Ximello-Salido’s Catrina embodies the iconic 1942 Rosie the Riveter painting, yet dons delicate patterns across her bones and an extravagant floral headpiece. Ximello-Salido’s works are at once celebratory and reverent of tradition both past and present.