Chicago art

Enjoy Giant Sculptures While You Shop at North Riverside Park Mall

Thanks to a partnership with the Mexican Cultural Center of DuPage, the mall is hosting Mexican artists and their giant paper mache sculptures.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Artwork like this is not something you normally see at a mall. And not only do visitors at North Riverside Park Mall get to enjoy giant paper mache sculptures, they get to see the artists in action.

"People are asking where did [the sculptures] come from, what are they made of, who are you," said artist Edgar Camargo, through an interpreter. "He said, 'especially the children; they ask a lot of questions.'"

The exhibition is called "Cartoneria," which means people who work with cardboard. It’s a Mexican tradition using paper mache. The sculptures were originally mounted last summer at Cantigny Park in Wheaton.

Jeanne Heller, North Riverside Park Mall’s marketing director, saw the exhibition and wanted to bring it there.

"We thought we were getting the full exhibition, and then we got a surprise, because they were outside for six months and then they were stored," Heller said.

"They were in bad shape," said Fernando Ramirez, president of the Mexican Cultural Center of DuPage. "But once we talked a little bit about it, and said, 'Hey, there might be an opportunity here; we might be able to get some of the artists back here and have them build.' We noticed at the park, people loved that part."

So the mall invited the community to help the artists restore the sculptures, and in turn, the kids learned a little something about the artform.

Camargo’s interpreter says, "As a matter of fact, Jonas the whale is no longer his, since the people in the community helped restore it. He feels like it’s become the people's whale."

"Cartoneria" will be on display at North Riverside Park Mall through May 7.

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