About Galeria Olinala Puerto Vallarta
Mexican Masks Gallery in Puerto Vallarta
Galeria Olinala in Puerto Vallarta opened its doors in 1978 with the
intention of exhibiting art and objects from Mexico's rich indigenous
heritage. Olinala is the name of a mountainous Nahuatl village in north
eastern Guerrero with a rich lacquer tradition and use of dance masks.
The gallery was the first place in town to show lacquer ware from Olinala
and Huichol art from the Sierra Madre mountains of Jalisco. Today both
of these art forms have suffered from mass commercialization and for the
most part have acquired a souvenir quality. Therefore, for the past 14
years, the focus of the gallery has been on vintage dance masks from
villages around Mexico, outsider art, found objects, and rural antiques.
Most of the things we collect were not made with a commercial end in
mind and reflect a deep human touch. Masks are made for ethnographic
utilitarian purposes as well as old pottery, ladders, doors, boats, etc.
The collection has an unusual ambience to it and the objects can
transform ordinary common living spaces.
Galeria Olinala has always existed in the same old two story space on
Lazaro Cardenas street in la colonia Emiliano Zapata near the Cuale river
and in fact was the first business on the street. The building with its old
walls, tile roof, and hand hewn wooden beams is a perfect house for
what we collect. The gallery was featured in the September 2005
Architectural Digest under the Discovery by Designers section by request
of Ron Mann. We are interested in the primitive essence that is at the
core of Mexico and how it remains vital in the contemporary world.