Viejo o adolescente, criollo o mestizo, general, obrero o licenciado, el mexicano se me aparece como un ser que encierra y se preserva: máscara el rostro y máscara la sonrisa.

The Mexican, whether young or old, criollo o mestizo, general or labourer or lawyer, seems to me to be a person who shuts himself away to protect himself:  his face is a mask and so is his smile.

These are the words that start the essay’Mexican Masks’ (máscaras mexicanas) in Octavio Paz‘s renowned book ‘The Labyrinth of Solitude’ (El Laberinto de la Soledad).

Ostensibly, poles of the gamut of human emotion, what do these Mexican masks hide?

musico triste

Accordionist in Colonia Juarez

pareja contenta

Couple on bicycle in Colonia Xochimilco

Peter W Davies

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