Curator: Mariah Sacoman

Click on objects to see image


solated from their families and communities for long periods of time, inmates craft paños as gifts to mail from prison. Sentimental images or portraits of those close to the artists help maintain bonds of family, love or friendship. Paño artists also recall their life in the barrio (neighborhood), showing landmarks or people they knew well on the outside.

Paños can function much the way valentines do, using words, symbols and pictures to communicate love. Paños made for wives or girlfriends often express romantic love. Paños for children might include cartoon characters and popular culture figures. Mothers, aunts and grandmothers often received paños with images of Catholic saints, the Virgin of Guadalupe and Christ.


©1997 Museum of International
Folk Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico