Courtesy of Centro Cultural Aztlán
As legend has it, la Virgen de Guadalupe made her first miraculous appearance to the indigenous peasant Cuauhtlatohuac (better known as Juan Diego, who was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002) on a hillside outside present-day Mexico City on December 9, 1531. She wanted a shrine erected in her honor, but Juan Diego needed proof of her existence to sell the idea to archbishop Juan de Zumárraga. That proof arrived in form of her image on Juan Diego’s cloak — allegedly imprinted by roses he collected at her request — which still hangs over the altar of the Basilica of Guadalupe, an iconic church and pilgrimage site that draws millions of visitors each year. Dubbed the Empress of the Americas, the Patron Saint of Mexico and Our Lady of Guadalupe, this dark-skinned, Nahuatl-speaking interpretation of the Virgin Mary goes far beyond the confines of Catholicism, as she also inspires patriotism, champions the underdog and represents the complicated blending of Aztec and Spanish heritage.
A tradition for 23 years and counting, the grassroots arts organization Centro Cultural Aztlán’s annual group show “Celebración a la Virgen de Guadalupe” proudly showcases “a myriad of artistic representations” of the Latin American icon created by a broad cross section of local artists working between acrylic, watercolor, pastels, sculpture, jewelry and folk art. Besides tributes by more than 40 local artists (Henry De Leon, Gricelda Nill, Bernice B. Appelin-Williams, David Blancas, Esther Guajardo, Guadalupe “Spike” Muñoz and Israel Rico to name but a few), the exhibition comes to light with an opening reception featuring an artisanal market stocked with giftable wares and live music by El Tallercito de Son, not to mention “traditional treats like tamales, buñuelos, champurrado y mas!”
Free, Wed Dec. 12, 6-9pm, Centro Cultural Aztlán, 1800 Fredericksburg Rd., Suite 103, (210) 432-1896, centroaztlan.org.
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