photo from exhibit
Photo from La Virgen de Guadalupe exhibit

Institute of Texan Cultures presents La Virgen de Guadalupe photo exhibit through Dec. 19

(Sept. 23, 2004)--La Virgen de Guadalupe (the Virgin of Guadalupe) has long been revered by people on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border as a symbol transcending political, racial and gender ties. Visitors can experience this phenomenon though the photography exhibit "La Virgen de Guadalupe: La Morena Moderna," on display through Dec. 19 at the Institute of Texan Cultures lower gallery.

The exhibit by Diana Molina provides a contemporary documentary of La Virgen de Guadalupe through 25 photographs depicting La Virgen within an artistic framework, showcasing the myriad of artistic, popular and commercial presentations of her image.

In addition to her presence in indigenous and Mexican-American traditions and ceremonies, La Virgen has evolved as a transnational symbol throughout contemporary society, a symbol at such events as the Immigrant Workers Freedom ride to Capitol Hill and the canonization of St. Juan Diego in Mexico City. Additionally, this icon is now seen on day-to-day items such as clothing and banners.

"As society is affected by modern times and the role of women in Mexican and Mexican-American culture is altered, her image also reflects new perspectives, new dimensions and new conflicts," said Molina.

The story of La Virgen is based in Tepayac, Mexico City, where Mary, the mother of Jesus, appeared as an indigenous woman in a vision to Juan Diego, an Indian peasant, during winter. Upon her instruction, Juan Diego told the local Catholic bishop to build a shrine on the site where she appeared.

Dismissed by the bishop, Juan Diego returned to the site and La Virgen gave him a sign, after which he again appealed to the bishop. As soon as Juan Diego opened his mantle, red roses tumbled to the floor and a portrait of La Virgen was shown imprinted on his clothing. The bishop fell to his knees, praising God and immediately built a church on the site.

The exhibit is included with ITC admission. For more information, call 210-458-2330 or visit the Institute of Texan Cultures Web site.

--Tina Luther

University Communications
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