"El Sur Pacific -- 1945," woodcut by Luis Valderas

UTSA's ITC hosts exhibit inspired by WWII stories

By Tim Brownlee
Assistant Director of Public Affairs

(Jan. 13, 2009)--UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures presents the exhibit, "El Sur Pacific -- 1945," through March 29 at the museum. As part of the Texas Contemporary Artists Series, the exhibition features 12 pieces including an inlaid woodcut by Luis Valderas, whose work was inspired by the World War II service in the South Pacific of his father, Horacio Valderas.

"Born and raised deep in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, Luis Valderas is a prolific native son whose work frequently includes references to both modern and ancient cultural roots," said Arturo Almeida, exhibit curator and UTSA art specialist. "In an ever-growing and evolving body of work, his contemporary narratives, inimitably expressed through a filter of Meso-American myth and iconography, chronicle the Chicano experience on the borderlands and beyond."

>> An opening reception, hosted by UTSA President Ricardo Romo and Dr. Harriett Romo, is 6-9 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 15 at the museum. The event is free and open to the public.

"Drafted at age 33, like many Mexican-Americans, my father proudly served his country in the South Pacific during World War II," said Valderas. "The glimpse of the war that he provided for my brothers and me was a very personal one, full of anecdotes and repeated 'cuentos' (stories, tall tales) about his tour of duty and his final return to the states."

The exhibit works were inspired by stories told by Horacio Valderas about his comrades, the brutality of war and a typhoon at sea with mountainous waves. The experiences helped the soldiers accept and embrace death as part of life.

UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures is at 801 S. Bowie St. (at Durango Boulevard) in HemisFair Park. Exhibit viewing hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, and noon-5 p.m., Sunday. Admission to the exhibit is free with museum admission (free for members and those with a UTSACard), $4 (ages 3-12), $7 (adults), $4 (seniors age 65 and older) and $4 (military with ID). Free parking is available to museum guests in the parking lot in front of the museum, accessible from Durango Boulevard.

For more information, visit the Institute of Texan Cultures Web site or call (210) 458-2330.

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