Sunday, August 02, 2015

Institute of Texan Cultures hosts oral history, Dia de los Muertos exhibits

old photo

Photo courtesy of Otis Aultman Collection, El Paso Public Library, "A mother and her child flee the Mexican Revolution," circa 1910-1920

Share this Story

(Nov. 3, 2010)--The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures will present the exhibit, "Leaving Home, Finding Home: Texas Families Remember the Mexican Revolution." Driven by powerful oral histories, it's an exhibit with no artifacts because the families that escaped the Mexican Revolution often fled with only the clothes on their backs. On display from Nov. 6 to May 1, the exhibit looks at family triumphs, challenges and achievements.

In honor of Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) commemorations, there will be an accompanying exhibit, "Soldadera: Mociuaquetzque de la Revolucion Mexicana (Valiant Women of the Mexican Revolution)," featuring an altar created by San Antonio artist Frances Marie Herrera.

The Mexican Revolution of 1910 set in motion dramatic changes for many families, both in Mexico and Texas. "Leaving Home, Finding Home" explores the turmoil and social upheaval that caused thousands of Mexicans to flee their homeland and seek a new life in Texas.

Coordinated by Lupita Barrera, ITC director of education and interpretation, the exhibit includes seven video screens featuring interviews. Texans whose families immigrated during the revolution and through its aftermath share stories passed down via photos, objects and oral histories. Family members explain in their own words the difficulties and achievements as they blended their Mexican heritage into their new Texas home.

"Several generations have passed since the revolution," said Rhett Rushing, ITC oral history program coordinator. "The memories may have faded, but these stories that latch on to our emotions are the ones we can't forget."

Over the summer, Rushing and UTSA faculty and graduate students identified families across the state whose ancestors fled the revolution. Some descendants are prominent government officials, business professionals and philanthropists, and others come from everyday families -- but all are united by the events of the revolution.

"Soldadera: Mociuaquetzque de la Revolucion Mexicana (Valiant Women of the Mexican Revolution)" features an altar with photographs and three-dimensional objects selected by the artist and curated by Arturo Almeida, art specialist and curator of the UTSA Art Collection.

According to Almeida, the Dia de los Muertos commemorations Nov. 1-2 honor the memory of revered ancestors and are rooted in ancient traditions. Among some Mesoamerica cultures, life and death were each viewed as one aspect of a sacred duality that structured the universe. Modern celebrations coincide with the Roman Catholic Church feasts of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. Altars built in memory of the dead often are adorned with food, flowers and candles and perfumed with incense.

"The ancestral thread connecting us to our past continues to be spun in the present," said artist Herrera. "By acknowledging who we have been, we pay homage to these venerated ancestors. The altar honors the brave women of the Mexican Revolution and the goddess mythology of our pre-conquest roots. The seeds sown by these valiant women emboldened a generation of political and social activism enabling our women to became leaders and agents of change for peace and justice.


The Institute of Texan Cultures is on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. Durango Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Regular hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m., Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults (ages 12-64); $7 for seniors (ages 65+); $6 for children (ages 3-11); free with membership, UTSA or Alamo Colleges identification. For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit


Frances Marie Herrera was born and raised in San Antonio and is a mixed-media artist who specializes in Day of the Dead altars (altares). Venues for her work include Galeria de La Raza, San Francisco, and these venues in San Antonio: Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, Upstart Gallery (Jump-Start Theatre), Centro Cultural Aztlan, Frida Kahlo Gallery (Instituto de Mexico) and Casa Margarita.

Herrera has been a member of several Aztec dance groups: Grupo Xitlalli, resident company, Mission Cultural Center; Grupo Xipe Totec, San Francisco; Grupo Huehuecoyotl, San Antonio. She has collaborated with artist Diana Rodriguez-Gil on performance pieces for Jump-Start Theatre and author Sandra Cisneros at Esperanza Peace and Justice Center.

Herrera has been a licensed attorney and counselor at law for 27 years and recently was appointed county magistrate judge.



Did You Know?

UTSA researcher is a star behind the cloud

A revolution in cloud computing is underway, and Ravi Sandhu believes it will be much bigger than the PC and Internet revolutions that have already changed the way we live. Sandhu, director of the UTSA Institute for Cyber Security, says UTSA is taking a leadership role in tackling three fundamental cloud technology problems: how to build and operate the cloud, how to use it profitably for diverse applications and how to keep it secure.

Sandhu, the Lutcher Brown Distinguished Chair in Cyber Security in the College of Sciences, and Ram Krishnan, assistant professor of electrical engineering in the UTSA College of Engineering, are funded by a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to improve cloud security.

Did you know? Sandhu, a world-renowned cybersecurity expert, holds 30 patents, has authored more than 250 papers and been cited more than 30,000 times.

Read More »
Aug. 1, 9 p.m.

"Inside Peace" documentary screening

This documentary, presented by the San Antonio Film Festival, documents the experience of re-entry after incarceration. The film features Michael Gilbert, associate professor in the department of criminal justice and director of the Office of Community and Restorative Justice program at UTSA.
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle

Aug. 4, 6 - 8 p.m.

Free Teacher Tuesday: Los Tejanos Workshop

Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 6, 5 - 7 p,m,; 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

6th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium

This annual symposium is an opportunity to discuss Texas higher education issues and trends with Texas higher education scholars, state and local government officials, students, and campus and local community members.
Downtown Campus

Aug. 9, 12 - 5 p.m.

Vaquerocation 2015

This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 17, 11:30 p.m.

Midnight Light

Join President Ricardo Romo, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band, students, faculty and staff to light the monument at the Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight.
John Peace Boulevard Entrance, Main Campus

Aug. 18, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Plaza

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Bill Miller Plaza for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus

Aug. 18, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Lawn

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Convocation Center East Lawn, Main Campus

Aug. 22, 6 p.m.

UTSA Alumni Gala

The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.

Other Calendars
» UTSA Events | » Academic | » Institute of Texan Cultures

Submit an Event

Meet a Roadrunner

Julian Acosta '12 is a musician with business cred

After graduation, Queretaro native founded a music label recognized by SXSW

UTSA's Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA's Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA's Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

Connect with UTSA News


Related Links

Back to Top