(Oct. 16, 2013) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio presents the work of New York artist Manny Vega in a four-month exhibit exploring Puerto Rican and African-American culture and life. Vega's artwork will be on display through Feb. 1, 2014, at the UTSA Downtown Art Gallery in Durango Building Room 1.122 on the UTSA Downtown Campus.
Free and open to all, the exhibit opening reception will be 6-9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 17 at the gallery.
Born in New York's South Bronx in 1956, Vega studied at New York City's famed High School of Art and Design. He then studied with Taller Boricua (1979-1986) and under the tutelage of Robert Blackburn (1980-1990), a legendary Harlem printmaker.
Vega is perhaps best known for his public art, which includes a series of four mosaics at the 110th Street subway station in New York City, a restored four-story mural on a building at 110th Street and Lexington Avenue, a mosaic mural at the Pregones Theater in the Bronx and a mosaic mural of Puerto Rican poet Julia De Burgos in East Harlem. He derives his inspiration, in large part, from his experiences as a Puerto Rican and the "Afro Diaspora" present in neighborhoods such as East Harlem, the South Bronx, San Juan, Havana and Brazil's Salvador, Bahia.
"Who's going to define us, if not us?" asked Vega of Puerto Rican culture, when speaking to the New York Times in 2008. "I see us as a woven cloth, you know, that each cultura is a thread that brings this cloth together... But the trick for me as a public artist and an artist is to get the audience to recognize that commonality."
Vega is known for modern-day work that mixes urban themes and classic Byzantine mosaic fabrication, a style he calls "Byzantine Hip-Hop." His unique style is inspired by Eastern European mosaics, particularly spiritual mosaic heirlooms that are passed on from one generation to the next, and draws upon New York and Puerto Rican cultures. He describes his approach as a marriage between an "old-school art form" and modern times.
Additionally, Vega's portfolio includes paintings, illustrations, prints, beadwork, and costume and set designs. His body of work explores historical, cultural and religious aspects of life, demonstrating society's interconnectedness and modern day influences.
Throughout Vega's career, he has shared his love of art through teaching. He has taught at the Guggenheim, American Museum of Natural History, Art Connection, Caribbean Cultural Center and El Museo de Barrio. The latter, located in East Harlem, focuses on Puerto Rican art and art that depicts Manhattan's Puerto Rican community.
Vega's philosophy is to help students express ideas they are already cultivating in a way that empowers their heritage, creativity and purpose. Additionally, he emphasizes the importance of being morally responsible for the impact art may have on its audience.
"Manny Vega is an impassioned storyteller," said UTSA art specialist Arturo Infante Almeida, who curated UTSA's exhibit of Vega's work. "His work is inspired by heritage and consciousness in a global community. He exhibits intricately executed works on paper that depict a rich mix of customs, culture and history."
Free and open to the public, gallery hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
To learn more, contact Arturo Almeida at 210-458-4983 or Giselle Diaz at 210-458-6964.
Robert Penn Warren said: “How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.” That is certainly true for Carmen Tafolla. An associate professor of practice with the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, Tafolla has authored more than 20 acclaimed books of poetry and prose, including "The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans." It won the Tom´s Rivera Children’s Book Award in 2009.
Tafolla is a San Antonio native who grew up on the West Side. Attending a private high school, she realized that the literature did not positively portray her community or the people who lived there. She determined to change that in her writing. In published works for both adults and children — more than 200 anthologies, magazines, journals, textbooks and readers in four languages — Tafolla reflects on the rich Mexican-American culture of San Antonio in which she grew up.
Did you know? Tafolla was San Antonio's first Poet Laureate, from 2012 to 2014, and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Texas.
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.
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.
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.
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
Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Bill Miller Plaza for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus
Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Convocation Center East Lawn, Main Campus
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.
Victor Cyrus, Jr will see his first book of poetry published this fall
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