(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.
Put on drunk goggles and navigate a pedal cart at the U in the Driver Seat Alcohol Awareness event, hosted by UTSA PD and Sigma Lambda Gamma.
Sombrilla Plaza, Main Campus
The UTSA Honors College hosts a sneak CineFestival preview of the documentary Somos Lengua, a new documentary about the Mexican hip hop scene. Jim Mendiola, the CineFestival Director, will screen the movie and present a festival overview.
University Center, Bexar Room (UC 1.102), Main Campus
Grab your friends, family, kids and dog for this annual fun run on the UTSA Main Campus benefititng the UTSA Alumni Association.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
Join the Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching for the 13th annual Storytelling Festival. The festival will feature keynote speaker Carolina Quiroga-Stultz, a Colombian Storyteller and journalist. This event is free and open to the public.
Main Building, ground floor, Main Campus
The IDS Colloquium showcases the excellent scholarship done by the IDS students in the College of Education and Human Development at UTSA. In addition, this event also honors the legacy of Dr. Marian Martinello.
Business Building, University Room (BB 2.06.04), Main Campus
The Department of Biology and the Be the Match Team will collaborate to engage and educate our students in the importance of a life saving donation through peripheral blood stem cells and a marrow harvest.
UC Paseo and Central Plaza, Main Campus
UTSA welcomes the Italian-born duo Bandini-Chiacchiaretta. They've toured the world performing Argentine Tango music on guitar and bandoneon, the instrument of Astor Piazzolla. Tickets are $10 or free with UTSA Student I.D.
Arts Building, Recital Hall (ARTS 2.03.02), Main Campus
This an annual event is open to any student who wants to participate It includes a presentation about current events and issues involving East Asia. This event is meant to deepen understanding and to raise awareness of what is currently happening in East Asia.
Business Building, University Room (BB 2.06.04), Main Campus
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.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.