(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.
The UTSA community welcomes students to their on-campus home! Laurel Village, Chaparral Village and Alvarez Hall are home for 2,300 students during the academic year, and Move-In event kicks off the start of Roadrunner Days.
Laurel Village, Chaparral Village, Alvarez Hall, Main Campus
The College of Engineering hosts this seminar featuring Jeff Adams, Southwest Zone Quality Manager, Siemens Building Technologies Division. The event is free and open to the public.
Engineering Building (EB 3.04.30), Main Campus
This is a terrific opportunity for incoming transfer students to network with staff that serve our veteran, non-traditional, and transferring students, as well as meet transfer peer mentors who can help answer questions about UTSA.
Main Building ground floor lobby, Main Campus
After a day full of moving and getting settled into their new UTSA home, students and their families can have some refreshments and snacks at the Welcome Back Reception. The event tops off with the premiere performance of the Spirit of San Antonio, UTSA's Marching Band.
University Center Paseo, Main Campus
Can you survive the library wilderness? As a part of Roadrunner Days, UTSA Libraries is hosting a mobile adventure for you to play and find out more about the library!
John Peace Library, 2nd floor, Main Campus
Come meet your UTSA Volleyball Team as they gear up for the 2017 season! The game begins at 5 p.m. then the team will hold an autograph and photo session after the game.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
This engaging discussion pulls back the covers on hooking up, clarifying when it’s actually sexual violence and how bystanders can protect potential victims from predators.
University Center, Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), Main Campus
Late Night at the Rec is an awesome UTSA tradition that transforms a standard information session into an exciting night of fun. At this annual event, you’ll be able to learn about our facilities, recreation programs, and wellness services offered at Main and Downtown Campuses.
Recreation and Wellness Center, 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.
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