The Brownsville Museum of Fine Art kicked off a multi-exhibit event on Wednesday where three artists from Texas are showcasing their work for the community.
The opening marks the first reception celebration the museum has hosted after more than one year due to COVID-19.
Gaby Rico, an artist who resides in Edinburg and a Reynosa native, is showing her exhibit “Indivisible.” She said she is a self-taught artist and became interested in the arts when she attended elementary school. She remembers going through the art books and seeing different paintings from artists from all over the world.
“I have my very first painting in this exhibit and I also have a piece that I only work on it on my birthday, so I’ve been working on that piece for 12 years,” she said.
“I just try to get a lot of time to work on my art. Some people think that painting is just having fun, but actually working on an exhibition is hard work.”
Rico said to her “indivisible” means the acceptance of different spiritual beliefs and not allowing those differences to divide us. She said to her, it’s the same thing, the same energy, no matter how we call it.
She said supporting local artists is important because it motivates other artists to keep working, keep creating and keep believing in themselves.
“We have a lot of local talent in the Valley. And we should be proud of them, we need to exhibit them and to also be proud of the museum. This museum is such a great venue for artists to exhibit their work.”
Andy Villarreal, an artist from San Antonio who is also exhibiting his work, said his inspiration for “Indigenous warriors and rituals of Mesoamerica” comes from the indigenous cultures from Mexico, primarily the Mayan.
He said he is very interested in the cultures and that he has been to Yucatan several times, including the architectural sites to learn more about the culture, the people, the history and the art of those times.
“I’ve been working on this theme for about 15 years and it continues to develop and evolve, progress and change. I have a lot of respect for Mexico, I have a lot of respect for the culture of Mexico and this work pays homage to the past. It deals with the past, it deals with the present and it even deals with the future,” he said.
Villarreal said since he was a kid he knew he wanted to be an artist and that his work touches a lot different elements that he uses in an abstract way. He added he enjoys working with this theme because he has such a passion for Mexico and its culture.
“Some artists do art that represent the culture and the time that we live in and it’s a reflection of who you are, as an identity, as a race and as people,” he said.
Octavio Quintanilla, a local artist who recently moved to San Antonio, said his exhibit “Nepantlarte,” is a combination of two words “Nepantla” and “Arte.” He said he defines Nepantla as a state of being between two worlds, two ways of existence.
“The concept behind it is that I try to capture my experience with Nepantla, living between cumbia and heavy metal, living between Spanish and English, living between two cultures. I was born in Texas but I lived 9 years of my life in Mexico,” he said.
He painted famous figures that have inspired him such as Sylvia Plath, Frida Kahlo, La Virgen de Guadalupe, El Chavo del Ocho, Cesar Chavez, Carlos Fuentes and Ernest Hemingway.
“There’s a lot of literary influence because I’m a poet,” he said and continued on the importance of supporting local artists.
“… I think it highlights our community and it reminds us of the talent that we have here in this area. I would like to remind communities and museums to keep an eye out for the local artists doing work here, because that’s where the talent is.”
Deyanira Ramirez, executive director at the museum, said these three artists are a good collaboration because they know each other from previous exhibits. She said she is happy that the museum is able to host receptions again for the openings and that hopes the community continues to support the local arts.