Texas A&M University-Kingsville art professor Santa Barraza was chosen to be a part of the Women Shaping Texas in the 20th Century exhibit at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin. This is the first major exhibition in 30 years to tell the story of the impact of women on the state’s development. It is open through Sunday, May 19.
Texas A&I University alumni Barraza and Carman Lomas Garza are the only two visual artists in the show. Barraza’s contribution is a four foot by eight foot painting entitled Frances con el Arbol de la Vida. It is acrylics on amate paper and was produced in 2011.
“It is an honor to be included among a group of strong women who led our state through suffrage, citizenship and other campaigns throughout history,” Barraza said. “And because Carmen and I are the only visual artists in the show, it makes it truly special.”
Garza and Barraza are placed on the same panel which gives some background information on each artist. Barraza’s part said she was encouraged by the Chicano/a movement to express herself artistically. “Her work braids together many of the deep influences of the South Texas borderlands, reflecting her Mexican-American heritage and her identity as a descendant of the native Karankawas who once inhabited the Texas coast.
“Her bold, color drenched images address Mexican-American border life and culture, especially the religious elements, as well as the older pre-Columbian heritage. Barraza conveys the deep spiritual nature of the borderland – ‘a magical, magnetic location of unbendable forces’ – and its native people through people of marginalization and loss,” the panel said.
Garza and Barraza were born within three years of each other and brought up in Kingsville in the 1950s and 1960s. Garza, taught herself to draw by checking out library books about art and practicing on her own.
Garza’s portion of the panel reads, “The Chicano/a movement of her college years, in which young Mexican Americans promoted pride in their identity, gave her a sense of possibility for sharing her childhood world. She earned her master’s degrees in art education and fine art and developed her career painting pictures exhibited in museums and in children’s books.
“Her work depicts families and communities going about their everyday lives or sharing special events. ‘Almost all of my artwork is based on my memories of growing up in South Texas. And I have a very vivid memory.I have a picture in my mind’.”
According to the news release sent out by the Bullock Museum the story of Texas wouldn’t be complete without the many histories of the determined women who stepped up to fight for the rights, improve public services and help create the state that we know today. Women Shaping Texas in the 20th Century celebrates the achievements, crusades and dedication of Texas’ women of the past century. This exhibit was guest-curated by Dr. Paula Marks, an associate professor of American Studies at St. Edward’s University and a prominent author of women’s history.
Admission to the museum’s exhibits including Women Shaping Texas in the 20th Century, is $9 for adults, $8 for college students with a valid identification card; $7 for senior citizens and military with a valid identification card; $6 for youth ages 4-17; and free for children three and under.
The Bullock Texas State History Museum is located at 1800 N. Congress Avenue at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. For more information, call 512-936-4649.