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The Prospector

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Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month at the Union Gallery

SalmaPaola Baca
Hispanic Heritage Month Gallery at Union Gallery.

From paintings of conchas and menudo to drawings of political and social movements in Juárez, Mexico, UTEP’s Union Gallery honors Hispanic Heritage Month by showcasing student artwork. With dozens of pieces on display, the gallery had its opening reception Sept. 6, welcoming the public to come see what talent UTEP students have to offer.   

Every piece is different, and some pieces took nearly a semester to complete. With sculptures to knitted artwork, the gallery displays a diverse set of artworks that will leave spectators in awe.  

“The purpose of (our) art galleries is to engage with the community and a lot of (artists) have really, really beautiful (pieces) that fit really well into the theme,” said Carla Sariñana, inclusion and advocacy student employee at the Student Engagement and Leadership Center (SELC).  

Many of the pieces in the gallery communicate personal stories and other connections with Hispanic heritage like one of the biggest paintings in the museum, the “Las Tres Culturas de Chihuahua” by Andrea Mariana Figueroa. The art major at UTEP with a minor in museum studies says the painting took her the entire spring semester to complete.  

“This one is about the three races of Chihuahua, that is the Mennonites, the Tarahumara and the mestizos, (and) I’m a mestizo,” Figueroa said. 

Figueroa painted three other pieces that can be seen at the gallery. All her pieces show different life events she has been through. One of her pieces shows the consumption of Tesgüino, a sacred beer important to the Tarahumara people. Another painting shows a little girl on the side of the road while headed to a protest of some kind.  

Like Figueroa, another artist at the gallery also reflected on her experiences while making different artworks.  

“For the big one, I made it (based on) the walks about women being killed in Juárez. I tried to represent that in like a really Mexican piece,” said Laura Itzel Galvan, a junior studying graphic design at UTEP. “So, I put the angel and little carteles (to) represent when women are walking and (so people) can read it.”  

Galvan’s work specializes in using many materials, including acid and water. While the pieces themselves are not big, each one tells a personal story.  

One such piece of her artwork portrays her dog Rocky who passed away as an alebrije, or a spirit guide that blends animal and human characteristics created by the Aztecs.   

With representation from many artists, the Hispanic Heritage Month gallery at UTEP shows the many distinct aspects of one culture. From spiritual icons, food held dear to people’s hearts and firsthand experience with sociopolitical movements, UTEP students were able to tell stories and personal life experiences through different forms of art.   

“I feel like these represent the Hispanic heritage and history,” Figueroa said. “Not only from the past, but also in the present.” 

Elisha Nuñez is a staff reporter and can be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributors
Elisha Nuñez
Elisha Nuñez, Staff Reporter
Elisha Nuñez is a multimedia journalism student with a minor in marketing at the University of Texas at El Paso.  He works as a reporter for The Prospector, and loves to write about arts, culture, and people. This semester, he wishes to do more freelance work for publications in and outside of El Paso. After graduation, he would like to experience multiple positions at different places, and even has plans for continuing his current education outside of the U.S.
SalmaPaola Baca
SalmaPaola Baca, Contributor/Photographer
SalmaPaola Baca is a senior at UTEP majoring in engineering innovation and leadership with a concentration and minor in civil engineering and an emphasis in computer science. Her passion for photography enables her to be photographer at The Prospector. While a full-time student, she freelances while planning to grow her platform through travel photography. After graduating, she wants to pursue a master’s degree in architecture while working on her photography simultaneously.
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