The University of Texas-Pan American University Gallery is hosting "The Myth of the Coyote and Related Folk Tales from the South Texas and Northern Mexican Border," an exhibit of paintings by Master of Fine Arts student Esau R. Pena, April 1-23.
A reception with Pena is Thursday, April 11 from 7-9 p.m. in the University Gallery in the Communication Arts and Sciences Building.
Pena graduated in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in fine arts and mass communications from Pan American University. Since 1983, he has been in partnership with the advertising agency of Rodd & Associates in McAllen.
In this exhibit, Pena explores the mythology of the "coyote" and how these myths co-exist with the dynamics of living on the border between Texas and northern Mexico. The work is based on the stories and folk tales of the coyote told to him by his grandfathers.
Over the years, his imagery of the coyote grew from small, intricate line drawings to large scale, full color canvases. In many of the paintings, the coyote is seen dominating the landscape.
Recently, Pena is including more than just the traditional folk tales about the South Texas border in the coyote paintings. Now the "coyote" as the smuggler of illegal immigrants from Mexico has become part of the subject matter.
He feels strongly it is important to illustrate this subject, as statistics from the U.S. Border Patrol indicate that thousands of illegal immigrants cross into this country on a daily basis. As such, he has painted the coyote in several different forms: as survivor, as trickster, as villain and protector of the environment.
Admission to all exhibitions is free, and the galleries are open Monday through Friday, except University holidays. For more information or special accommodations, please call the University Gallery at 956/381-2655 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.