The exhibition "Retablos: The Art of Faith," owned by Debbie and Ricardo Backal, will open at The University of Texas-Pan American Visitors Center March 1.
The exhibit, which will run through June 1, showcases a private collection of 75 original oil paintings on copper and tin known as retablos, or laminas as they are called in Mexico. The exhibit, which has been displayed only in Mexico, is making its first appearance in the United States at UTPA.
The Backals, from Mexico City, said the collection began more than 50 years ago with Ricardo's father, who was an architect. Ricardo said his father started collecting Mexican stamps at a young age, then moved to collecting books and a variety of art forms. His father's collection of silver objects from colonial Mexico, once a part of an exhibition in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, is currently on display at the International Museum of Arts and Sciences in McAllen.
"My father had a passion for art, especially Mexican art," Ricardo said. "This type of art (retablos) represents Mexico. You get to know the people of Mexico through this type of art - it comes from their heart. You still find people making retablos today."
The exhibition is free and open to the public. Visitors Center hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information and tours, contact 956/292-7338.