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20131213 Mixed-media-guadalupeMISSION—The Virgen De Guadalupe is a legend that not only piques the interest of those that practice Catholicism, but others who find warmth in her story.

The story starts with a dark-skinned Virgen de Guadalupe who appeared to Juan Diego as a sign for a new church to be built. The tale includes the blooming of Castilian Roses in the middle of December, where the Mission Historical Museum found the name for their most recent exhibit.

The museum is showcasing artwork from artists across the Valley who use photography, acrylic paints and mixed media to tell the story of the Virgen De Guadalupe.

Castilian Roses in December will run at the museum through the month, ending on Dec. 28.

In the exhibit, community members can see artwork of the Virgen De Guadalupe depicted in different versions, including her image sewn into a shawl, only drawn from tiny lines of pen ink and out of string and small painted boxes.

“Our mission is to preserve and promote the history and culture of the city of Mission,” Luis D. Contreras II, director of the Mission Historical Museum. “We not only wanted to educate the community about the Virgen De Guadalupe, we also wanted to touch up on how her name is linked to the city of Mission.”

For some artists, a strong faith helped them depict an image that has been seen and passed on for generations. But for others, the image does not have a mainly religious focus.

Artist Eloy Rodriguez said his three pieces in the exhibit were based on more of a feeling that the Virgen De Guadalupe represented to him. Rodriguez stated two of his paintings done with acrylic were based off of photographs he had taken.

“I took the photographs and I altered them, kind of dismantled them and distorted them to make the image I wanted to see,” Rodriguez said. “I wanted to paint the feeling I get, not so much the image itself.”

Rodriguez said while in college he spent time creating a sculpture in Ohio with Richard Hyslin, professor of art at UTPA, who is a Mission native. Rodriguez said the sculpture was a nearly 55-foot tall Virgen De Guadalupe that still stands in Windsor, Ohio, at the Servants of Mary Center of Peace.

“It is free standing with more than 500,000 tiles and construction materials, and it’s been about 17 years since we built it,” Rodriguez said. “I was so involved in it physically, my feelings from within and the atmosphere. To me, it’s very much alive … I don’t see it as just an image.”

After putting countless hours of work into the two-year project, Rodriguez said his paintings are more of a recollection of the project that stands in another state.

Rodriguez also has a smaller sculpture on display at the exhibit, which he said is more of an abstract piece.

Fellow artist Veronica Jaeger painted and placed together string and boxes to give off an architectural, geometric feel to her art.

“I mostly work with paint, so in this one I wanted to use actual blocks,” Jaeger said. “I made this one more contemporary, I painted the strings and tried to use actual materials to make the Geometric Virgin.”

Jaeger, originally from Venezuela, said with her artwork she wanted to shed a different light on an old concept.

Since 1849, the Oblate Fathers of Mary Immaculate have attended the spiritual needs of families in the area and were known as the Calvary of Christ. The oblates would travel from Brownsville to Roma doing their missionary work and would stop at La Lomita Mission Chapel during their travels, which was built in 1849.

The chapel would serve as a support for resident priests and those who traveled. Contreras added the establishment of the first mission of the historic La Lomita Chapel came in 1849, Our Lady of the Mission.

After the church’s construction in 1909 in the city of Mission, the church burned in a fire. It was renamed Our Lady of Guadalupe when it was rebuilt in 1927.

The community is invited to enjoy the images portrayed of a cultural inspiring idol, Contreras said. For more information on the exhibit and the Mission Historical Museum, call 580-8646.

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