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El Caballo: The Horse in Mexican Folk Art Opens Oct. 23 at Museum


JONESBORO – Mexico possesses a rich history of popular art that reaches more than 2,000 years into the past and continues today in villages, towns, and cities throughout the country.  “El Caballo: The Horse in Mexican Folk Art,” opening Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Arkansas State University Museum, celebrates this enduring legacy through 22 examples, including ceramics, metalwork, paintings, paper art, and sculpture.

Each work in the exhibition focuses on the horse and related subjects, which have long attracted the attention of Mexican folk artists.  Since introduced by the Spanish, the horse has held special prominence in Mexican culture.  Many of the heroes and saints of Mexico, including Zapata, a rebel leader in the Mexican Revolution, and Santiago, the Apostle St. James, are portrayed on horseback.  Today, with their long history as ranchers and cowboys, Mexicans are recognized for being among the best equestrians in the world.

“El Caballo” demonstrates the diversity and vitality of modern Mexican folk art.  Its artisans produce some of the world’s most exciting examples of popular art, interweaving a collective tradition with individual expressions of creativity. 

Using whatever materials are at hand, these artists fashion an array of utilitarian, ceremonial, and decorative objects.  While most of these creations are regional, even local, in concept and design, they share distinctly Mexican features that give them a sense of national identity.

In conjunction with “El Caballo,” on Friday, Nov. 1, from 5 to 7 p.m., ASU Museum will celebrate “Día de los Muertos.”  This free event includes face painting, crafts, games, live music, food, and fun for the whole family.  Admission is free, and individuals of all ages are invited.    

El Caballo is curated by Robert Cugno and Robert Logan, directors of the Media Gallery in Garnett, Kansas.  The exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.  ExhibitsUSA sends more than 20 exhibitions on tour to more than 100 small and mid-sized communities every year.  Mid-America is the oldest non-profit regional arts organization in the United States.  More information is available at www.maaa.org and www.eusa.org.

Through its activities, ASU Museum supports the university’s mission to educate leaders, enhance intellectual growth and enrich lives.  Regular hours are Tuesday, 9 a.m.–7 p.m.; Wednesday through Saturday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1–5 p.m.  The museum is closed Mondays and university holidays. 

Admission is free, although donations are gratefully accepted.  For more information, call 870-972-2074, visit the website at http://museum.astate.edu, or find the Museum on Facebook at http://facebook.com/ASUMuseum.

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Garcia, Skeletal Horse and Rider
Garcia, Skeletal Horse and Rider


"Since introduced by the Spanish, the horse has held special prominence in Mexican culture . . . 'El Caballo' demonstrates the diversity and vitality of modern Mexican folk art."