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 Sept. 4 at Waukegan Public Library, celebrates this enduring legacy through 22 examples, including ceramics, metalwork, paintings, paper art, and sculpture.
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Each work in the exhibition focuses on the horse and related subjects, which have long attracted the attentions 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.
El Caballo will be on display starting through Oct. 4 on the main floor of the library, at 128 North County St. Families are encouraged to explore the exhibit together with a free exhibit guide filled with activities about horses and folk art.
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. Mid-America is the oldest nonprofit regional arts organization in the United States. More information is available at www.maaa.organd www.eusa.org.