Work in Progress In the late eighteenth century, the vast region of the Americas known as the Viceroyalty of New Spain (Novohispania), was the most notable political structure in the Western Hemisphere. New Spain was political capital of present-day Mexico, Central America, the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Florida, the coastal regions of Alabama and Mississippi, all lands west of the Mississippi, and claimed portions of Western Canada and Alaska. The wealthiest and most culturally advanced portion of New Spain was present-day Mexico. The great urban centers of Mexico City, Guadalajara, Puebla, Valladolid (Morelia), Queretaro, and San Miguel el Grande (de Allende) were renowned for their architectural elegance. Literacy in the cities was comparable to that of any European capital. The wealth extracted from the colony fueled the enormous economic growth and the accumulation of power in Spain and other parts of Europe. Yet when Mexico achieved independence in 1821, it did not retain its previous position of prominence, and Spain was no longer a world power. The story of this dramatic shift in the world order and the economic, political and social crises facing Mexico during the period of independence shape the story of the documentary.
*Paper cutouts used as traditional party decorations. PHOTO: Carlos Rene Perez
Work in Progress
Carmen Lomas Garza’s work taps into a distinctive vision of her childhood in Kingsville, Texas, during the late 1950s. Her paintings and etchings recall celebrations, rites of passage, and intimate family moments. She has transformed the ephemeral papel picado* of memory into a large copper tableau depicting her grandfather watering his garden, surrounded by hummingbirds, lizards and the family cat. While her children’s books have touched millions, Carmen’s paintings speak to all generations.
Work in Progress
Cesar Martinez talks about his life and art, as he completes a recent gallery installation of his latest work. Born in Laredo, Texas, in 1944, his creative roots remain here at the desert’s edge near the Rio Grande. His paintings draw from this sometimes forbidding, sometimes bountiful, and always stark, mysterious land. The documentary preserves an intriguing glimpse into the creative process of this unique talent.