El Caballo: The Horse in Mexican Folk Art Opens September 4 at Waukegan Public Library

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  next week at Waukegan Public Library, celebrates this enduring legacy through twenty-two 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 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 Caballowill be on display starting September 4 through October 4 on the main floor of the library. Families are encouraged to explore the exhibit together with a free exhibit guide filled with activities about horses and folk art.

El Caballois 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 nonprofit regional arts organization in the United States. More information is available at www.maaa.org and www.eusa.org.