The masked man depicted in the screen print offers a solemn stare – a picture befitting someone who holds such an iconic status in Mexican culture.
He is, as the title of the piece proclaims, “El Santo: Hero of the Mexican People.”
“El Santo was a luchador … a masked wrestler in Mexico,” says artist Jocelyn Lechuga. “He’s the reason that luchadors are so popular.”
Lechuga, who graduated from Missouri Southern State University in December 2018 with a degree in studio arts, has made her Mexican heritage a focal point for her artwork. Folk stories, music and other areas of popular culture are blended into her artistic exploration.
She decided to honor the late wrestler – whose nearly five-decade career included a successful series of films – in one of her screen print works. The piece, which was included in her senior show last fall at Missouri Southern, will be featured in a juried exhibition later this month in Mt. Berry, Ga.
“ARTistas” features artists who incorporate themes of Hispanic identity into their work – “either issues they face or pride in their Hispanidad.” It will run March 19-April 5 in the Moon Gallery at Berry College.
Lechuga says she was happy to learn of a national, juried exhibit that showcased the works of Latino artists and submitted “El Santo” for consideration in February. Less than a week after the submission deadline, she learned that it had been accepted.
“I was honored,” she says. “That my work was good enough to be accepted made me very proud.”
Frank Pishkur, chair of the Art Department at MSSU, says the body of work Lechuga created through her senior thesis research has a unified aesthetic and concept.
“It spans across media, techniques and materials, giving her a wide range of options in expressing her ideas,” says Pishkur. “That said, she really excels in drawing and at the more complicated, detailed processes in printmaking, where her great attention to detail-oriented techniques really shines.”
“Missouri Southern was a very helpful and very welcoming place (to study),” says Lechuga.
A Joplin resident, she is currently applying to graduate school to obtain her Master of Fine Arts degree.
For more information about the “ARTistas” exhibit at Berry College, visithttps://www.berry.edu/juriedexhibition.