"Green" Sculpture (On The Green)

Looking for a way to observe Hispanic Heritage Month and learn a little something about Hispanic culture besides how many margaritas it takes to cause a blackout?

There are two days left to take an up-close gander at the eight life-size "Doñas" (matriarchs) of the "Las Comadres Recycled: Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition" at Discovery Green.

Planeta Verde Now, Talento Bilingüe de Houston's green initiative arts program, invited Houston artists to design an original Comadre fashioned out of recycled, repurposed and found materials in honor of Pachamama (the Latino equivalent to Mother Earth.)

"The sculptures are designed to commemorate sustainable ideas and practices which benefit and nourish our Pachamama," curator Angel Quesada explains. "These comadres (sisters of mother earth) represent radical environmental ideas."

The fact that the artists are not all of Hispanic origin also pays homage to the commonalities that Latino cultures share with people of all cultural backgrounds.

Lizbeth Ortiz's Doña Eva Luz, the only lighted piece in the exhibition (a good reason to see it in the evening), is made up of paper mache newspaper articles about environmental issues that the artist collected throughout the summer.

"Named Eva (which means "To give life" in Hebrew) and Luz (Spanish for light), my Doña shares the message of recycling through light. Even at night, you can read the articles that make up her being," Ortiz said.

Quesada sees it from another perspective. "She's turning into a tree like Daphne from Greek mythology ... to escape."

Stephanie Guajardo's Doña Frida de la naturaleza is a product of five weeks of shredding, braiding and weaving recycled grocery and trash bags. Her intricate design forms a recycled rendition of Frida Kahlo, a central persona found in most of Guajardo's paintings and drawings. Guajardo learned to weave just for this project.

"My hands bruised. I had to stop working because my hands went fully numb. Part of my left hand is still numb," says Guajardo.

It's a small sacrifice for her art. This Frida even has jewelry fashioned from aluminum cans and perfume. Her pink bags are rose-scented, and her skin smells of vanilla. But be wary of the cactus--it's real. If you're one of those who already found that out the hard way, serves you right! (You shouldn't be touching the art anyway.)

The exhibition is on view through this Friday, September 17 at Discovery Green. But if you miss it, don't fret, you'll get another chance to see it when the sculptures are displayed again in Guadalupe Plaza Park, September 24 - October 22.

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