This year, Yemayá, the recently acquired central painting of Ángel Rodríguez-Díaz’s Goddess Triptych will be on view to honor the legacy of the artist (born San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1955–died San Antonio, Texas, 2023). The other portraits, The Myth of Venus and La Primavera, entered SAMA’s collection in 2013 as gifts from renowned author Sandra Cisneros, making this reunion a decade in the making.
Rodríguez-Díaz is recognized nationally for his distinct approach to portraiture. He studied art at the University of Puerto Rico, then moved to New York City in 1978 and received an MFA degree from Hunter College before settling in San Antonio in 1994. Influenced by his background as a gay Latino of African, Taíno, and Spanish descent, Rodríguez-Díaz employed portraiture to celebrate cultural diversity. His powerful Goddess Triptych features nude women of color who do not conform to the idealized body type prevalent throughout Western art history and is exemplary of Rodríguez-Díaz’s reframing of art historical precedents to empower his subjects.
Also on view are female figures from SAMA’s Ancient Mediterranean collection to contextualize Rodríguez-Díaz’s representation of the body. Modern interpretations of these figures as goddess-like entities and their ongoing influence on art reveals attitudes towards gender, race, and beauty. Whether venerated by ancient cultures, idealized by European artists, or reclaimed by feminists, Rodríguez-Díaz’s Goddess Triptych is in dialogue with images of the female form across time, culture, and geography. His portraits present strong, heroic women who assert their rightful place in the history of art.
Please note that this focus exhibition is included with your general admission ticket purchase, is free for members, and is included in our Bexar County Free Hours (Tuesdays 4:00-7:00 p.m. and Sundays, 10:00 a.m.-noon).
SAMA is presenting three free special programs in conjunction with this exhibition:
I. Preview and Talk with the Guadalupe Dance Company
Tuesday, April 2 | 6:00–7:00 p.m.
Audiences will get a sneak peek at Paisajes del Alma (Landscapes of the Soul), an original production by the Guadalupe Dance Company with music by Mariachi Azteca de América, and learn how a production comes to life in a discussion about theme development and choreography.
II: The Seasoned Woman
Tuesday, April 23 | 5:30–7:00 p.m.
San Antonio Poet Laureate Emeritus Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson and internationally acclaimed Syrian opera singer Lubana Al Quntar will perform excerpts from their original production The Seasoned Woman.
III: Paisajes del Alma (Landscapes of the Soul) by the Guadalupe Dance Company
Thursday, May 23 | 7:00–8:00 p.m.
The Guadalupe Dance Company and Marichi Azteca de América proudly present the premier of Paisajes del Alma (Landscapes of the Soul), an original production commissioned by SAMA and collaboratively choreographed by members of the company.