While it was a cloudy sky the morning of Nov. 3, the unveiling of the artwork “Jaguar Spirit” by artist Suzy González brightened the otherwise gloomy day.
Texas A&M University-San Antonio hosted a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of the new mural outside Patriots’ Casa.
The mural project took about a year to put together and was brought about by A&M-San Antonio’s Arts, Grounds and Aesthetic Committee, which collaborated with Contemporary Art Month, a local nonprofit that connects artists with local institutions.
“I think it’s really important for the community, where the murals reside, to be represented in the art,” González said.
The mural depicts students in clubs, teams, graduation and more to reflect what students’ lives were like on campus this past year.
Alongside the student portraits there are abstract landscapes and depictions of native plant life and other items such as the water, incense, and maíz — the sacred corn, which acknowledges the land the university was built on.
The university’s school colors — maroon, black, white and gray — are shown throughout the artwork.
“We know things can be stressful on campus,” said González, who had blessed it with sage and lavender from her own personal garden before the event started. It was her way to give protection, blessing and to help uplift students’ spirits.
“Students that are committed to their education in the midst of a life-altering pandemic — y’all have been through a lot … It’s not been easy and you should be proud of yourselves for pushing through, for valuing your education, and you deserve that recognition,” González said.
She explained that everyone on campus is being represented in the mural even if their picture is not in the artwork.
Justin Korver, art lecturer at A&M-San Antonio, said how the mural was both visually beautiful and educational. Korver serves as board chair for CAM and is a part of the Arts, Ground and Aesthetics Committee.
“I’m so pleased we will have this mural to beautify our campus but also as an example to teach from,” Korver said.
The campus Arts, Grounds and Aesthetics committee was tasked with the responsibility of beautifying the school. The committee oversees how the campus looks, which includes benches, trees, paintings and murals.
Students, teachers and staff came out in support of the artist.
“It represents the university,” said Maria Mejia, an undecided major who attended the event. All those who attended had big smiles on while viewing the mural. Many took photos and videos.
“When we paint murals, we’re continuing a cycle that, really, our ancestors began,” González said.
González explained how murals like hers will be like the cave paintings, hieroglyphs and wall paintings people study to remember the past.
Korver said the unveiling of this mural kicked off the start of two more artists’ murals to come on to campus in the future.