McAllen Texas

Mary Louise Cantu Remembers Traveling to Reynosa from McAllen to Visit Family

Mary Louise Cantu is a native of Edinburg, Texas. Like many other South Texans, she has family ties to Mexico. She remembers traveling as a teenager along with her mother to Reynosa to visit her grandmother who lives there. Because Mary and her mother didn’t have a vehicle, they would rely on rides and buses to get from place to place.

The trip to Reynosa is important to Mary because it connects her with her Mexican heritage. With this photo shoot, I wanted to capture memories of Mary’s experience waiting for a bus to go to Reynosa. So, we went to the same HEB store where she and her mother would board the bus. At this store, there is a bus stop that offers frequent departures to Reynosa. It’s located in south McAllen about ten miles from the border.

Mary and her mother would buy items like milk, bread, and corn tortillas at the HEB store, walk to the bus stop on 10th street and then board the bus. In Reynosa, they would be dropped off at a Seven Eleven convenience store and take a pesera (another bus) to her grandma’s house.

I asked her what she thought about the trip being of an international nature and she replied that as a kid, she never thought about it such terms. “Going to Reynosa was just something we did every other weekend and it wasn’t that big of a deal to me.” she said.

Mary Louise Cantu in McAllen Texas

Mary Louise Cantu remembers boarding a bus similar to this one to travel to Reynosa Mexico to visit her grandmother. Photographed on June 6, 2014 in McAllen, Texas.

Mary Louise Cantu in McAllen Texas

Mary seats at a bus shelter located outside an HEB Grocery store in McAllen. She leans next to a shopping cart to symbolize the shopping experience she remembers as a kid. June 6, 2014. McAllen, Texas.

Mary Louise Cantu in McAllen Texas

Mary remembers visiting this HEB grocery store located on South 10th street in McAllen close to expressway 83. June 6, 2014. McAllen, Texas.

Mary Louise Cantu in McAllen Texas

Mary remembers what grocery items she and her mother would buy before visiting her grandmother in Mexico. June 6, 2014. McAllen, Texas.

Mary Louise Cantu in McAllen, Texas

Mary remembers shopping at this HEB on South 10th street in McAllen to buy some groceries before visiting her grandmother in Reynosa, Mexico. June 6, 2014. McAllen, Texas.

Mary Louise Cantu in McAllen Texas

Mary remembers using coin operated telephones like these to call her grandmother in Reynosa, Mexico before visiting her from McAllen, Texas. Photographed on June 6, 2014 in McAllen, Texas.

Celerino “Cele” Castillo III Vietnam Veteran and Chicano artist

Celerino “Cele” Castillo III is a Vietnam veteran and Chicano artist. I met him at Art Studio by Design located on Main St in McAllen arts district. Inside the gallery, I found a small room reserved for Celerino’s drawings some of which deal with war but all feature Chicano themes.

Celerino told me that he wishes to educate people about Mexican-American cultura, a term that refers to culture. We talked about the word Chicano as a civil rights term with political connotations. He brought up symbols like the Pachucos, which refers to certain Mexicans living in the United States during the 1950s who carved a cultural identity of their own.

Maya and Aztec references are also present in Cele’s work. We see the indigenous pyramids of Mexico and the quetzal bird as references to a lost Pre-Columbian heritage.

I asked him if Mexican Americans are still exploring the symbols depicted in his drawings. He said that in places like California and San Antonio, Chicano symbols are more common than in the Rio Grande Valley. He attributed the lack of Chicano symbols to little emphasis put in Mexican American themes in the Valley.

Overall, I found this exhibition very interesting because it put me in direct contact with traditional Chicano topics. Some of the symbols addressed in Cele’s work are important because they have given Mexican Americans a cultural voice through the decades.

Artist and Vietname Veteran Celerino Castillo III

Artist and Vietnam Veteran Celerino “Cele” Castillo III at his Chicano Arte Exhibtion in McAllen’s art district. Mar 7, 2014

Artist and Vietname Veteran Celerino Castillo III

Artist and Vietnam Veteran Celerino “Cele” Castillo III at his Chicano Arte Exhibtion in McAllen’s art district. Mar 7, 2014

Painter Gaby Rico presents the exhibition titled “Chasing Rainbows A Lucid Daydream”

Painter Gaby Rico presented a solo exhibition at Hinovations Art Gallery in McAllen, Texas featuring paintings of colorful landscapes. The exhibition opened on February 7th, 2014 and is set to close in March. On February 28th, I met Gaby at the gallery to make some pictures and talk about her work.

Gaby has a cosmic perspective about culture. When I asked her about what it means to be Mexican American she replied that nature and the universe are bigger than ourselves.

Painter Gaby Rico

Painter Gaby Rico holds one of her landscape paintings outside Hinovations Art Gallery in McAllen, Texas. The gallery featured her paintings in solo exhibition. Photo from Feb 28, 2014

Painter Gaby Rico

Painter Gaby Rico holds one of her landscape paintings outside Hinovations Art Gallery in McAllen, Texas. The gallery featured her paintings in solo exhibition. Photo from Feb 28, 2014

Painter Gaby Rico

Gaby Rico drawing a model right after our photo session. Hinovations Art Studio, McAllen, Texas. Photo from Feb 28, 2014

Painter Gaby Rico

Painter Gaby Rico and her series of paintings titled “Chasing Rainbows. A Luci Daydream” in McAllen, Texas. Photo from Feb 28, 2014