Opening alongside the Hidden Histories episode “Space is the Place: Unexplained Encounters in South Texas,” visual artist Luis Valderas presents a collection of sculpture pieces collectively exhibited as “Tezcatlipoca: An Interpretation of Azteca Intergalactic Ambassadors.” This exhibit centrally features his Styrofoam and wood piece “White Rocket Tezcalipoca” (2003), which considers icons of present day-architecture, space travel and commonly discarded materials available and what they mean to our future as a species. With the expansive problem of waste as a result of our consumerist global culture, humans face an ominous future—much like the humans in the MesoAmerican creation stories featuring Tezcatlipoca, child of Ometeotl (Lord/Lady of Duality) who presided over the North. As White Tezcatlipoca, he presided over the West and represented light, mercy, and the wind. Tezcatlipoca also represented judgement and was said to prey upon travelers at night on the road at crossroads tearing them to shreds as the jaguar.
Valderas has combined wood, paper mache and styrofoam pulled out of trash dumpsters to fabricate a futuristic version of Tezcatlipoca, which rises out of an agave-like form on top of a skyscraper structure and wields arms made of rockets, accented with an aura reimagined from the discarded styrofoam. “White Rocket Tezcatlipoca” augurs a future where science and global awareness will become paramount to the survival of humans. Alongside this central piece, Valderas will also exhibit several other small, whimsical sculptures juxtaposing the pre-Columbian and the robotic, collectively imagining a Chicanx futurism.
“Tezcatlipoca: An Interpretation of Azteca Intergalactic Ambassadors” will open Monday, August 6th at 6pm and run through Friday, August 10th at 5pm. Exhibit can also be viewed virtually, here: