Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Corazon de Gallo Oil painting by Joe Lopez of Gallista Gallery ($5,000) Photograph and article by Nicole Moore

Joe Lopez is the owner and curator for Gallista Gallery in San Antonio. Saturday November 14th, he sponsored an exhibit of his own work. Usually, Mr. Lopez features the works of other local artists and supports poetry group readings, local bands, fashion shows, and other creative endeavors for the community. So it was a rare pleasure to attend an exhibit for Mr. Lopez.
His work is defined by images that represent la raza, or the race of the Mexican-American people. He often incorporates roosters in his work; the rooster symbolizing pride, courage, and strength of the people.
Historically, the rooster is a symbol for Christ’s passion, as it is said that a rooster crowed three times after Peter denied Christ. And it is also a symbol of the remorse and repentance of Peter. But within the concept of repentance resides the concept of forgiveness, and a sense of transformation, rebirth, and life.
The aggressiveness of the rooster is often said represent strength and power.
And all of this is represented within Mr. Lopez’s works.
His piece featured above is titled “Corazon de Gallo,” or Heart of the Rooster. It shows a swelling heart in place of the barbillo, or wattle (the skin below the chin of the rooster) — the way the heart might swell with pride.
And while I stood looking at Mr. Lopez’s piece, he came up to me and spoke. He said that many people did not understand the piece, but that one time he felt very good when he saw a young man and his girlfriend standing in front of the painting.
The young man, who had many tattoos along his forearms, nudged his girlfriend, and pointing to the image of the rooster, the young man said simply, “That is about us.”