The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Showcasing heritage through art

Spanish+Art+Exhibit
Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett
Spanish Art Exhibit

Students in Sueli Rocha-Rojas’ Oral Expression class are taking their studies out of the classroom and into the community. After presenting their artwork on campus, these Aggies aim to share their work with the surrounding area.
Students in Rocha-Rojas’ Spanish 301 class presented 24 photographs, which demonstrate different cultures around the world and at A&M. Located on the second floor of the Academic Building, the exhibit featured works created by students in Rocha-Rojas’ class. To explain their meaning, each piece of art has a QR code that audiences are able to scan with their phone to watch students present and explain their piece in both Spanish and English.
According to Rocha-Rojas, the Oral Expression class has expectations to share the art with different communities throughout College Station and showcase the different cultures the works represent. The show will travel to local high schools and junior high schools within the College Station area when classes resume in the fall of 2018.
“First, we would watch Spanish speaking films over other identities and then we had to relate those with our own identity and then they had to find within our own community,” Rocha-Rojas said. “They were learning Spanish and another language, the language of photography.”
Rocha-Rojas said she came up with the idea for the project from her own photography studies, which she used to cross over into the Spanish language class. According to Rocha-Rojas, this is the first time she has taught the class at A&M and the projects represent the multiplicity of the Spanish identities.
“My goal for the class was that they would learn Spanish and through Spanish they would develop a product, they would develop something that is going to go [as] an open educational resource ‘cause this is open to the public and this is going to be a traveling exhibition,” Rocha-Rojas said. “So, they made the product that is actually authentic.”
As part of the assignment, students had to interview someone who identifies as Hispanic in the community. The photo would then show these differing Hispanic minorities.
“Now we know that identity is real fluid,” Rocha-Rojas said. “They had to think about what is identity, how they would represent identity through photography.”
To prepare for the art exhibit, students worked on their projects over the past two months. The assignment involved studying different cultures within the Hispanic community and eventually finding those cultures on campus.
Dylan Kiser, general studies sophomore, named his photo “Perdido en Pensamiento,” which means “Lost in Thought.” The photo presents the profile of an individual studying in front of the Academic Building. While Kiser shared the Hispanic-Jewish heritage of his friend featured in the photo, the perspective does not allow these observations to be made.
“The message that I’m trying to communicate is that one identity that somebody has shouldn’t limit the other identities that somebody has and just when you look at somebody, and just like the guy in the photo, you can’t tell any identities that he has,” Kiser said. “The message is kind of simple.”
Biridiana Hernandez, political science junior, presented her photograph, “La Gente del Libro,” which means “People of the Book.” The photo depicts two Hispanic-Muslim girls inside the prayer room in Evans Library.
“The reason that I titled my picture this is because when we were learning about [Islam] … we learned that Christians and Jews, as people, are called the ‘people in the book’ because we appear in the Koran,” Hernandez said. “[The class] really opened my eyes to learn about other people’s’ culture and their identities, specifically the way in which Hispanics have multiple identities. … Just because you don’t look the same or speak the same language or share the same beliefs, it doesn’t mean that you’re not connected in some type of way.”

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    Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

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