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Madre Tierra Entera, Mother Earth Entire 1993 Louis Guillermo Guerra Phow In Alan Pogue AFTERWORD A Doorway to the Ancient Future Luis Guillermo Guerra Returns to the Sacred BY AMELIA MALAGAMBA EL RETORNO A LO SAGRADO An exhibition of the work of Luis Guillermo Guerra Galeria Sin Fronteras, Austin, Texas through January 7, 1996. EL RETORNO A LO SAGRADO is a product of Luis Guillermo Guerra’s intense search for spiritual balance, and although it began with an artist’s inquiry, it is not tentative but assertive. In the fifty works included in the exhibition, Guerra engages viewers with provocative concepts and asks them to imagine new definitions of masculinity. Guerra, who was reared in Laredo, Texas, the third of four brothers, recalls that as a child, he would fashion his own toys with materials found around the home and from these materials would emerge “magical objects,” with which he and his brothers would play. More than the objects, it was the process of transforming materials that fascinated the child. In the ’60s, as a conscientious objector, Guerra refused to take part in the Vietnam War. By the 1970s, he had become an activist-artist in the Chicano movement, designing the campaign materials used by La Raza Unida in its second Texas gubernatorial campaign, in 1974. Guerra also participated in and documented the 1977 Texas Farmworkers’ Union march on Washington, and the experience reaffirmed his artistic philosophy, which rejected the notion of “art for art’s sake.” In 1984, Guerrawho had been teaching art at Austin Community College spent six months in Japan and Korea, places that greatly influenced his aesthetic and spiritual development. But it was a visit to his tax accountant’s office, before he traveled to the Orient, that would ultimately change the geographical and spiritual focus of Guerra’s art. In the Austin office, Guerra was intrigued by the photograph of a door in Real de Catorce, a mining town in northern Mexico, founded Amelia Malagamba is a doctoral candidate in the sociology of art at the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Texas at Austin. during the colonial period and long since abandoned by all but a few campesino families who work the land, and Huichol Indians who for centuries have traveled there on annual religious pilgrimages. In 1985, shortly after he returned from the far East, Guerra traveled by bus to Real de Catorce, where he remained for nine months. “I fell in love with the place. Real is a magical town, where they accepted me though I was a foreigner.” Travel to Korea and Japan, and then the discovery of Real “de Catorce, were for Guerra landmarks in his spiritual and artistic development. EL RETORNO A LO SAGRADO tion of fifty works \(including sculp return to the artist’s cultural roots, an exploration of the ancestral concepts of time, and of the humility of the human confronted with the age of the worlda humility learned in the desert that surrounds 22 OCTOBER 27, 1995