Sala Honoring Aurora Estrada
By Jade Arroyo
On Thursday, July 28, a sala was named in honor of San Miguel artist Aurora Estrada. Located at the entrance of Bellas Artes, opposite the Educal library, the room reopened with display the artist’s work, mostly engravings reproduced especially for this exhibition from plates that her family possessed.
Commemorating the 20 years since her death, a bronze plaque was unveiled, officially naming the room and honoring the artist.
Aurora Estrada was born in 1940, in the neighborhood of El Valle del Maiz. The Estrada family is famous as makers of mojigangas.
By reclaiming the work and the name of this remarkable artist and the memory of a time when local artistic effervescence surged, our own identity with the past is recovered.
The inauguration was accompanied by a ritual performed by people from El Valle del Maiz, bringing the Cruz de Las Animas, which keeps the spirits of the ancestors and honors them. This included an offering of flowers, incense, and lute music for the inauguration of the new room. Mojigangas created by the Estrada family are on display nearby.
Aurora Estrada (1940–1996) was the first woman to be accepted as as an artist in San Miguel whose work had a significant impact. The style of her work is original and fantastic, irreverent, humorous, with strong provocative content, in which figures and images of local indigenous traditions emerged from the unconscious depth and combined in free form. The art was considered very transgressive for the time, especially given Aurora Estrada’s social context in a conservative community. Goya-like influences are noticeable in the forms and fantastic, sometimes brutal, characters. Sexuality, imagination, and irony seem to have no limits.
Her work soon went beyond the local level and was exposed and disseminated throughout several cities, including Mexico City. The exhibition of prints on this occasion, the 20th anniversary of her death, and this space named after the first woman recognized at the Cultural Center, represent San Miguel’s acclaim of a worthy local artist.