Sebastian’s Sphere

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by Lisa Y. Garibay
UTEP News Service

In recognition of UTEP’s role in educating thousands of Mexican students and as a gift of friendship for the University’s Centennial, the Mexican people recently presented UTEP with an original piece by renowned sculptor Sebastián.

Sculptor Sebastián (far left) poses in front of his newest work, which was installed in front of the Fox Fine Arts Building on Sept. 10. Joining him are (from left to right) UTEP President Diana Natalicio, Ambassador of Mexico to the United States Eduardo Medina Mora and Jacob Prado, consul general of Mexico in El Paso.

Sculptor Sebastián (far left) poses in front of his newest work, which was installed in front of the Fox Fine Arts Building on Sept. 10. Joining him are (from left to right) UTEP President Diana Natalicio, Ambassador of Mexico to the United States Eduardo Medina Mora and Jacob Prado, consul general of Mexico in El Paso. Photo by JR Hernandez

Despite roasting afternoon heat, a crowd of several hundred spectators—including politicos from both sides of the border, high school and college students, academics and local artists—gathered enthusiastically in front of UTEP’s Fox Fine Arts Building for the piece’s dedication on Sept. 10. Excitement rose when the sculptor arrived and began rotating his massive spherical creation in order to demonstrate its interactive and ever-changing qualities.

The ceremony was opened by Jacob Prado, consul general of Mexico in El Paso, who recognized the leaders in attendance including Juárez Mayor Enrique Serrano, U.S. Consul General in Juárez Ian Brownlee, Texas State Senator José Rodríguez, judicial dignitaries, members of El Paso City Council and Ambassador of Mexico to the United States Eduardo Medina Mora.

Medina Mora made the official presentation of the sculpture, speaking on behalf of the Mexican people in stating that it was a unique opportunity for the country to demonstrate its gratitude to UTEP for contributing to greater cooperation in an increasingly globalized world.

Prado then introduced Sebastián, who gave a hands-on demonstration of his new work’s textures including the two X shapes that stand for the letters in the names Texas and Mexico as well as the Nahuatl character expressing the transmission of ideas and dialogue for which the sculpture is named.

The design of “Esfera Cuantica Tlahtolli” also symbolizes the historical bonds between Mexico and UTEP, which began with the inclusion of a Mexican student in UTEP’s first-ever graduating class more than 90 years ago up through today with the university enrolling more Mexican students than any other in the United States.

Sebastián explained his process of conceiving the sculpture as a work that would join the area’s ancient roots with its modern goals while expressing his own personal connection to the locale (he lived in Juárez during his youth while his family lived in El Paso). “Hence, I know the region and I love the region,” he said. “And I leave this work here with much affection for El Paso.”

UTEP President Diana Natalicio pointed out the particularly special meaning that the new sculpture had for the university. “We value deeply the many ways that we are united as a community: strong familial ties, a strong heritage, a common commitment to higher education and social mobility as well as a belief that there are no boundaries to our shared hopes and dreams for the future,” she said.

“As good neighbors standing side by side, we will continue to work together to improve the lives of people in our locations, our hemisphere and the world,” Natalicio continued. “And as we do, Sebastián’s sculpture will be a cherished source of pleasure and pride for future generations, inspiring contemplation of ideals such as friendship, communication, partnership, diversity, opportunity, access and excellence.” 

Photos by Julio César Chávez

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