Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What Is An Alfombra?

It's a giant tapestry made of sand.
Or a sand painting.

This particular one was made under the protection of a huge white tent on Main Plaza, in front of San Fernando Cathedral.
(Remember the church in my Christmas Card photo?)

The media is over 300 pounds of naturally colored volcanic sand, which I asume was brought from home by the artists.
They're Canary Islanders.

The occasion is San Antonio's 278th birthday; on a date which conveniently falls within a week or so of the creation of The Republic of Texas (in 1836).
We get to celebrate important stuff twice in March--a month that lacks proper holidays for most people who aren't Irish or drunktards.

The connection between San Antonio and the Canary Islands is a little-known bit of history that's actually very important.
Canary Islanders founded our city.
A short Texas Almanac Article
All of their family names are instantly recognizable, and fill scores of pages in the local phone book.
Many people usually think of Mexico when San Antonio's history and population is the topic, but in reality Spain is our true mother country through her Canary Islanders.

Upper right is Spain and Portugal.
Moving south is the Straights Of Gibraltar, which is the entrance to the Mediterranean, then Morocco and the rest of Africa.

It was possible to watch the artists at work during all of last week.
I shot these photos on Saturday once it was finished.
After the official unveiling ceremony on Sunday this beautiful work of art was destroyed during a ceremonial procession led by Archbishop José Gomez.

I really wanted to see that but had an important photo shoot scheduled, with tacos.


Albatross said...

Beautiful stuff. I wish I had gotten a chance to see it first hand.

laanba said...

What a beautiful piece of artwork. I love when things like that are in town.