In 1531, La Virgen de Guadalupe revealed herself to Juan Diego, speaking in his native Nahuatl. Her appearance demonstrated that the Blessed Mother’s intercessions and blessings applied to the indigenous Mexican peoples, and she has been a revered presence in the culture from that moment. Her temple in Mexico is the most visited Christian holy site, and the third most visited sacred location on Earth.
As he grew up, Al Rendon was most familiar with La Virgen by seeing his Tia’s bedspread. Which featured a large image of the saint. In 1986, curator Kathy Vargas asked Al to participate in a group exhibit The Guadalupe Arts Center was planning to commemorate La Virgen. It inspired Al to visit his aunt and photograph her with her bedspread. The print was exhibited, and Al realized that his native culture – the San Antonio Mexican American experience – could reveal valid art, reflections of strong and expressive lives. He had always carried his camera knowing that good images could occur any time, and the images continued to appear, from a friend’s tattoo to a little calavera appearing before a mural.