UT students win prizes, depict Mexican American culture


Sociology junior Jonathan Cortez speaks with sociology senior Apolinar Perez about Perez’s poster at the Center for Mexican American Studies Poster Art Reception Thursday afternoon. 

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

A UT senior walked away with first prize and a $1,000 scholarship Thursday after winning the fourth annual Center for Mexican American Studies Student Poster Art Competition.

Sociology senior Apolinar Perez’s poster was one of 13 student submissions reviewed by the Center’s Poster Art Scholarship Committee following the theme of “Language in las Americas.” Students were asked to focus on language in Mexican American communities and how bilingualism is essential to excellence in the third millennium.

The committee is composed of UT students and prominent Mexican American figures in the Austin community. English senior Brissa Ochoa, who served on last year’s committee, said while creativity is important, it is not all the judges consider.

“The image should represent the theme, but should also reflect characteristics particular to Mexican American culture,” she said.

In reviewing posters that have won in the past Perez recognized a recurrent focus on famous Latinos. He instead opted to depict people he knows personally.

“It’s real easy to forget the community work — the grass roots,” Perez said. “These are people I know who are proud of their language and their regional identity, and who make a difference.”

In addition to his $1,000 scholarship, Perez met and worked with visual artist Sam Coronado to produce 25 prints of his poster for the center. 

“We’ve been working with CMAS every year for this competition,” Coronado said. “This year’s winner did some amazing work, and we’re proud to play the part that we do.” 

Nicole Guidotti-Hernandez, associate professor of Mexican American Studies, said she was impressed by the students’ ability to capture the importance of multilingualism visually.

“For a lot of us we have multiple languages in our lives and I think that is what’s beautiful and brilliant about these posters,” she said.

Second-place winner, Jessica Saldana, management information systems and studio art senior; and third-place winner, Marianna Anaya, ethnic studies and radio-television-film senior, will receive $750 and $300 scholarships, respectively, and each will be given a framed print of their work.   

In creating her poster Saldana said she drew inspiration from Mayan civilization and its symbolic traditions. 

“In Mayan mythology it says that the Sun God will consume the world,” she said. “I thought it would be appropriate to use this image and ingestion through the mouth or the regurgitation of words to represent bilingualism.”