AUSTIN, Texas—Photographer George O. Jackson, a native of Laredo and resident of Houston, has given a visual record of important festivals of more than 60 indigenous Mexican cultures to the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection at The University of Texas at Austin.
The "Essence of Mexico Project" includes about 50,000 color, 35-mm slides and Jackson’s own copious notes on the festivals and their celebrants devoted to the last decade of the 20th century.
Jackson, relying on his own Mexican heritage, took the opportunity "to create an important historical collection of cultural photography of this fascinating ephemeral art form as it exists during the magical time frame of the last decade of the millennium."
During the formation of this collection, Jackson traversed Mexico, capturing a visual record of more than 200 community festivals in 28 states and the federal district.
"The majority of these festivals are manifestations of ancient cultural activity, often modernized with a Catholic influence, to entreat influential agrarian deities in hopes of gaining their favor," Jackson said.
The project has spawned five museum exhibitions in nine international venues.
The Houston Artists Fund and numerous benefactors from the United States, Mexico, Canada, England and Belgium supported the project.