Spectrum News San Antonio / Jose Arredondo

SAN ANTONIO — Gabi Magaly’s art captures the life of a young Latino growing up in a machismo culture.

  • Presa House Gallery featuring college art
  • Gabi Magaly displaying exhibit as part of Master of Fine Art degree
  • In light of social distancing rules, exhibit being viewed virtually

“This room is called ‘como me siento hoy,’ I titled it ‘my promosa over mi cuerpo,’” Magaly said, pointing to different rooms of her exhibition. “This picture that I took, it’s the name of the title of my show, ‘Yo no nací para aguantar a nadie,’ which translates into ‘I wasn’t born to put up with anybody.’”

Magaly was a sophomore at Bryan Collegiate High School when a professor suggested art school as her higher learning path.

“And she told me, ‘You know you can go to school for this,’ and I was like, ‘You can go to art school?’” Magaly recalled. “She goes, ‘Yeah, you can get a degree, you can get [a] bachelor’s [degree] in it.’”

She has spent the last six years as the first in her family to go to college.

“This is my escape, my art, to finally voice my opinion,” Magaly said, standing next a photo of herself position between two candles.

With that voice, the UTSA Master of Fine Arts student wants to break the cultural stereotypes she grew up with.

“Hopefully by my work, these younger generations of girls, they can see it and realize at a much younger age, they can be independent, they can be strong and break out of these norms,” she says.

Her exhibition features culchas, a giant box of fideo and the Virgen de Guadalupe.

“There are people that just see the end product, but you don’t see how many hours went into making that shirt or went into making that dress or making each little piece,” Magaly says.

Gabi Magaly Interview

While her peers are sending photos of their theses to their instructors, Magaly is giving her professor a virtual tour of hers at Presa House Gallery

“It just made more sense for my work to be in the environment here at a house,” she explains.

It’s an environment that’s usually packed with art lovers, but with San Antonians under a stay-at-home order, it’s just Magaly alone with her art.

“I was very sad. I was like, ‘Oh no, no one was going to be able to see my work,’” Magaly says. “Like actually visit to come see it but I’m more concerned about people’s health than seeing my artwork.”