San Antonio Artist Alberto Mijangos Commemorated in Children’s Book

by Jessica Fuentes August 31, 2023

A new children’s book, Looking For The Cherries, based on the life of the late San Antonio artist and educator Alberto Mijangos, will be published in September by the San Antonio-based Material Media Press. 

The cover image of "Looking for the Cherries" written by Kay Karcher Mijangos, illustrated by Laura Mijangos-Rapp.

“Looking for the Cherries” written by Kay Karcher Mijangos, illustrated by Laura Mijangos-Rapp

The book has been written by Mr. Mijangos’ second wife, Kay Karcher Mijangos, and illustrated by his daughter, Laura Mijangos-Rapp. It tells the story of the artist’s life through the voice of a fictitious granddaughter named Frankie. 

In a press release announcing the forthcoming publication, Mrs. Mijangos explained, “I wrote this book to spread Alberto’s wisdom about how to live a meaningful life.”

Of her work on the children’s book, Mrs. Mijangos-Rapp noted, “Creating these illustrations about my dad was so much fun because he had such a playful side to him. He was young at heart and had a great rapport with his grandchildren. I used the memories I have of his relationships with them to create this loving and inspiring bond between him and Frankie.”

A self-portrait painted by Alberto Mijangos.

Alberto Mijangos, “Self-Portrait.” Photo by: Bonnie Arbittier, San Antonio Report.

Mr. Mijangos was born in 1925 in Mexico City. A formative moment for Mr. Mijangos was when, as a child, he encountered Diego Rivera working on his mural The History of Mexico at the Palacio Nacional. From 1942 to 1943 he attended the national fine arts school, the Academia de San Carlos, in Mexico City. Following the death of his mother, Mr. Mijangos decided to start a new life in the United States. He lived in Galveston and then Chicago, where he took classes at the Chicago Art Institute, before relocating to San Antonio. 

In 1959 Mr. Mijangos was named the director of the Mexican Consulate’s art gallery. He received a diplomatic passport and the title of Mexican Cultural Attaché, a position in which he supported Mexican President Adolfo Lopez Mateos’ efforts to revive the cultural exchange between Mexico and the United States. Through his role at the Mexican Consulate Mijangos aided in bringing the exhibition Arte de Mexico a través de los siglos / Mexican Art throughout the Centuries to the Witte Museum in the summer of 1960. 

Mr. Mijangos continued to be an important cultural ambassador. He served as a consultant on the Expo HemisFair ‘68 Committee for Cultural Affairs and later was instrumental in transitioning the Mexico Pavilion to the Mexican Cultural Institute, which hosts art exhibits, concerts, plays, and other events.

An painting by Alberto Mijangos featuring an abstracted white shirt set against a red background.

Alberto Mijangos, “Untitled (T-Shirt Series),” 1998, mixed media on canvas, 80 x 80 inches.

In 1979, Mr. Mijangos returned to painting. He opened the Salon Mijangos in 1996, which served as both an educational space for aspiring art students and a gathering place for artists such as Sandy Whitby, Linda Perez, and Andy Benavides. He worked as a full-time artist until his death in 2007. In 2016, Centro de Artes presented a retrospective of Mr. Mijangos’ work, which was curated by Teresa Eckmann.

Guillermo Nicolas, Vice Chair of the Texas Cultural Trusts’ Board of Directors, remarked, “I knew Alberto most of my life. I was his friend, his student, and an avid collector of his artwork. He loved young people, and this work will introduce him to a new generation.”

To order copies of the book, visit the Material Media Press website.

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