The figures in the Tejano Monument, a 275-ton granite-and-bronze statue unveiled on the Capitol grounds in late March, depict the forging of modern Texas. A Spanish explorer gazes over a new world, his clothing and sword placing him in the early 1500’s, when Alonso Álvarez de Pineda became the first person to map the Texas coastline. A well-heeled hacendado from the 1700’s rides a stubby-legged mustang behind two Longhorns, while a Tejano family tends to other livestock. It’s the story of the first settlers in the state and the birth of the cattle industry, a narrative that for too long was told only in terms of Anglo contributions. But Laredo-based sculptor Armando Hinojosa, who grew up on ranches on both sides of the Rio Grande, has bridged that gap. “The explorer shields his eyes as he looks toward the Capitol,” Hinojosa says. “That was our future.”
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