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Sunday, October 25, 2015 // 3:30 - 5:00 PM

Transcendental Train Yard Exhibition and Book Signing

Free to Public

Make Reservations at Philadelphia Art Alliance

transcendental trainyard

Poet Norma Elia Cantú and visual artist Marta Sanchez will join forces at the Philadelphia Art Alliance for an exhibition, reading and book signing for Transcendental Train Yard, a new collaborative expression of Mexican and Mexican - American experiences along the railway in Mexico and Texas. Conceived by Marta Sanchez, through expressionistic serigraphs and spontaneous poetry, Transcendental Train Yard reminisces on the impact the railway, and specifically the train yard, has had on Mexican life.  

Prints and poems are accompanied by scholarly essays by Constance Cortez and Peter Haney.  The evocative preface by noted Chicano scholar Tomás Ybarra-Frausto bring an added depth.

Marta Sanchez’s prints will be on view in the Shanis Programming Space from

October 18 through November 1 during regular gallery hours.

Books will be available for sale and signing on Sunday, October 25 at 3:30 pm.

Cantu and Sanchez will read at 4 pm, followed by a short reception.


Norma Elia Cantú 

Norma Elia CantuCantú has received two Fulbright-Hays fellowships to do research in Spain; her novel, Canícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera, received the Aztlán Prize in 1996. She has published poetry, fiction and scholarly essays. Other projects include co-edited and edited work such as: Telling to Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios; Dancing across Borders: Danzas y Bailes Mexicanos; Paths to Discovery: Autobiographies of Chicanas with Careers in Mathematics, Science and Engineering, Moctezuma's Table and Ofrenda: Liliana Wilson's Art of Dissidence and Dreams.

As a community activist in Laredo, Cantú was instrumental in the founding of the Literacy Volunteers organization (LVA); a feminist women's group, Las Mujeres; and a local chapter of Amnesty International; as well as organizing annual celebrations commemorating the anniversary of César Chávez's birthday. She sees her creative writing and academic work as forming a part of her activist agenda where academic study can inform and provide an impetus for social change.

Active in a number of professional organizations, she also works with Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social and was named the 2008 Scholar of the Year by the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies. She founded the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa and is a founding member of the CantoMundo Poetry Workshop.

Cantú is currently working on a number of book projects, including a collection of poetry, "Border Meditation/Meditación fronteriza: Poems of Love, Life and Work," two novels (tentatively titled, "Champú: or hair matters" and "Cabañuelas: A Love Story"), a long-range ethnographic study of the Matachines de la Santa Cruz, and a number of other creative and academic projects.


Marta Sanchez 

Marta SanchezChicana painter Marta Sánchez is deeply inspired by traditional Mexican folk art expressions. Sánchez is recognized primarily for her Retablos paintings, an offspring of traditional Mexican prayer paintings. These soulful works on metal capture the deepest held wishes and dreams of her subjects, as if the artist were lighting a candle in prayer for her subject. Her works on paper are mostly linocuts, serigraphs and monotypes that also follow the social and cultural traditions of Mexican and Chicano/a Art.

Sánchez worked for years on her series of paintings of the San Antonio train yards near her childhood home that became Transcendental Train Yard. Through these paintings, she explores the role of trains in Mexican migration, and the carpas, traveling circus and vaudeville troupes that performed throughout Mexico.  Sánchez's public art commissions can be seen in the Philadelphia area at Simons Recreation Center and the Children's Hospital in Montgomery, Pennsylvania.

Marta Sánchez earned her MFA in Painting from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, and a BFA in Painting from the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, St. Joseph's University, Springside School and Temple University's ART START program. She is a co-founder of the grassroots organization, "Cascarones Por La Vida," which assists families affected by HIV/AIDS. Marta resides in Philadelphia with her husband, John, and son, Phillip Ignacio. Her work has been published by Running Press and various other Chicano/a Art publications.