Long before she became an indelible symbol of Texas music and a cultural icon, Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was a Tejano singing sensation with a sense of personal style that helped make her one of the most celebrated Mexican-American performers of the 20th century. While festivals and musical tributes have celebrated Selena in the years since her murder 25 years ago, an exhibition at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio focuses specifically on the images that captured the popstar’s life.
“It was the kind of situation where it became its own show once we saw these photographs,” says Kate Carey, head of education at the McNay Museum and curator of the “Selena Forever/Siempre Selena” exhibition.
Some of the photos that make up the exhibition, by San Antonio photographer John Dyer, were taken just months before Selena was murdered at age 23 by the head of her fan club. Dyer had been covering her at San Antonio’s Majestic Theater for Texas Monthly magazine in 1995.
Carey says that the photos celebrate Selena’s status as a fashion icon. Some may not know that Selena was a fashion designer, in addition to being a performer, with two shops – one in San Antonio and one in her hometown of Corpus Christi.
The McNay staff nicknamed the octagonal space used to display the photos the “Selena Chapel.” “Selena Forever/Siempre Selena” opens Jan.15 and continues through July 5.
Written by Morgan Kuehler.