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Maquette for Bien Venida y Vaya Con Dios

1985 Maria Alquilar Born: New York, New York 1938 ceramic, copper foil, wire, paint and plastic overall: 29 x 18 3/8 x 13 3/8 in. (73.7 x 46.7 x 34.0 cm.) top: 23 x 16 1/4 x 9 1/8 in. (58.4 x 41.3 x 23.2 cm.) bottom: 12 3/4 x 18 3/8 x 13 3/8 in. (32.4 x 46.7 x 34.0 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Transfer from the General Services Administration, Art-in-Architecture Program 1990.69A-B Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 51A

Luce Center Label

Bien Venida y Vaya Con Dios, which translates as "Welcome and Go With God," was commissioned by the General Services Administration for the border station in San Luis, Arizona. Maria Alquilar created this sculpture to pay tribute to the resilient spirit of the Mexican people, who overcome adversity "[to] hope and work and live." The saguaro (cactus), which offers its water and flesh to those stranded in the desert, becomes an altar for Our Lady of Guadalupe. The baby she holds is a symbol of all Mexican children whose parents come to the United States in order to survive, while the cross stands among the rocks in memory of those who died in the attempt. The rattlesnake and spider monkey are native creatures of the Southwest, but the snake also stands for the temptation to leave one's home, as Adam and Eve left Eden, for "a more sophisticated hell than that which they have left." The coyote refers to the immigrant smugglers, or "coyotes," who take the immigrants' money and often leave them to die in the desert.


Animal - coyote

Animal - monkey

Animal - rabbit

Landscape - plant - cactus

Religion - New Testament - Christ

Religion - New Testament - Mary



metal - brass

metal - copper


About Maria Alquilar

Born: New York, New York 1938