Exhibit at Mexican Consulate in San Bernardino honors Manuel Guillen, Ana Zhender – San Bernardino Sun

The Mexican Consulate in San Bernardino is hosting an exhibition honoring artist Manuel Guillen alongside the work of one of his students, Ana Zehnder.

Zehnder, who goes by the artist name Anna, explained that the show is a tribute to her teacher, who lives in Mexico and will turn 94 in March.

A piece by Hemet artist Ana Zehnder. (Courtesy of Ana Zhender)

“My teacher is my godfather since birth and has been there for me all my life,” said the Hemet resident who was born and raised in Mexico City. “As a person he has been the father that I did not have. He has always been there for me, encouraging me and believing in me. He is an amazing human with a heart that is bigger than him.”

Guillen studied under such artists as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Jorge Gonzalez Camarena. His work can be seen at Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology, Palace of Fine Arts and Museum of Modern Art, among others. He has participated in more than 90 exhibitions in Mexico, Chile, Canada and the U.S. In addition, he has completed 28 murals.

“Every time I went to study with him, the class would finish and we would stay painting until late,” said Zehnder. “I have so many sweet memories. Above all he taught me to care for others.

“He calls me his daughter and I call him my dad. I love him dearly. I told him one day if I can inherit something, I would like his talent. I have long way to go but that is what I wish.”

The exhibition includes an ancient Mexican technique that uses imitation rice paper.

Hemet’s Ana Zehnder working with her teacher Manuel Guillen. (Courtesy of Ana Zhender)

Since she was very age, Zehnder was interested in the arts. When her teachers noticed she was drawing in every notebook, they suggested to her mother that painting might be a good course of study. At age 8, she began attending art school. That was when she also received her first award, a book signed by Mario Ramon Beteta, former governor of the state of Mexico.

Zehnder said some of her favorite accomplishments have been exhibiting her work in Switzerland, as well as at the Guatemalan Consulate and at the Museo de la Estampa in Mexico. This is the second time her

work has been on exhibit at the Mexican Consulate in San Bernardino. The first time was in 2016.

“Art is the soul of a person and of a nation,” Zehnder said. “It means so much. When someone buys our work, it represents hours of frustration, errors and much more. We are creating something unique and special.”

The exhibition runs through March 3 at the Mexican Consulate in San Bernardino, 293 North D St. Call the consulate at 877-639-4835 for viewing hours.

Patrick Brien is executive director of the Riverside Arts Council.

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