Projects: Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas

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Panther Cave, Plate 63

Forrest Kirkland, Lula Kirkland. Panther Cave, Plate 63. 1937

Watercolor painting on paper: 20 x 16'' (50.8 x 40.64 cm). Courtesy the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, the University of Texas at Austin

Juan Mancias: Etayaup'le mautepele’x. My name is Juan Mancias. I’m the Tribal Chair for the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, and I just greeted you in my language. The language is still alive and a lot of what we're going to talk about today, especially these pictures, can only be interpreted through that language.

These illustrations are from a book called The Rock Art of Texas by Forrest Kirkland that he put together because I guess he was trying to make people aware that there were these archeological sites all over Texas.

There's four plates here from the Pecos River and Seminole Canyon area. These are 4,000 year old prophecies. This is the recording of things that have occurred and will occur.

Plate 63, 1937 is from Panther Cave. Let me explain to you what is happening here. This depicts urbanization. You see these towers with these lines and then you see cranes trying to create new buildings and new monsters. This is what Houston looks like. San Antonio looks like this. Laredo looks like this.

You see the human beings at the very bottom over to your right-hand side, you see five of them, some without heads, some without arms, those are us. We're the smaller people down there. This depicts what they were doing to us.

In a lot of these paintings, if you read it into modern times, you’ll see exactly what they're talking about. See the black? And see how it's trickling down? These are predictions of the oil and gas industry. It's affecting our wildlife. The animals are in flight, getting away, cause they’re getting killed. These are dreams of people that were actually looking into the future. Even my last name means “a foreteller”—Mancias.

This is probably beautiful art to some people, it’s prophecies to others, to our people. These are actually our hieroglyphics, and they've never been studied like that. They’ve been studied like art, and people have come up with a lot of assumptions based on them. I just wanna make sure that everybody enjoys our perspective, and not just a colonized perspective.