On October 28, the Strand Gallery in Ann Pepper’s Hall began showcasing the eye-catching artwork titled Twilight, created by Isaac Rodriguez ’22, a biochemistry and molecular biology major and recipient of the Annexstad Family Foundation Leaders for Tomorrow Scholarship at the University of Redlands.
The paintings celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a Mexican holiday that dates back to the indigenous Aztecs and celebrates those who have passed on. Rodriguez’s art reflects the traditional values and rich culture of his Mexican heritage.
“I have always had this vision to create stories, express my message, and communicate my story through art,” says Rodriguez. “Day of the Dead emphasizes the human emotion connected with what it’s like to lose a loved one, and that is something all of us can relate to and understand.”
Rodriguez’s family moved to the United States from Mexico when his brother developed a brain tumor and needed immediate medical attention. The family sought care at Loma Linda University Medical Center, which is 10 minutes away from the University of Redlands’ main campus.
After seeing the effects of the disease on his brother, who now needs care to perform daily tasks, Rodriguez decided to pursue a degree in biochemistry from U of R, with the ultimate goal of conducting research at the same hospital that helped his brother through his cancer treatment. While pursuing his degree in science, Rodriguez has used his talent in art to portray his perceptions of the mind, body, and spirit.
“There are so many great programs that U of R offers,” Rodriguez says. “The university is small and has great professors. This helps empower students and helps them to grow more into who they are meant to become. You don’t typically see students majoring in the science field with artwork in a gallery. I’m grateful for the opportunity to express myself and have this creative outlet.”