At first glance, you may think these are traditional ex-votos, but they really aren’t! These pieces are whimsical paintings on sheet metal or “lamina” done in the style of traditional Mexican ex-votos. Traditional ex-votos are placed in churches as thanks for an intervention by the Virgin of Guadalupe or a saint or Jesus to rescue a person from peril, illness, etc. They usually include a pictorial image of the incident, a story about the incident across the bottom of the painting including thanks for the miracle, and an image of the Saint or Jesus in the top right or left corner. Rafael Rodriguez has taken the general style of the ex-voto, but used it to tell an absurd story about an encounter of a person with a fictitious being.
Rafael Rodriguez was born in Mexico City and has spent his life growing up close to and now selling his paintings in a large market in the center of the city. His folk art has been exhibited in several galleries, and recently in Redbud Gallery in Houston, Texas.