The Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara invites community members to hear Mayela Rodriguez discuss how explorations of her family history led her to create an exhibition of photography, video, text, and installation art called Veins: Mining Family History Through Copper.

The event is at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11 outdoors at the Architectural Foundation Gallery, 229 E. Victoria Street, Santa Barbara. Reservations are required; call 805-965-6307 or email Santa Barbara County Covid guidelines will be followed.

Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Rodriguez grew up hearing mysterious stories about a distant uncle, Aurelio Rodriguez, who lived in Cananea, Mexico, and loved to pitch rocks into the Buenvavista del Cobre mine nearby. Later in life, he became a professional baseball player for the Detroit Tigers.

Mayela Rodriguez’s curiosity about her uncle set her on a path to explore her own evolving identity through the lens of copper — “mining” her questions, thoughts and insecurities about being a Mexican American.

Rodriguez is an artist and educator who positions art as a collective, inclusive and healing process. By facilitating the production of community-made collections, she seeks to remind participants and students of the inherent power of their creative voices in making change.

Rodriguez has worked on collaborative projects with Latinx communities in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and in New Cuyama and Santa Barbara. She received her BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and her MFA from the University of Michigan.

Veins: Mining Family History Through Copper expands on recent work by contemporary artists who use globally traded commodities as visual metaphors for ways that personal identity inhabits and is shaped by sociopolitical contexts:

Minerva Cuevas’ use of chocolate in her exhibition, Feast and Famine (Mexico City, 2015); Kara Walker’s monumental sculpture, A Subtlety, made entirely of sugar (Domino Sugar Factory, Brooklyn, NY, 2014); and Minga Opazo’s exhibition, Siempre Más/Always More at the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara (2020), which featured weavings and textiles made of found and recycled clothing.

For more about Rodriguez visit