TAMU-CC students gather to paint their spirit animal


Photos by Jonathan Garcia/Island Waves- Freshman Kayla Vasquez (left) and Freshman Sebastian Szpack paint their own alebrijes while Junior Karla Vasquez is fascinated by the color choices.

Students showed off their artistic side by painting their own spirit animal in the University Center to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

The Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Islander Cultural Alliance hosted the “Alebrije con ICA” event on Tuesday, Oct. 2 in the University Center Rotunda, where students got to paint their own “alebrije,” or otherwise known as a spirit animal.

Over a dozen students gathered to choose to paint an owl, dragon, dog, turtle and even a shark using any colors of their choice. Graduate Assistant for Inclusion Education Isabella Ruggiero explained the significance of the alebrije.

Freshman Ricardo Lizardi Prieto paints his alebrije, which is an owl, in his color of choice at the Alebrije con ICA event in the University Center.

“Alebrijes are traditionally Mexican spirit animals according to traditional Mexican folklore,” said Ruggiero, “What an alebrije does is each person has their own spirit animal, they represent their personality but they’re also their guardian angel so they watch over the person all their life.”

In explaining what an alebrije is, Ruggerio used the dog named Dante from Disney and Pixar’s “Coco” as an example as he turns into one in the film in which they are often seen as a traditional alebrije.

ICA aimed to make sure that students get their knowledge about Hispanic Heritage Month but also to make it fun for everyone in attendance by painting their own ceramic animals, balancing celebration and education creating something more than just learning.

Many students gather around the table choosing their own alebrije to paint, and pick out their own colors to create their masterpieces.

“We also want people to remember what they learned here on the island,” said Ruggerio, “By making an alebrije you can walk away and put something on your shelf that you will actually see and remind you of what you learned.”

Junior Jayne-Marie Linguist painted a shark as her alebrije at the event in her bright and colorful way. Although she leans more towards dolphins, Linguist managed to discover something about the idea of a shark being her alebrije.

“I feel like they’re independent, and I try to be as independent as possible,” stated Linguist, “They’re also pretty firm, and I try to be firm in what I believe in and what I do, and I don’t back down from things.”

Linguist expressed interest in attending again if the ICA puts on the event for next year as she would love to have a chance to paint a dolphin alebrije. Of the many students in attendance and the many people pouring their creativity out is what makes Ruggerio more than pleased by the result of the event.

“My favorite part about alebrije is seeing what animal people choose, and how they decorate it because I think it really represents their personality,” said Ruggerio. Ruggerio also added that they hope to have more of a variety of alebrijes next year with either a lion or a frog.