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Alquilar graduated from Hunter College in New York City with a Bachaler of Arts degree in the Humanities. This did not open any avenues for earning a living in Sacramento, California where she lived with her new husband. After being employed as a seamstress, she was hired by the County Welfare Department. Adding education courses to her degree gave her an entrance into the teaching profession. After earning a lifetime teaching credential, she left the profession to open a gallery in Sacramento.Critics have referred to Alquilar’s work as Outsider Art. She chose a New York City offbeat High School and a college where there are no fun and games. The Village was her haunt. Her art began later in her life and reflects a deep spirituality. The novel to which she most relates is Ellison’s, The Invisible Man.
Her resume is extensive and can be viewed on her website maria-alquilar.com. She is in many collections in the United States, Mexico and Italy. Her work in Public Art is well known. In 1990, she was awarded the General Administrations Honor Award for Bien Venida Y Vaya Con Dios,
(Welcome And Go With God), a tribute to the indomitable spirit of the Mexican people. It is located at the border in San Luis, AZ. Other collections include the Smithsonian, National Museum of American Art, The Rockefeller Collection, John Michael Kohler, Dante Museum, and Ravenna, Italy. Etc.
Alquilar has used many of the rituals or combined rituals or invented rituals of the Indigenous people of Mexico, Africa, Southwest United States,Haiti and Asia to illustrate most people’s basic need for Heroes, Saints, and other Divinities to absorb and share their suffering. Catholicism, Judaism, Voodoo, Hindu and Buddhism have provided her with proof of how all humans share the same collective unconsciousness. Alquilar enhances the myths of the major religions of the world including the pre Catholic Mexican and Southwest indigenous people’s spiritual rituals and legends
To quote an unknown author, “I perceive the diverse religious groups as symbols by which we express our perception of the eternal mysteries that may lead us to salvation and enlightenment. The rituals help us to heal and to adjust our psyches to the burden of life.”