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 George O Jackson, Jr.  (1941 - )

About: George O Jackson, Jr.


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Lived/Active: Texas / Mexico      Known for: Genre, Figural, Abstract, Mexican Festivals, Calaveras

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BIOGRAPHY for George Jackson, Jr.
1941 (Houston, Texas)
Texas / Mexico

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Often Known For
Genre, Figural, Abstract, Mexican Festivals, Calaveras

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Biography from Fred R. Kline Gallery, Inc.:
George O. Jackson, Jr. born 2 October 1941 in Houston, Texas, photographer.  Jackson has a heritage rich in Mexican culture.  He is a descendant of Manuel Maria de Llano, who was Mayor of Monterrey and twice Governor of the state of Nuevo Leon.  His great uncle, Rodrigo de Llano, was the publisher of Excelsior, a major newspaper of Mexico City.  At the onset of the Mexican Revolution his great grandfather, Ruben Villarreal, a silver miner in northern Mexico, relocated his family to Laredo, Texas, where Jackson spent his youth.  Jackson recalls that his fascination with the cultural activity of Mexico was sparked during these early years.

As a young adult, Jackson was a successful restaurant owner, entrepreneur and student at the University of Texas at Austin (1961).  In 1970, Jackson became the associate director of a Houston art gallery that featured prominent American artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.

In 1977 Jackson made the decision to begin documenting his personal life through photographs.  He accompanied friends, botanists, and researchers to the jungles of southern Mexico, making photographic records of the trips.  At the same time, Jackson continued to photograph throughout Mexico.  In 1984, he became a full-time photographer and created the Parklane Collection of photography made of the Houston skyline from his aerie on the 28th floor of the Parklane condominiums.  He became increasingly fascinated by Mexican indigenous folk culture, and in particular, their festival celebrations.  Recognizing the importance of documenting vestiges of ancient traditions and beautiful rituals integral to these celebrations, he was inspired to create a unique historical collection of photography as it related to the time, the final decade of the millennium.

In 1990, The Essence of Mexico Project was born.  For the next eleven years, 1990-2001, Jackson photographed the dance, costume, music, ceremony, folk art, ephemera, architecture, and people that make-up these diverse celebrations.  This collection of photographs is a visual legacy to the cultural life of more than sixty indigenous cultural groups of Mexico at the turn of the 21st century.

George O. Jackson is widely known for his work on Mexican festivals, earning him major one-man exhibitions at three of of the most renowned museums in the hemisphere: Chicago's Field Museum, Washington's Smithsonian, and Mexico's Museo Nacional de Antropologia (currently at the Museo de Memoria y Tolerancia).

Beginning in 2004-05, Jackson began concentrating on photographing color and light, at first translated by a Swarovski chandelier and later a glass skull.  The glass skull (or "calaveras") has been the focus of a continuing photographic series since 2006-07.  

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