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Best Local Solo Show 

Hector Casanova

Illustrator and painter Hector Casanova creates a variety of evocative images every week. Some are printed alongside stories in the Kansas City Star or other publications. But Casanova plays an interesting game with his assignments: He gives them dual meanings. His images clearly illustrate their accompanying stories, but they also mean something personal. One such illustration depicts a young woman rising out of a pool of water. She smiles up at a star-filled sky, but a reflection in the water shows a contorted face looking down at tiny shimmering eyes. The illustration accompanied a Star story about treating schizophrenia. But in the Green Door show, Casanova had titled the piece El Bautismo de la Llorona. It's based on a Mexican folktale about a woman who marries a white suitor who eventually tires of Mexico and leaves, taking her children with him; one night, chasing after them in a river, she drowns. According to legend, the sound of the wind on the water at night is the sound of Llorona crying out for her children. Casanova had long wanted to illustrate this moving piece of his Mexican heritage. At the Green Door, visitors got to watch such images take on new life. Murmured admiration hummed throughout the gallery on opening night, and not just because the cheese and crackers were delicious. Each viewer was busy telling himself or herself a story about the characters so compellingly splayed on the walls.

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