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2023 National Poetry Month Ekphrastic Poetry Contest

April is National Poetry Month

The Witte Museum has partnered with local poets and other institutions to draw inspiration from varied artwork.

We are honored to showcase the 2023 Ekphrastic Poetry Contest winners, written in response to Jovita Idar Little Pantry Cabinet, from our collection.

Click on a photo enlarge each poem, or download the PDF version of all three winning poems here.

tall wooden cabinet

Jovita Idar Little Pantry Cabinet, Gift of Jovita Idar Little Pantry & Fridge

Named after the revolutionary Mexican American Civil Rights leader who defied the Texas Rangers’ order to leave her father’s newspaper so they could destroy the printing press, the Jovita Idar Little Pantry and Fridge was started by Rhys Sustaita and Ollie Tiara in August of 2020. Their vision and mission grew out of earlier activism with Food Not Bombs, San Antonio. A major factor in the creation of the pantry remains to assist those throughout San Antonio who struggle with both food insecurity and the houseless. Sustaita and Tiara began advertising the idea of pantries to assist communities that needed help with food insecurity on Instagram and Facebook. The program began when a community member in the South Side neighborhood of Villa Coronado contacted the two activists. It remains important that the community requests the pantries and take ownership of their success. The Jovita Idar Little Pantry and Fridge represents the citizens of San Antonio assisting their neighbors in times of need. Learn more about the project and its founders through the Filled with Hope | The Little Free Pantry Movement on YouTube.

To see the Jovita Idar Little Pantry Cabinet, purchase Museum Admission and then ask a Witte team member at the Walker Admissions Desk to escort you to the B. Naylor Morton Research and Collections Center.

primera mañana by Natalia Treviño

Additionally, a community poet has been selected to represent the Witte Museum in the creation of a unique ekphrastic poem based on a piece that is currently on view. The poem below was written by Natalia Treviño and is inspired by the White Shaman Mural.

Click on each photo of the three-page poem to enlarge, or download the PDF version here.

White Shaman Mural
Mural at the White Shaman Preserve. Witte Museum Collection.

About the White Shaman Mural

The White Shaman mural is considered one of the most cosmologically complex narratives in the world. The mural, painted thousands of years ago, illustrates the lifeway and belief systems of the now-gone hunter-gatherer society.

Discover the White Shaman Mural through the interactive display in the Kittie West Nelson Ferguson People of the Pecos Gallery at the Witte Museum.

To visit the White Shaman Mural, located in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands, reserve a tour of the Witte Museum’s White Shaman Preserve online.

What is an Ekphrastic Poem?

A poem written in response to an artwork. These poems take an existing piece of visual art, and use written words to describe and expand on the theme of that work of art. The poem should not simply describe the artwork; it should express how the art enlightens, puzzles, moves, inspires you, etc. Many of these poems explore hidden meanings or an underlying story.

You can find additional artworks and poems at partner museums: