On Sunday May 17th over 120 people gathered at Dove Springs Recreation Center in District 2 for a family portrait. It wasn't just any family portrait - it was the Morales Family Portrait – a portrait of four generations of people from the Dove Springs neighborhood - people that were born, married, and had their own children in this spot in Austin that others rarely hear about.
As Artists Deborah S. Esquenazi and Carrie Kenny, and their colleague Alberto Martinez set up their ladders, lights, and cameras family members came in and sat on the familiar bleachers alongside the basketball courts. One person wore a Dove Springs t-shirt and even more had Dove Springs tattoos under theirs.
After a number of takes and different arrangements directed by the artists the shoot ended. At this time, Hector, the father/brother/grandfather of everyone there, came up to introduce himself. He smiled when he said, "I'm El Jefe," and talked about his 7 children, over thirty grand children and equal number of great grandchildren - so many of whom were in the gym that day. He spoke about coming to Austin when he was 7 years old from San Antonio and making his way in the world as a truck driver and raising a growing family. There was tremendous pride in his eyes as he looked around at his family and it was infectious.
Thank you Morales Family, it was an honor to be there and part of it all.