A rust-red tree sculpture filled with decorative ornaments on dusty ground under blue sky
Photo by Tom McCarthy Jr.

Árbol de la Vida: Memorias y Voces de la Tierra (Tree of Life: Memories and Voices of the Land) looms over the San Antonio River Walk near Mission San Francisco de la Espada. Created by San Antonio artist Margarita Cabrera, the 40-foot-tall arboreal sculpture is adorned with 700 clay-fired ornaments that locals crafted in celebration of their South Texas heritage. Photographer Tom McCarthy Jr. sought to portray the sculpture’s grand size by including people for scale, but triple-digit July temperatures were not in his favor. “Luckily, some bikers passed right under the sculpture on their way down to the River Walk,” McCarthy said. “What you can’t see from this angle is the additional stenciled details on the trunk of the sculpture or the intricacy of some of the clay sculptures hanging from its branches. One could easily spend an hour or more exploring this piece of art.” Learn more about Árbol de la Vida among other artwork in “Canvasing the State.”

From the September 2022 issue

Get the Magazine

Save up to 62% off the cover price


Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Sign up for magazine extras, upcoming events, Mercantile specials, subscription offers, and more.