The father of Selena said Monday he objected to a painting of the
slain Tejano singer by a controversial Houston artist because it was
The painting, by artist Donell Hill, depicts Selena among skulls
and a singing skeleton holding a microphone.
At first titled Selena's
Silent Song, the
painting's name has been changed to The
Silent Song because
of the family's objections, Hill said.
"My intention was not to upset the family," she said.
Hill is to display the painting in a San Antonio gallery exhibit
called The Gift of
Death. The Nov. 2 opening of the exhibit at Recuerdos de mi
Madre gallery coincides with Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead,
a Hispanic tradition that commemorates loved ones who have died, she
"The hand of God holds Selena's face, the skulls and the white
roses," Hill said, explaining her drawing.
"Maybe her family doesn't celebrate Day of the Dead, but there
will be thousands of fans lighting candles in her memory," she said.
Selena's father, Abraham Quintanilla, described the painting as
"trashy kind of art."
"My wife was very disturbed when she saw this skeleton with a
microphone. My wife has gone through enough already," he said of an
exhibit invitation and copy of the painting that Hill sent the
Although threats of a lawsuit were discussed, a compromise was
reached Monday. While the original artwork can be exhibited and sold
at its going price of $8,500, no reproductions of the painting will
Quintanilla said, "She (Hill) can draw this, it's her liberty.
And if she wants to, she can exhibit it. That's her prerogative. But
once she starts selling copies, that infringes on Selena's estate."
He added, "Anything with Selena's name, image or likeness, my
family owns that."
But the artist argues that Selena was a public figure and should
"I will not be censored," she said. "I wish Mr. Quintanilla would
have as much compassion for the fans as the fans have for the
However, Quintanilla retorted, "What fans want to see Selena as a
skeleton? We want to remember Selena as she was, as a beautiful
Hill was involved in another controversy last year. The Catholic
Church requested that her art exhibit titled Spirituality,
Sensuality, Sexuality be
pulled from a gallery sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of the
Incarnate Word and the art gallery director, a nun, resigned.
The art show, which depicted sexual themes as well as the plight
of people with AIDS, was closed three days after its opening and
moved to another San Antonio gallery. Among the Catholics upset by
the painting was Archbishop Patrick Flores, who called the artwork